Personalities Feed

Saluting The Kennedy Center Honors' Roster of Gay Inductees

Kennedy center honorsLike the Academy Awards and Tony Awards, a considerable number of gay men have an affinity for the Kennedy Center Honors because of its celebration of personalities in the performing arts.  Since the first awards were handed out in 1978 a steady stream of accomplished gay men have been chosen as honorees.  However, not until 2015 year was a self-proclaimed lesbian awarded the honor - Lily Tomlin.  (But rumored lesbians such as Mary Martin, Claudette Colbert, Katharine Hepburn and Dolly Parton have been honored).  The ceremony takes place in early December, with the President and First Lady in attendance (the exception has been Trump and Melania); the telecast of the event usually airs a few days after Christmas on CBS.  Interestingly, the colors of the award's sash are those of the rainbow flag.  In 2002 DC's Gay Men's Chorus performed as part of the tribute to Elizabeth Taylor.


2014 honoree, Lily Tomlin


23 of the 213 recipients (through 2019) have been gay.  In four of the years there were two gay inductees: 1979, 1986, 1993 and 2010.  (In 1989 Claudette Colbert and Mary Martin were honorees).  The longest stretch in which no gay honorees were named was the five years between 2005-2009 (this drought might be matched next year depending on 2019's announcement).  Conversely, between 1979 and 1988 every year but one (1989) had a gay recipient.   



To be considered, a candidate must be living at the time of their induction.  Of the 23 gay honorees (listed below), eight are still alive.  The first gay honorees were Aaron Copland and Tennessee Williams in 1979.  One glaring oversight was playwright and director Arthur Laurents (who died in 2011 at the age of 93).  Perhaps it was because of his prickly personality?


Bill T. Jones


Aaron Copland (1979) - composer (died in 1990, age 90)

Tennessee Williams (1979) - novelist (died in 1983, age 73)

Leonard Bernstein (1980) - composer/conductor (died in 1990, age 72)

Jerome Robbins (1981) - choreographer (died in 1998, age 79)

Virgil Thomson (1982) - composer (died in 1989, age 92)

Gian Carlo Menotti (1984) - conductor/composer (died in 2007, age 95)

Frederick Loewe (1985) – lyricist (died in 1988, age 86)

Merce Cunningham (1986) - dancer/choreographer (died in 2009, age 90)

Antony Tudor (1986) - ballet choreographer (died in 1987, age 79)

Alwin Nikolais (1987) - dancer/choreographer (died in 1993, age 82)

Alvin Ailey (1988) - dancer/choreographer (died in 1989, age 58)

Stephen Sondheim (1993) - composer/lyricist (born in 1930)

Arthur Mitchell (1993) - dancer/choreographer (died in 2018, age 84)

Edward Albee (1996) - playwright (died in 2016, age 88)

Fred Ebb & John Kander (1998) - lyricists (Ebb died in 2004, age 76; Kander is still alive, born in 1927)

Van Cliburn (2001) - pianist (died in 2013, age 78)

James Levine (2002) - conductor (born in 1943)

Elton John (2004) - singer/composer/pianist (born in 1947)

Bill T Jones (2010) - dancer/choreographer (born in 1952)

Jerry Herman (2010) - lyricist and composer (died in 2019, age 88)

Lily Tomlin (2014) - actress/comedian (born in 1939)

Michael Tilson Thomas (2019) - conductor, pianist and composer (born in 1944)


Michael tilson thomas


Other lesbians worthy of consideration for future induction may include Jodie Foster, Cherry Jones, Melissa Etheridge and Cynthia Nixon. And Johnny Mathis, Terrence McNally, Tommy Tune and Richard Chamberlain are worthy candidates on the gay male side.  



Although not gay themselves, sixteen recipients, all women, have the distinction of being gay icons.  The most recent was Cher, in 2018.  Another icon, Maria Callas, likely would have been honored but she died the year before the first Kennedy Center Honors (at the very young age of 53).



