gay actors

All posts tagged gay actors

In Remembrance: Christopher Bernau

Published October 30, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Christopher Bernau made me gay.

Well, he actually didn’t strap me down on some slick gurney and take me into some underground laboratory with lightening crackling overhead and test tubes exploding all around us… But I did come home one day from school — and there he was on Guiding Light, all shirtless and delivering his lines with a sadistic sneer as he ordered the distinctive and talented Sofia Landon Geier, the actress playing his employee-lover, around and…. Well – I got that special little tingle.

Years later, I discovered that some other handsome performer actually probably gave Bernau that exact same sensation when he was growing up. Living his life as openly gay as was possible in an era when that was frowned upon, he seemed like a hero to me. This isn’t surprising, though. He was definitely someone who made an impression on many folks – first as Phillip Todd on the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows and then, most famously, as the manipulative and occasionally cruel Alan Spaulding on the afore mentioned Guiding Light. There, the story of his illicit lover affair with the sweet Hope Bauer (the always honey-lit and eternally warm Elvera Roussel) raised many of the temperatures of the local ladies in my tiny neighborhood like few others did, before and after.

Nicely, in addition to his Dark Shadows experience, he also played a wildly seductive Count in the 1977 Off-Broadway production of The Passion of Dracula.

Unfortunately, Bernau, as with many of that era’s extraordinarily special creative types, was also stricken with AIDS. He ultimately died of the disease at the age of 49 on June 14th, 1989, leaving behind a legacy of amazing performances…and loads of stardust sprinkled inspiration for many a young small-town homosexual who dreamed of bigger and better (and, unfortunately, occasionally unfair) worlds.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan

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In Remembrance: Joseph Alan Johnson

Published June 25, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Joseph Main

Joseph Alan Johnson is the perfect Pride Month horror film icon. As an actor, he appeared in such ‘80s low budget efforts as the classic The Slumber Party Massacre, Berserker, which recently received a deluxe reissue by Vinegar Syndrome, and Iced, which he wrote and appeared in with his beloved TSPM co-star Debra De Liso, A few years in Europe resulted in credits with some of the masters of the giallo art form, as well.

His greatest work may have been on the stages of professional theaters in Florida, though. Settling in Saint Petersburg to attend to the needs of his ailing parents, Johnson wrote a number of plays that revolved around his experiences as a gay man in the arts and as a proud member of the LGBTQIA community. His works were often comedies, but also truly celebrated the heart and soul and the wonderful fluidity of the queer community.

https://www.tampabay.com/features/performingarts/after-misadventures-in-hollywood-theater-mainstay-joseph-alan-johnson/1215626/

Joseph, Deb, Me

When I met him in 2013, he was attending his first convention as a celebrity guest. We discovered that we had theater friends in common and had several long chats about life and the arts. In one of our first conversations, he mentioned his disappointment in how his career had unfolded, that he thought his mother had expected him to go much further than he had. I assured him that I thought he had done a lot of fascinating work and by the weekend’s end, he seemed to feel the same. It was nice to watch him discover that while celluloid buffs from all walks of life appreciated his work in TSPM, the film that was being honored at the Cinema Wasteland event that we were at, they also knew about and appreciated his other film efforts, as well.

Upon learning of his unexpected death earlier this month, I was glad to know that he left this particular coil with the knowledge that his body of work was not only appreciated by so many, but that it will also live on for ages to come. It also seemed significant to me that Slumber Party, his most recognized work, has such strong ties to feminism and, with its initial script being penned by the legendary lesbian author Rita Mae Brown, to the gay community, as well.

That is a legacy anyone could be proud of. Thus, let us all hope that he travels to future planes with joy and a true sense of accomplishment guiding his way.

Joseph Autograph

Joseph Alan Johnson (6/25/57-6/10/20)

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Va-Va-Villainess: Lilyan Tashman

Published November 22, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Lilyan

Recognized as one of the most stylish women of her era, the truly distinctive Lilyan Tashman provided conflict of the romantic and-or deadly mercurial variety with her often vampish, self centered characters.

In 1932’s Those We Love, one of her more popular efforts, her predatory Valerie Parker lays claim upon Kenneth MacKenna’s Freddie, a happily married author. Naturally, this ultimately causes much heartache for his wife May, who is played with sweet determination by the Oscar winning Mary Astor. Thankfully, Tashman gives Parker a comic edge, providing her potential homewrecker with a truly quirky presence, as well.

