According to this article in the NYTimes, Tab Hunter is working on a book in which he emerges from the closet.
This sheds a whole new light on my adolescence; I no longer feel guilty for the things I subjected him to in my dreams.
He was so achingly beautiful in Track of the Cat; he set my standard of all-American male beauty. I feel slightly cheated in that I always thought of him, primarily, as unattainable perfection. NOt that I could ever have obtained him, but if I’d known he was gay I would have thought of him, primarily, as a secret brother; as a fellow traveler.
I hope more celebrities start coming out earlier in their careers: the feeling of isolation that gay kids like I was had to live with is something we struggle lifelong to overcome; just knowing I wasn’t alone in the universe would have been of tremendous benefit while I was growing up gay.
As long as there is the perception that teenage girls will not plunk down money to see a male star unless he is potential boyfriend material, celebrity actors will never come out of the closet.
And to be honest, I can understand.
If your career was made up mostly of devoted female fans who hang posters of you over their bed and dream of becoming your girlfriend, what would you do? “Sorry girls. I’m Gay. Hope you come to my next film, and bring your brother with you.”
Ain’t gonna happen.
And now that Tab hasn’t got a whole lot of girls swooning in his direction, it is pretty easy to throw open that closet door. Now assuming someone like, oh, I donno - say Tom Cruise for example, were to come out of the closet, he could probably get away with it because he already has a pretty strong career not based solely on the whims of teenage girls’ fantasies. But someone like, say, Tom Cruise still wouldn’t do it because - why the fuck should he? What exactly would be the upswing? Other than the fact that he and Rosie O’Donnel could then officially go bar hopping together, he has nothing to gain.
As far as Tab goes…I had my sneaking suspicion when he played Divine’s love interest in that John Waters film - the name escapes me now.
But I don’t see the need to have actors as positive Gay role models. Being a pretty air head is not something Gay boys need to strive for. Lordknows many end up that way with little outside influence.
If you need a Gay role model, there are lots of out authors, artists, musicians, philosophers, designers, architects, teachers…a vast pool of intelligent, witty and good looking, happy people.
And the thought of using Tab Hunter as a positive role model, well…hmm…no. I mean, if you are dead set on looking up to an out thespian, try Rupert Evert, Sir Ian McC., Nathan Lane, Tim Curry, Jeff Stryker…to name a few.
I met him at a television station circa 1975. If you saw in the NY Times article today how handsome Tab Hunter looks at 72, you can imagine how he looked in his 40s. Also friendly and gracious. He’s had to put up with a lot of crap in his career; even Time magazine stooped to gay baiting in their review of his 1962 TV series. His autobiography ought to be interesting.
Funniest thing learned in the NY Times piece was that his father was Jewish. I have at least one Jewish friend who dismissed him as the ultimate blond surfer goy.
Then he must be one hell of an actor…I saw him on several occasions at Gay parties and he seemed to be having a fine time with other guys…and a friend of mine who used to work for the phone company went to his house to hook up his phone - and there was another dude living there with him in a one-bedroom apartment.
But hey…who knows. People on the boards have said that Christopher Lowell is straight. And Frank, on Trading Spaces, is always talking about his wife, so maybe it is just “in” to be a screaming queen on camera and a doting hetero husband at home.
I read some time ago that he was not only straight, but married with a kid. I think I read this in a gay porn industry magazine called Unzipped or something like that. I did a search online and found numerous references to his being straight, but I can’t post any links because they’re all porn sites. But you can just do a Google search for “Jeff Stryker straight”, with his name in parentheses.
I also found an amusing article by a real-life Jeff Stryker that you might want to take a look at.
But to sort of get back to the OP, DMark, do you really think young gay kids should look up to a porn star as a role model?
Dad (Tom Arnold): I remember when I was in high school, and I had the biggest crush on Tab Hunter.
Steven (David Spade): Who’s that?
Dad: Who’s that? Only the most gorgeous hunk of a movie star that ever lit up the silver screen, that’s who! Boy, I was just crazy about him - everything was just “Tab Hunter this” and “Tab Hunter that.” I thought the sun rose and set around Tab Hunter. Anyway… then I met your mother, and, well, you know the rest…
SNL, “Sex and Peer Pressure at Valley High” (only on PBS!)
Anyway, Lissener, surely you musdt have already known about Tab Hunter? He, like Richard Chamberlain, Rock Hudson and Roddy McDowell, was known to be closeted for years (and making Polyester and Lust in the Dust certainly opened the door a couple of inches.). His coming out now is too little too late to improve the general public’s impression of gay men. Any person below 30 these days is likelt to say “Tab who?”
Now if Kevin Spacey or Jodi Foster were to come out. . .
When I was a kid the “unattainable perfection” was Richard Chamberlain and Tony Perkins. It’s possible that I was responding to something in them that I wasn’t ready to respond to in myself. But on another level, I always knew about them, and myself.
And my taste in men certainly hasn’t changed much over the years!
Tim Curry has not to my knowledge ever publicly stated that he is gay. I would be interested in a cite.
As for Tab, I have a book from 1985 that identifies him as openly gay and material was simply not published in 1985 identifying someone not gay as gay because calling a straight person gay was considered defamation. So this ain’t exactly breaking news. That said, I do want to read the book, not for any gay revelations but for what I’m hoping will be some insights into the last days of the Hollywood studio system.
I don’t understand the whole “gay for pay” concept. How can you have sex with men if you are really only into women? I mean, there’s no way I could be straight for pay no matter how much money I was offered–in spite of the cash temptation, I don’t think I could physically go through with it, let alone be convincing on camera.