Ella Fitzgerald (1979)

Martha Graham (1979)

Leontyne Price (1980)

Lucille Ball (1986)

Bette Davis (1987)

Katharine Hepburn (1990)

Aretha Franklin (1994)

Judith Jamison (1999)

Angela Lansbury (2000)

Chita Rivera (2002)

Elizabeth Taylor (2002)

Dolly Parton (2006)

Diana Ross (2007)

Barbra Streisand (2008)

Barbara Cook (2011)

Cher (2018)



Remembering Our Gay Ancestors

Barbara.jordan2Truman.capoteFour years ago I wrote a post about popular LGBT personalities, and another about gay icons over the age of 75.  This latest post provides an overview of accomplished gay men and lesbians who are no longer with us.  I've drawn up a list of just over 250 individuals who've made their mark in their respective professions.  Of them, about two-thirds were open about their sexual orientation. (Please note that this post was published in 2014.)


The median age of these gay pioneers at the time of their death was 63.  Taking out the 20% who died of AIDS (at a median age of 45), the median age of those who died from other other causes rises to a still relatively young 68.  The oldest, architect Philip Johnson (in photo below) was 98 when he died in 2005.  Del Martin and Mabel Hampton were the oldest lesbians, both 87 at the time of their deaths in 2008 and 1989, respectively.  The youngest person on the list is Pedro Zamora, a cast member of MTV's The Real World, who died from AIDS at the age of 22.  He's followed by actor James Dean who was 24 when he was killed in a car accident.  The woman who was youngest at the time of her death was Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote Raisin in the Sun.  She was 34.




Philip Johnson Architect 98
John Gielgud Actor 96
Gian Carlo Menotti Composer/Conductor 95
Paul Cadmus Artist 95
Arthur Laurents Playwright 93
Bunny Breckinridge Actor & Drag Queen 93
Horst P. Horst Fashion Photographer 93
Michael Tippett Composer 93
Van Johnson Actor 92
Virgil Thomson Composer 92
EM Forster Author 91
M. Somerset Maugham Playwright/Novelist 91
Aaron Copland Composer 90
Harry Hay Gay Rights Activist 90
Merce Cunningham Dancer/Choreographer 90
Quentin Crisp Writer/Raconteur 90
Jermaine Stewart Singer 39
Willi Smith Fashion Designer 39
Federico Garcia Lorca Poet/Dramatist 38
Larry Levan DJ 38
Michael Callen Songwriter/AIDS Activist 38
Arthur Rimbaud Poet 37
Marlon Riggs Filmmaker 37
Rainer Werner Fassbinder Director/Screenwriter 37
Cyrano de Bergerac French Dramatist 36
Sal Mineo Actor 36
Joe Orton Playwright 34
Lorraine Hansbury Playwright  34
Casey Donovan Porn Star 33
Brian Epstein Manager of Beatles 32
David Cole Record Producer 32
Hart Crane Poet, Life Savers heir 32
Patrick Cowley Disco Producer 32
Franz Schubert Composer 31
Keith Haring Urban Artist/Activist 31
Rudolph Valentino Actor 31
James Dean Actor 24
Pedro Zamora Reality Star 22


Sixty-one persons (about 25% of the total) were born before the 20th century.  The furthest back in time was the Roman emperor Hadrian, followed by Richard the Lionhearted and Henry II.


Roman Emperor Hadrian


Hadrain Roman Emperor 76-138
Richard the Lionhearted English King 1157-1199
Edward II King 1284-1327
Leonardo da Vinci Painter/Sculptor 1452-1519
Cyrano de Bergerac French Dramatist 1619-1655
Jean-Baptiste Lully Composer 1632-1687
Arcangelo Corelli Composer/Violinist 1653-1713
Franz Schubert Composer 1797-1828
Ralph Waldo Emerson Essayist 1803-1882
Elizabeth Cady Stanton Feminist 1815-1902
Henry David Throeau Author, Poet 1817-1862
Walt Whitman Poet 1819-1892
Susan B. Anthony Feminist 1820-1906
Emily Dickinson Poet 1830-1886
Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky Composer 1840-1893
Henry James Writer 1843-1916


Looking at how many search results their names turn up on Google, the median number is 440,000 (note: from the summer of 2014).  Sixty-one generated more than 1 million search results, with Alexander McQueen (pictured below) and Leonardo Da Vinci the top two, well ahead of the rest.  After them, the three others with 5 million or more search results are Oscar Wilde, Divine and Andy WarholFrida Kahlo is the woman with the most, ranked twelfth with 2.8 million.  Sixty-four have fewer than 100,000, with the lowest number being for Mabel Hampton, Franciscan Friar Mychal Judge and drag performer Bunny Breckinridge, all who turned up 7,000.