Tashman is decidedly deadlier in 1931’s Murder By the Clock (above). Manipulating those around her to commit acts of homicide, her Laura Endicott charms and beguiles with determined finesse. Often regulated to supporting roles, here this one of a kind personality takes her leading lady status and runs with it. It is a mischievous and captivating performance. Lilyan beauty

Rumored to be a prominent member of The Sewing Circle, Hollywood’s lesbian network, Tashman was actually married to actor Edmund Lowe, a known homosexual. Though this was by all accounts a lavender marriage, the two were truly darlings of the worldwide press until her unfortunate death of cancer, at the age of 37, in 1934. One can only imagine what other work this striking, husky voiced goddess would have produced had she not been cut down in her prime.

Even more regrettable, one wonders what levels of security and acceptance she might have established for the queer community if she had been able to use her compelling nature towards causes of activism and visibility in later decades.

Those We Love.jpg

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan

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“RAMON-CE”: In Gay Madrid

Published April 21, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Roman In Gay Madrid.jpg

Ramon Navarro, one of the more charismatic gay performers to charm his way through early Hollywood talkies, earned his stripes as a Horror Hunk due to a latter day appearance on the Boris Karloff hosted anthology series Thriller. Here, we look at some of his most famous roles in other genres.

It’s the golden rule of slashers – do drugs or have sex (and goddess forbid, if you do both) and you pay the price with the knife. But horror films are not the only moralistic form of entertainment….by far.

Let’s examine the case of Ricardo, the careless youth that Ramon Navarro plays in 1930’s In Gay Madrid. Indeed, Ricardo, who tells impulsive tales and flirts with a dancehall queen, must suffer through the punishing effects of a gunshot wound before being allowed to marry the girl of his dreams, the kind and loyal Carmina (Dorothy Jordan).

Surprisingly chaste for being a Pre-Code film, In Gay Madrid was actually developed as an opportunity for Navarro to show off his singing voice. This he does to solid effect in a couple of grand choral numbers.

But what is most noticeable here is the chemistry that he shares with the handsome David Scott. Scott, as Carmina’s innocent brother Ernesto, definitely plays up his devotion to Ricardo and the friction shared between these two is ultimately far greater than any emotion that happens to accidentally arise between Jordan and Navarro. In Gay Madrid, indeed!

In Gay Madrid 2

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Thriller Nights: Ramon Novarro

Published March 10, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

ramon stud shot

Heralded as one of the big screen’s most exotic lovers, Ramon Novarro’s filmic legacy has often been overshadowed by the notorious circumstances of his death. As a gay man, known to hire hustlers in his declining years, this former matinee idol met his end, violently, by a pair of brothers in 1968. His demise has since been highlighted in short stories, books and songs.

ramon mataBut, significantly, Novarro’s early beauty easily matched that of his co-star Greta Garbo, sultry pose for sultry pose, in the fun 1931 spy drama Mata Hari. Later in his performing life, he gave eagle eyed horror buffs a boost with a featured role in the beloved Boris Karloff hosted anthology show Thriller.

In the 1962 second season episode La Strega, Novarro appeared opposite the stunning Ursula Andress as Maestro Giuliano, the mentor to a besotted painter, played by the swarthy Alejandro Rey (Satan’s Triangle, The Swarm, Terror Vision). Working with authority and concern, Novarro supplies the proceedings with a compassionate figure here who believes that Rey’s involvement with Andress could end in tragedy, as her aunt is a powerful witch.Ramon 2

This doesn’t mean Giuliano isn’t up to a little adventure. He accompanies the entwined duo to a black mass which, kudos to the art direction of Howard E. Johnson and the cinematography of Benjamin H. Kline, contains some of the episode’s most fiery and striking visuals. Unfortunately, Guliano finds himself on the receiving end of the sorceress’ revenge here, making Novarro’s appearance an important yet all too brief one. Although, proving the adage that a woman scorned is a dangerous thing, everything does not go well for the characters portrayed by Andress and Rey either.

Ramon 1

Nicely, besides highlighting Novarro’s subtle talents as a performer, this tale is directed with gothic sweep by Ida Lupino. One of the few working female directors in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Lupino is known for guiding taut noir pictures like The Hitch-Hiker and, perhaps less elegantly, for her acting work in such gonzo genre projects as Devil’s Rain and Food of the Gods.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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