Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Yves Montand

When openly gay actor Jean-Claude Brialy, a cinema star of the 1950s and ‘60s, revealed that Yves Montand (1921-1991) had a gay affair with a noted star of French chanson, it sent shock waves throughout France. The singer was Reda Caire (born Youssef Gandhour; "Caire" means "Cairo" in French), the son of a high official in the Egyptian government and of a woman of the Belgian nobility. Reda, who had the right to the title of Count through his mother, although he never used it, became a major singing sensation in the 1920s and was a well-established star by the 1930s, appearing in half a dozen films. Though flamboyant, Caire was extremely popular in the macho city of Marseille, where he met the young Montand, who was the handsome young son of an immigrant Italian dockworker. Montand became one of the most celebrated French actors and singers. In 1944, he was discovered by Édith Piaf in Paris, and she made him part of her act. Eventually Montand became a huge star with an international fan base.

Montand became Reda Caire's private secretary and was his lover for nine months. Caire taught the uncultivated Montand a great deal about singing, stage presence, wardrobe, and the like. Helene Hazara, a cultural critic, radio hostess and expert on French chanson, reported that in Montand’s memoir, he wrote that Reda Claire had made advances to him, which he refused, but became his secretary. It was a cover-up attempt, and Brialy's recent outing of Montand's gay affair was no surprise to Parisians in the know. “In fact," Helene wrote, "everyone in show business knew that Montand had been Claire's lover. In the '50s, Montand used to make homophobic jokes about Reda, who called him up one day and said, 'If you say nasty things about me, I can also tell stories about you!' "

Helene, who as a journalist has written about Reda Caire, reports that "Once when I was in Marseille, an old queen told me that Reda, who could be quite bitchy, had said of Montand, 'C'est étrange qu'un garçon doté d'un si joli membre puisse sentir si mauvais des pieds' " (It is odd that a boy with such a beautiful membrum should have such smelly feet.) Montand, of course, was well-known for the size of his membrum; his wife, Simone Signoret, used to call Montand "mon etalon" (my stallion).

In an interview with the now-defunct French weekly Gai Pied in the 1980s, Montand admitted as a youth having had sex with boys "like all the boys from the Meditérannée".

Well, there you have it. Fancy a vacation in the south of France?


  1. Tout cela est LAMENTABLE! Peut-être vrai , et alors ? Quand on est très jeune, beau,seul, timide et sous l'emprise de quelqu'un, cela peut arriver, surtout dans ce milieu!Montand c'était un vrai mec et des comme lui, on peut chercher à la loupe... Résultat : il a déclenché tant de jalousies...dans plusieurs domaines; Pas prétentieux, perfectionniste, timide, ce fut un des plus grands artistes de notre temps; Et ce qui s'est passé après sa mort est ignoble, de même que les livres des deux "punaises Allégret", alors qu'il a élevé Castaldi comme son propre fils! Pourquoi cette volonté de salir à tout prix cet immense artiste ? arrivé par la volonté et le travail en plus du talent; des comme lui, il n'y en a plus!! la jalousie je vous dis, cest tout!

  2. From your blogger:
    It is insulting to all gay and bisexual men to have an "anonymous" comment stating that Montand was "a real man" (un vrai mec)and therefore should be impervious to having "dirt" dug up after his death. My blog celebrates gay and bisexual men who have had successful careers in spite of their sexual orientations -- as an inspiration to others who might be in the same predicament regarding their sexuality. And bisexual men are indeed "real" men. While he was very much alive Montand confessed to having homosexual relationships in his youth, and Caire had a positive influence on Montand's professional ability. In no way did this blog post denigrate the great singer Yves Montand. Because English is not your native tongue, you might be reading something into my text that is simply not there.

  3. As a french bisexual man, I agree with you Terry. I understand how it is difficult for french society to accept Montand's bisexuality, seen as a macho and women's lover. Homophoby in France is the one of a latin country, denying the facts on public visibility, and knowing that intimacy must not be said anywhere... Hypocrisy !

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  5. Yet I had some of the best sex and most beautiful boys of my life the year I lived in Paris when I was 20. Always loved Montand, find his marriage to Signoret delicious, especially since she knew of his affair with Marilyn Monroe in that terrible film 'Let's Make Love'. He's so sexy he's positively irresistible. I sure wish I had had some time with him--and I didn't know about his homosexuality till this post.