Alexander McQueen Fashion Designer
Leonardo da Vinci Painter/Sculptor
Oscar Wilde Writer/Poet
Divine  Actress
Andy Warhol Artist
Yves Saint Laurent Fashion Designer
James Dean Actor
Freddie Mercury Musician
Sylvester Disco Singer
Christian Dior Fashion Designer
Frida Kahlo Artist
Perry Ellis Fashion Designer
Virginia Woolf Writer
Ralph Waldo Emerson Essayist
John Gielgud Actor


By profession, actors/actresses and authors/novelists have the greatest representation, comprising close to 40% of the total.  Then there are occupations with just one LGBT person associated with them, such as architect (Philip Johnson); mathematician (Alan Turing); chef (James Beard); economist (John Maynard Keynes); marine biologist (Rachel Carson); and astronaut (Sally Ride).


Economist John Maynard Keynes


Actors/Actresses 67 26%
Authors/Novelists 34 13%
Activists (Various Causes) 21 8%
Composers/Songwriters 21 8%
Poets 17 7%
Directors (Movie/B'way/TV) 15 6%
Playwrights 12 5%
Choreographers/Dancers 11 4%
Fashion Designers 10 4%
Singers 9 4%
Artists 7 3%
Athletes 6 2%
Photographers 6 2%


Finally, regarding their deaths, more than half died from either AIDS, various forms of cancer or heart attacks.  Additionally, nine were murdered, eight took their own life, seven died in various accidents and two died from drug overdoses.  It should be noted that not everyone who died before they turned 50 died from AIDS as nearly half died from other causes.  







When They Were Young: Gay Heartthrobs From the Past

FaintingBesides being very accomplished in their various professions, some of our gay forebears were also blessed with strikingly good looks (not surprisingly, many were products of Hollywood's star-making machine.)  What follows are those men, in alphabetical order, who turned heads and caused fainting spells when they were in their prime.



Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972)

Spanish fashion designer whose house of Balenciaga thrived in the 1940s and 1950s.




Alan Bates (1934-2003)

English actor especially known among gay audiences for his homoerotic wrestling scene with Oliver Reed in the 1969 movie Women in Love (whose screenplay was written by none other than Larry Kramer).  In the photo I've chosen I see a little bit of Zac Efron in Bates' facial expression.




Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

Composing and conducting were just two of his many talents.  Somewhat gawky as a young man, Lenny came into his own as a sex symbol as he approached his 40s.  And as an older man he cut quite the dashing figure in his tux while conducting the New York Philharmonic.  In pop culture he's best known for composing the music for West Side Story and his series of Young People's Concerts on CBS.






Montgomery Clift (1920-1966)

A critically acclaimed (four Oscar nominations), and handsome, actor whose good looks were marred somewhat after a serious car accident in the mid-1950s caused facial scarring.  This was the beginning of a downward spiral that ended with his death ten years later.




Farley Granger (1925-2011)

Actor best known for his starring role in the 1948 Hitchcock movie Rope, which had a gay subtext.  Looked a bit like Eddie Fisher.




Rock Hudson (1925-1985)

There's eye candy and then there is Eye Candy, and that would be Rock Hudson.  If People Magazine had been around in the 1950s and '60s he probably would have been chosen its Sexiest Man Alive multiple times.




Larry Kert (1930-1991)

Actor, singer and dancer, he's best known for his role as Tony in the Broadway production of West Side Story.  Then in 1970 he replaced Dean Jones in the role of Bobby in Company.  In this photo he somewhat resembles Liam Neeson.




Arthur Laurents (1917-2011)

Playwright, stage director and screenwriter best known for West Side Story, Gypsy and La Cage aux Faux.  Had a reputation for being very difficult to work with (ask Patti Lu Pone) and burned many bridges (ask Stephen Sondheim).  This demeanor is probably what kept him alive into his 90s.




Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936)

Poet and novelist who was executed in the early weeks of the Spanish Civil War.




Jean Marais (1913-1998)

French actor (stage and screen), director and sculptor.  Wildly popular in France for his roles as a swashbuckler.  Had a 24-year relationship with novelist/poet Jean Cocteau. 




Kerwin Mathews (1926-2007)

Not to be confused with Sherwin Williams, Mathews was a B-list actor whose roles ranged from Sinbad the Sailor to Johan Strauss (on the Wonderful World of Disney).  Reminds me of Paul Rudd




Sal Mineo (1939-1976)

Actor who rose to fame at a young age with roles in movies such as Rebel Without a Cause, Giant and Exodus before he was 22 years old.  More cute than handsome, he tried to change his image as he got older and directed/starred in a stage production of Fortune and Mens' Eyes.




George Nader (1921-2002)

Actor who appeared mostly in low-budget movies and TV series.  Perhaps best known for being pals with Rock Hudson, and some suggest they were romantically involved.  The photo below of them together brings to mind the even more famous poolside photo of Cary Grant and "roommate" Randolph Scott.






Ramon Novarro (1899-1968)

Actor in the same mold as Rudolph Valentino, who was a contemporary.  (I have an acquaintenance, an accountant, whose name is Ramon Novarro.)




Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993)

Acclaimed ballet dancer, he defected to the West from Russia when he was 23.  He and porn star/director Michael Lucas look as if they sprang from the same gene pool.




Al Parker (1952-1992)

The porn superstar of the 1980s, best known for such classics as Oversize Load, Heavy Equipment and Inches.  Not to be confused with '80s disco singer Paul Parker (Right on Target), who's still alive.




Anthony Perkins (1932-1992)

Boyishly handsome actor best known for his role as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.  15 years later in the movie Mahogany he played the possessive/unhinged photographer who discovered Diana Ross's character.  Interestingly, his character's issues with his homosexuality were similar to Perkins' struggles in real life.  




Howard Rollins Jr. (1950-1996)

Dramatic actor best known for his role as Coalhouse Walker in the movie version of Ragtime in 1981.  This was his first movie and he received an Oscar nomination for his role.




Yves St. Laurent (1936-2008)

Although this world-renowned fashion designer wasn't leading-man sexy, he had a boyish appeal when he was first starting out.  Like Anthony Perkins and Montgomery Clift, St. Laurent's adult life was characterized by mental anguish.




Tom Tryon (1926-1991)

Tryon was one of a number of actors I wasn't' familiar with when I began work on this post.  Others were Jean Marais, Kerwin Mathews and George Nader.  In his older years he was the spitting image of Mitt Romney.




Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926)

Famed actor who looks very much like Cristobal Balenciaga and Ramon Novarro.  In many of the photos I've come across he's holding a cigarette.  (But he didn't die of lung cancer.)




Gore Vidal (1925-2012)

Novelist, essayist, writer of screenplays and an intellectual gadfly, Vidal wrote the novel Myra Breckinridge and created headlines when he and William F. Buckley Jr. got into a heated argument on TV during the 1968 Democratic Convention.  Vidal called Buckley a Nazi and Buckley called Vidal a queer.




Finally, some former heartthrobs are still alive, including Richard Chamberlain (80 years old) and Tab Hunter (83).  Of all the names on this list Chamberlain is the one most identified with TV, beginning with Dr. Kildare in the early 1960s.  And Hunter, besides having a movie career, is the only one to have a #1 song, Young Love in 1957.         


Richard Chamberlain


Tab Hunter















Unusual Circumstances Behind the Deaths of Some Noteworthy Gay Personalities

CemeteryAs I was doing research for an upcoming post about noteworthy LGBT persons from the past, I collected information on the circumstances of their deaths.  And although nearly two-thirds died from AIDS, heart attacks, pneumonia, strokes or various cancers, there were some other causes of death that stood out because they were out of the ordinary.  Here they are, arranged in chronological order:



  • We begin with perhaps the most gruesome death, that of England's Edward II.  Supposedly, a red-hot poker was thrust up his rectum while he was imprisoned in 1327, scalding his internal organs.  However, scholars now believe this story was made-up and that Edward, in fact, may not have been murdered at all.  Read the story behind it here.  




