Years later, in 1938, gay director George CUKOR—a close friend of Haines’—was working with Gable on Gone with the Wind. Another friend, Andy Lawler, was overheard at a party to exclaim, “Oh, George is directing one of Billy’s old tricks.” When word of the remark reached Gable, he stormed off the set and refused to return until Cukor was replaced. In Gable’s words, “I won’t be directed by a fairy! I have to work with a real man!” Victor Fleming was brought in to finish directing the Civil War epic.
Gable may have been particularly sensitive about his sexuality because his birth certificate mistakenly recorded him as a female. While he was growing up, his father often berated him and called him a sissy. When he was twenty-three Gable married forty-year-old acting coach Josephine Dillon, who told him, “I’ll at least make an actor of you, for you’ll never be a man.” Gable later claimed their marriage was never consummated. His third wife and the love of his life Carole Lombard once said disparagingly of his manhood: “If he was one inch shorter we’d be talking about the Queen of Hollywood.” (Picture: William Haines)
Stern, Keith (2009-09-01). Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals (Kindle Locations 5167-5178). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.
George Cukor: A Double Life by Patrick McGilligan
Paperback: 404 pages
Publisher: Perennial (December 1992)
Amazon: George Cukor: A Double Life
Through 50 years and 50 films--from "Holiday" and "The Philadelphia Story" to "Camille" and "My Fair Lady"--George Cukor created some of Hollywood's greatest motion pictures. The first book to discuss Cukor's homosexuality openly, "George Cukor: A Double Life" is a sympathetic portrait of a man "whose long career is all the more impressive given the double life he was forced to lead"--"Los Angeles Book Review".
Clark Gable: A Biography by Warren G. Harris
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Three Rivers Press (October 25, 2005)
Amazon: Clark Gable: A Biography
Clark Gable arrived in Hollywood after a rough-and-tumble youth, and his breezy, big-boned, everyman persona quickly made him the town’s king. He was a gambler among gamblers, a heavy drinker in the days when everyone drank seemingly all the time, and a lover to legions of the most attractive women in the most glamorous business in the world, including the great love of his life, Carole Lombard.
In this well-researched and revealing biography, Warren G. Harris gives an exceptionally acute portrait of one of the most memorable actors in the history of motion pictures—whose intimates included such legends as Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, Loretta Young, David O. Selznick, Jean Harlow, Judy Garland, Lana Turner, Spencer Tracy, and Grace Kelly—as well as a vivid sense of the glamour and excess of mid-century Hollywood.
Clark Gable: Tormented Star by David Bret
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: JR Books (March 23, 2010)
Amazon: Clark Gable: Tormented Star
Gable was perceived as the archetypal Hollywood superman, the kind of man that women lusted after and their husbands envied. However, as this powerful biography reveals, in the early days of his career, with his fondness for men as well as woman, he was anything but the straight-arrow figure he appeared. Gable was adopted by the "Sewing Circle"—the group that included Jean Harlow and, ironically, Carole Lombard, the great love of his life. Bret also reveals how Gable's wartime "heroics," which saw him promoted through the ranks from Private to Major in less than a year, were no more than an elaborate publicity stunt. Like an earlier paternity suit, it was an exercise dreamed up by studio chief, Louis B. Mayer to promote and protect Gable's image. After ending an affair with Ben Maddox in 1942, Gable seems to have "gone straight," from which point Bret moves into more familiar territory, focusing on Gable's great movies including Gone With the Wind and on his affairs with Joan Crawford, Ava Gardner, and other famous stars.
Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star by William J. Mann
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books (February 1, 1999)
Amazon: Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star
In 1930 William Haines was Hollywood's number-one box-office draw--a talented, handsome, romantic lead. Offscreen, he was openly gay. This bestselling biography captures the rich gay subculture of Hollywood before the Production Code--before studio intimidation led to the establishment of the Hollywood closet. Alone among his contemporaries, Billy Haines refused to compromise and was ultimately booted out by Louis B. Mayer. Forced to give up acting, Haines went on to become a top interior designer to the stars and to clients such as Nancy Reagan. By his side through it all was his lover, Jimmie Shields; their fifty-year relationship led their best friend, Joan Crawford, to call them the "happiest married couple in Hollywood." Wisecracker is an astounding piece of newly discovered gay history, a chronicle of high Hollywood, and--at its heart--a great and enduring love story.
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