Gay/Bisexual Actors in Old TV Shows ( Pt 3 )


The Yes (Prime) Minister Files - A tribute to Sir Nigel Hawthorne

Nigel Hawthorne (1929 – 2001)

The most surprising fact about the superbly written (and acted) Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister is that only 38 episodes in total were made, 22 in the first show and just 16 in the second. Hawthorne was quite brilliant as Sir Humphrey Appleby in both, clearly (in my opinion) the star of both series, but Paul Eddington and Derek Fowlds were both wonderful as well. Just prior to the 1995 Academy Awards, in which he was nominated for his performance in The Madness of King George, a magazine ‘outed’ Hawthorne as a homosexual. He and partner, writer Trevor Bentham, were together for decades leading up to Sir Nigel’s death in 2001.

Classic TV Shows - The Tab Hunter Show Tab Hunter: Young Love: The Best of Tab Hunter: Music

Tab Hunter (1931 – )

Tab was one of gay agent Henry Willson’s stable of young actors. Henry had a penchant for thinking up odd names for his young hopefuls, for example: ‘Tab’ Hunter, ‘Rock’ Hudson, ‘Dack’ Rambo, ‘Guy’ Madison, ‘Ty’ Hardin, ‘Rory’ Calhoun, ‘Troy’ Donahue, ‘Chad’ Everett, ‘Junior’ Durkin and, worst of the lot, the pathetic ‘Dare’ Harris, later changed to John Derek. Most of Hollywood assumed, because of Willson’s flaming homosexuality, that all his charges were also gay, but that was not always so. But in Tab’s case it was. This 50s heartthrob with the stupid studio nickname ‘The Sigh Guy’ was exposed as a gay after an all-male pyjama party. He met his partner, Allan Glaser, in 1983. Tab had a huge pop hit in the fifties with Young Love, the title of the album pictured above. The Tab Hunter Show ran for two seasons (1960-61) over 32 episodes.


Bonjour-a-tous: May 2010

Super-Villain to Spock - Carnegie Mellon University | CMU

Zachary Quinto (1977 – )

He was so popular portraying Sylar in the series Heroes (2006-10), that his fans call themselves ‘Sylar’s Army’. In 2013, he became the only person in history to make the cover of Entertainment Weekly two weeks in a row, which is some kind of achievement I suppose. What was significant, however, was the reason behind him ‘coming out’ as gay on his blog in 2011. He had been deeply moved by the suicide of teenaged gay Jamey Rodemeyer. The 14 year-old hanged himself in September 2011 because of constant bullying by homophobes, and Quinto now believes that simply hiding one’s gayness is no longer enough, that only openness about one’s sexuality can eventually (hopefully) lead to acceptance from society.


Pin by Natasha Marie on Super Sleuths | Pinterest

Thanks For All Your Hard Work…Now Get the Hell Outta Here | Forces ...

Tommy Kirk (1941 – )

The 14 year-old Tommy Kirk starred as Joe Hardy (with Tim Considine) in all 19 episodes of the popular Disney series The Hardy Boys in 1956, but Walt dropped him like a hot spud a decade later when he discovered the boy was gay. Between 1957 and 1963 Kirk played little Kevin Corcoran’s brother in five films: Old Yeller (1957), The Shaggy Dog (1959), Swiss Family Robinson (1960), Bon Voyage! (1962) and Savage Sam (1963). By 1965 it was all over. ‘In the 1960s, all my social life was underground gay bars’, he recalled. In 1964, he picked up a teenage boy at a public pool, they had sex, and the boy told his parents. They fronted Walt Disney and Kirk’s contract was torn up. A real pity, because he had talent and was likeable on-screen.


The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Television's New Frontier: The 1960s: August 2014

Sheila James Kuehl (1941 – )

The success of the popular series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959-63) lay in the choice of cast. Dwayne Hickman was terrific as Dobie, Bob Denver was perfect as the hippie Maynard G. Krebs, and Sheila was Zelda Gilroy, perfect as the tomboy chasing after Dobie. An instant hit with the younger crowd, Sheila looked set for her own spin-off series until her lesbianism became known and producers suddenly got very cold feet. With her acting career hit with the ‘kiss of death’, she went back to college, gained a law degree (at Harvard no less) and eventually became the first openly gay member of the California State Assembly (a 6 year tenure), followed by 8 years as a Senator. This diminutive dynamo (she is just 4’10” (1.47m) tall), is still a force to be reckoned with at 74.

TV Themes: Welcome Back, Kotter | Any Major Dude With Half A Heart

John Travolta

John Travolta (1954 – )

as Vinnie Barbarino

For decades there have been rumours about John Travolta having gay relationships, but just recently a pilot formerly in his employ, Douglas Gotterba, was lodging a lawsuit, not to win a lot of money from the outcome he says, but for a judgment that will permit him to disclose details about a 6 year relationship he says took place with the actor back in the 80s. Travolta’s lawyer accuses Gotterba of demanding $10 million from the actor if he will settle out of court. Gotterba claims that is a lie. Well, somebody is telling ‘porky pies’. It is now June 2015. I guess we just wait and see. Personally, I think Travolta is a terrific actor to watch. He was delightful as Vinnie Barbarino in Welcome Back Kotter (1975-79), when he first burst on the scene, and he has (usually) been well worth watching since, especially in Pulp Fiction (1994), Get Shorty (1995) and Primary Colors (1998).