  • Jean-Baptiste-Lully succumbed to gangrene at the age of 54 after the composer and conductor struck his foot with his long conducting staff during a performance in 1687.
  • Famed composer Franz Schubert died in 1828 from mercury poisoning, a result of mercury being administered to treat tertiary syphilis.  He was 31.
  • Hart Crane, poet and heir to the Life Savers candy fortune, was 32 when he jumped from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico after an evening of drinking (and being roughed up by a crew member he made advances on).  His body was never recovered.  In 2012 James Franco played Crane in the movie The Broken Tower.




  • Spanish poet/dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca, just 38, was executed in the opening weeks of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 by Nationalist Guards led by General Francisco Franco.




  • Writer Virginia Woolf filled the pockets of her overcoat with stones, walked into the River Ouse near her home in England, and drowned herself.  Her body wasn't recovered for three weeks.  She was 59.




  • James Dean was just 24 years old when he was killed in a car crash a month before his movie Rebel Without a Cause was released in the autumn of 1955.
  • Dag Hammarskjold had been the second Secretary General of the UN for eight years when he was killed in a plane crash in 1961 at the age of 56.
  • Marc Blitzstein, renowned composer/lyricist/librettist, was murdered in 1964 by three sailors he picked up in a bar while on a winter vacation in Martinique.  He was 58.




  • Poet and writer Frank O'Hara died from injuries sustained after being run over by a dune buggy on the beach in Cherry Grove on Fire Island during the summer of 1966.  He was 40 years old.




  • Neal Cassady, who ran with the crowd of the Beat Generation's Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, died from hypothermia in 1968 after wandering away from a wedding party in just a t-shirt and jeans on a cold and rainy January night in Mexico.
  • In November 1978 Harvey Milk was murdered in City Hall along with the mayor of San Francisco by a disgruntled former member of the Board of Supervisors.  At his murder trial the defense team used the infamous "Twinkies defense", saying his addiction to junk food produced mood swings.
  • The story is that Tennessee Williams' fatal 1983 heart attack, at the age of 71, was caused by choking after he inhaled the cap from a bottle of poppers he had opened with his teeth.  However, like Cass Elliott's ham sandwich, this has been disputed.
  • Andy Warhol died in 1987 in a New York hospital from a cardiac arrthymia while recovering from successful gallbladder surgery.  Ironically, it had been an effort to get Warhol to schedule this surgery since he was afraid of doctors and hospitals.  He was 58.




  • Rumors were that 70-year-old Malcolm Forbes didn't die from a heart attack in 1990, but rather by doctor-assisted suicide after being diagnosed with HIV.




  • Gianni Versace was shot to death in July 1997 by serial killer Andrew Cunanan in front of his South Beach mansion as he was walking back from a coffee shop with the morning paper (and $1,200 in his pocket).  He was 50.




  • Mychal Judge, a Franciscan friar who served as chaplain to the New York City Fire Department, was struck and killed by falling debris on the morning of 9-11.  His was the first certified fatality from the attack.




  • Winner of a silver medal in boxing for Canada at the 1992 Olympics, Mark Leduc's cause of death is listed as "heatstroke" after he collapsed in a sauna in a Toronto hotel in 2009.  He was 47.











How Did Gymnasts Danell Leyva & Louis Smith Escape My Attention?

Danell.leyva4I blame it on Tom Daley.  Since I write about gay pop culture and LGBT history l figure I have a pretty good awareness of who the gay personalities are in our midst.  So I was startled to discover that a hot, accomplished US gymnast who I was unfamiliar with was openly gay - and had been for a number of years!  I made this discovery while searching Google Images for two Asian gymnasts whose names I needed because I had featured them a recent post about armpits.  As I scrolled through the pics I kept coming across a really hot gymnast whose name was Danell Leyva.  Wanting to learn more about him I went to his Wikipedia entry where I discovered that not only was he one of the USA's most skilled gymnasts (on the parallel bars), but he's openly gay.  I believe he escaped my attention because during the 2012 Olympics I was so enraptured with British diver Tom Daley that I paid no attention to the gymnastics competition.


It's all his fault.



