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.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jacque Mapes and Ross Hunter

Note to readers: This is my 400th post! Unbelievable.

Art director, set designer and film producer Jacque* Mapes (1914-2002) and Ross Hunter (1920-1996) were a power couple during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Mapes is best remembered for creating the sets for Singin’ in the Rain (1952), and Hunter for producing many Rock Hudson and Doris Day films. Among Hunter’s first successes was Magnificent Obsession (1954), and his last major hit was Airport (1970), for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Mapes and Hunter were frequently co-producers on the same film projects, thus sharing professional and private lives. Together they produced Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) with Julie Andrews.

*frequently misspelled “Jacques”

Photo at left: Mapes with Jane Powell (1950s)

Mapes and Hunter met at a private Hollywood party during the 1940s. One of them was then Tyrone Powers' male lover, and the other was Errol Flynn's lover. Hunter later recalled, "I remember I was at the top of the stairs, and there stood Jacque. Our eyes met, and we left the party, dumped our famous boyfriends, and we've been together ever since."

Hunter, who died of cancer in 1996, enjoyed a twenty-year career as a Hollywood producer beginning in the 1950s. Born Martin Fuss, Hunter first aspired to become an actor, but never got beyond bit parts in B-movies. The switch to producer exposed his true talent. Mapes, however, began working as an RKO set decorator with the film The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), starring Charles Laughton. After a stint in the Navy during WWII, he returned to Hollywood, this time taking a job at MGM. Mapes and Hunter later enjoyed successful careers as TV producers and were life partners until their deaths.

Ross Hunter:  
"The way life looks in my pictures is the way I want life to be. I don't want to hold a mirror up to life as it is. I just want to show the part which is attractive."

Photo below: Ross Hunter (right) on the set with Rock Hudson (Magnificent Obsession - 1954)


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  2. Mapes' set design for An Innocent Affair is the other star of that film. It's so over the top you'll relish every frame.

  3. Hunter discovered Sandra Dee when she was a child model on a Manhattan street, and told her he was interested in working with her. She was already pretty worldly-wise and said "yeah, sure". He referred to her as "this glamorous babe." I've always thought of him as producer of those late 50s things with Dee and Lana Turner, 'Imitation of Life', 'Portrait in Black', and had not known he'd produced 'Pillow Talk' too. Saw also that he also did 'Thoroughly Modern Millie', one of the worst films I've ever seen. But it can't always work. I saw all the Dee pictures when I was 8-10, so they meant something to me. My god, I just discover your blog today, and see I've got 400 more posts to look at. It's quite good, and I'm enjoying it.