Are You Being Served? (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Inman - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Inman (1935 – 2007)

If ever there was an actor born to play a camp sales assistant in the menswear department of a store it was John Inman. As a small boy his favourite pastime was dressmaking. As a young man he worked in a gentlemen’s outfitters in Blackpool, mainly in window-dressing, the ideal work experience for a part like his Mr Humphries in Are You Being Served? (1972-85). Despite the BBC’s reluctance to include a camp character in the show, Inman became wildly popular throughout Britain (and Australia) in a series that just kept going and going…In 2005, he entered into a civil partnership with his partner of 33 years, Ron Lynch. Inman passed away two years later from Hepatitis A.


Rankopedia: Star Trek: Favorite Relationship Between Two ...

Chekov (left), Sulu (right) in Star Trek

George Takei Beams into Archie's Riverdale | XFINITY TV Blog by ...

George Takei (1937 – ) today

Star Trek fans (of the first series, the real one – 1966-69) would, of course, know that George Takei played Sulu. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, George and his family were ‘re-located’ from Los Angeles to an internment camp, first in Arkansas, then in Norther California, for the duration of the Second World War. His autobiography highlights the terrible injustices perpetrated on Japanese-Americans at that time. In September 2008, he and his partner of 21 years, actor Brad Altman, were married. George’s best man was Walter Koenig (pictured at top), who played Chekov in the original series.


Dorothy Morris and Frances Rafferty, MGM`s THE WAR AGAINST MRS ...

Spring Byington on Pinterest | Ginger Rogers, Actresses and Spring      Marjorie Main 8x10 Picture MA Kettle Actress Photo | eBay

Spring Byington (1886 – 1971)                   Marjorie Main

Spring possessed the features and the soft, sincere voice that made her the perfect choice to play Mother March in the 1933 version of Little Women. This pretty much typecast her for motherly roles, culminating in her most popular stint as Lily Ruskin in TV’s December Bride, a series that ran for five years in the fifties and featured the wonderfully droll humour of Harry Morgan. Fans would have been astonished to learn that Spring had been in a lesbian relationship with actress Maude Adams for a while, and an even longer union with Marjorie Main, the lady who made Ma Kettle a household name in the forties and fifties. Spring and Marjorie lived together as a couple, quite openly I might add, for years.


  1. Shelby Everett died in 2011. Chad Everett died in 2012. I find it hard to believe that they and their doctors would be unaware that they had died of AIDS if this was actually true. I find no evidence or hearsay for that matter, that they indeed died of AIDS. Is there anyway they could possibly keep this secret hidden from the public?

    • I don’t believe I have ever written or said that they died from AIDS, Cathy. Chad was one of Henry Willson’s stable of actors but he was one of the heterosexual ones, as I stated in my article.

      • Thank you for that clarification. I sent my previous comment in response to Ms. Scotti’s comment and your reply. She claimed that she “found out” that both Chad and Shelby may have had AIDS. I guess it was unclear to me how you knew for sure that Chad was not gay and so I made reference to Ms. Scotti’s comment.

        Any further clarification you might add?

        • It is often a misconception that all Henry Willson’s stable of actors were gay, Cathy, especially after one of them, Rock Hudson, was diagnosed HIV positive. Henry recruited from Muscle Beach and a number of bars where gays often congregated and was himself gay, but he was on the lookout for potential movie ‘beefcake’ types, not all of whom were homosexual or bisexual either. If I remember correctly, Chad Everett, Clint Walker (Cheyenne), John Derek, Ty Hardin were all contracted to Willson and none of them were gay.

  2. You wrote, “The series McMillan & Wife (1971-77), was shot at a time when the AIDS scare was at its highest” — but AIDS didn’t appear on the map until 1981. You might want to change that.

  3. I found out that Chad
    Everett and Shelby everett are bi sexual and may even have belonged to swing clubs,,,and that Chad was Henry Willson’s lover so that he could get work as an actor…..all secrets also may have been hidden that both Chad and Shelby had Aids and were both cremated to hide that truth. Can u verify why they were so successful in hiding these possible facts?

    • Well, Sheila, pretty much EVERY gay or bisexual person in Hollywood (and there were heaps of them) worked very hard to keep their secret – and for two very strong reasons. One, exposure would almost certainly wreck their careers, and two, since homosexual activity was against the law any exposure could lead to a prison term. Fortunately, they were protected by the studios because they made money for them. AIDS was not identified until relatively recently, so I am not sure if the Everetts even knew what was wrong with their health. I imagine a lot of people died from AIDS completely unaware that that was the cause of death.

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