Louis.smith.gymnastThen, just as I was regaining my composure, I came across photos of an equally hot gymnast who I was also unfamiliar with, this one from the UK.  His name was Louis Smith; he's three years older than Leyva (25 v 22) and three inches taller (5'10" v 5'7").  He's the product of a Jamaican father and English mother (Leyva is Cuban).  Apparently not gay (or just hasn't come out yet?), he's ingratiated himself with the gay press by doing sexy photo shoots).  Besides medaling at the Beijing and London Olympics (on the pommel horse) he was 2012 champion of Strictly Come Dancing, the UK's version of Dancing with the Stars.  A few years ago, rather than his stylish coif, had a simple buzz cut.  No matter, he's hot either way - or any way.


Anyway, better late than never.  As I sat down to choose photos to include here I thought to myself that it might easier to just provide a link to Google Images rather than agonizing over which of the hundreds of tantalizing pics should be selected.  However, martyr that I am, I hunkered down and made the tough choices.  And here are my selections ...











2014 Tony Awards Recap: Having Your Cake & Eating It Too

Hughjackman.2014tonyawards2Some viewers may have braced themselves for serious withdrawal upon the news that Neil Patrick Harris wasn't hosting this year's Tony Awards.  However, the telecast offered up a two-fer.  Not only did we get strapping Hugh Jackman as host, but Neil Patrick Harris was still present as he performed and made an acceptance speech after winning a Tony.  And like NPH, Jackman was a ball of good-humored energy.  Whereas NPH is cute and impish in an elf-like way, Jackman is leading man handsome and debonair with a playful side.  And the show's opening number showed that the 45-year-old was as fit as 40-year-old NPH. 



I enjoyed the opening although I was scratching my head over it.  After the show I discovered that the hopping idea came from the number Take Me to Broadway from the 1953 movie Small Town Girl.  (Musician Peter Wolf's 1987 music video for the song Come As You Are was also a tribute to this number.)  It might have been helpful if Hugh mentioned this fact (he did sing the title, but with no context).  Nonetheless, it was fun and I liked how Hugh interacted with the casts of the nominated musicals.  What was especially impressive was that he didn't appear to break a sweat nor was he noticeably winded.




I was quite entertained with Jackman's rendition of Rock Island from The Music Man, and it was further enhanced when he brought out rappers LL Cool J and TI to preform it as a rap song.




For me, the highlight of the telecast was Carole King introducing the musical number from Beautiful and then singing a duet of I Feel the Earth Move with the show's star, Jessie Mueller (who later won for her role).




Two award winners, Darko Tresnjak (Gentleman's Guide) and Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig & the Angry Inch) gave their respective husbands on-camera kisses.  And when he peformed as Hedwig NPH gave his hubby a very passionate kiss (almost as passionate as the one Al Gore planted on Tipper at the 2000 Democratic Convention!)






I thoroughly enjoyed the numbers from Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway and Beautiful.






I was touched by the last line of Lena Hall's giddy acceptance speech after winning for her performance in Hedwig -  "Friendship is magic."




Audra McDonald always gives a heartfelt, emotionally gratifying acceptance speech and this year's was no different - for her sixth Tony Award.  (I think what gave her the edge in the voting was her role as Mother Superior in NBC's live telecast of The Sound of Music last November.)  And the camera caught her husband, Will Swenson, wiping away tears and looking very proud.





I found it amusing that Kenny Leon's wife was staring directly into the camera when his nomination for Best Director of a Play was announced (he won for Raisin in the Sun).




Then there was this adorable photo bomb by the son of Ramin Karimloo (from Les Miserables) as nominee Jarrod Spector's face was being shown (for his role in Beautiful).  But by the time Karimiloo's name was announced for his nomination later in the show, the little tyke was asleep and Karimiloo playfully tried to hush the audience (and there was yet another adorable son at his side).





Sutton Foster and Ru Paul were pretty in pink (bringing to mind the time when Michelle Obama and Ann Romney both wore pink dresses to one of the presidential debates).





Jackman's playful interaction with each actress nominated for Lead Actress in a Musical was fun.






Bare chests!  There were four of them: Adam Jacobs from Aladdin (pictured), Andy Karl and Terrence Archie (pictured) from Rocky and Alan Cumming from Cabaret.







Judith Light's hair was a mess (the Cameron Diaz look) but Zach Brach's was even worse.




Every song Idina Menzel sings sounds the same (aka Celine Dion syndrome).




The number from A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Marriage left me cold.  I saw the show and this was not the best number.  And I don't think it's going to drive audiences to the box office.  




The 10th anniversary of Wicked was highlighted but it was also the 10th anniversary of Avenue Q beating out Wicked for Best Musical (that wasn't mentioned).




Kenneth Branagh's charcoal suit was very shiny.




During NPH's acceptance speech he told his twins that hed be back soon to spend time with them and read bedtime stories, so he's letting us know that he's not going to be in Hedwig very much longer.

While it was great to see Jennifer Hudson, who looked stunning, perform a song, the show it's from has yet to appear on Broadway.  It came near the end of the telecast, pushing it past 11:00, so those taping lost the announcement of the award for Best Musical at 11:04.  (Sting's number earlier in the telecast was also for a show not yet on Broadway.)





At least 13 gay men and lesbians got camera time and surely there were more that I missed, or I was unsure about their sexual orientation (e.g., Warren Carlyle and David Binder).

  • Matt Bomer (presenter)
  • Alan Cumming (Cabaret)
  • Harvey Fierstein (presenter)
  • Jonathan Groff (presenter)
  • Neil Patrick Harris (preformed; award winner for Hedwig)
  • Cherry Jones (nominee)
  • Michael Mayer (Hedwig)
  • Terrence McNally (stage appearance)
  • John Cameron Mitchell (stage appearance/Hedwig)
  • Rosie O'Donnell (presenter; recipient of honorary award winner)
  • Zachary Quinto (presenter)
  • RuPaul (presenter)
  • Darko Tresnjak (award winner, Gentleman's Guide)



This year I snapped photos from the TV screen (couldn't have done it without the DVR!).  Here are some miscellaneous shots I liked:


Hugh Jackman looks out upon his adoring public.


"Rocky's" playful nominee Andy Karl


Anna Wintour goes another year without a Tony.


Hugh begins hopping.


Neil Patrick Harris with hubby David Burtka


Jennifer Hudson belts it out.


Adam Carol and his 100-watt smile.


Kyle Scatliffe brings the number from "Les Miz"  to a powerful end.

LGBT History: A Salute to Our Gay & Lesbian Elders (Age 75+)

Stephen.sondheim Giorgio.armani Edith.windsorThis post celebrates nearly three dozen accomplished gay and lesbian individuals who are at least 75 years of age.  In their formative years, mostly during the 1950s and 1960s, life posed many challenges because of their sexual orientation.  However, they managed to excel in their careers even if it required hiding their true nature.  Most are now open about their orientation and are beacons of inspiration for young LGBTs.  What follows are some top-line findings.  (The list can be found at the end of the post.)


  • The oldest of the group is gossip columnist Liz Smith, who is 91, ten days older than director Franco Zeffirelli.  Prolific composer Ned Rorem is 90.  (Deceased gay icons who lived beyond 90 include architect Philip Johnson, who died at 98; actor John Gielgud, who lived to 96; and artist Paul Cadmus, who was 95 when he died in 1999.)
  • Probably the most famous are composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim (84) and fashion designer Giorgio Armani (78).
  • Only four of the thirty-four persons on this list are women: Liz Smith; same-sex marriage activist Edie Windsor (84); director/producer Jane Wagner (79) and author Patricia Nell Warren.
  • Only one person on the list is Black, singer Johnny Mathis (78) and just one is of Asian heritage, actor George Takei.  None are Hispanic (the oldest is Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez, who is 66).


Johnny Mathis


Edward Albee


Larry Kramer


Tommy Tune


  • This seasoned group has worked in sixteen different occupations, with fashion designers and playwrights represented the most, by four names each.  Arnold Scaasi; Valentino; Karl Lagerfeld; and Giorgio Armani are the designers (all foreign born), while Edward Albee; John Glines; Mart Crowley; and Terrence McNally are the playwrights.   In addition, there are three directors, three composers and three authors.  
  • Ian McKellen will join this group next month when he turns 75 on May 25 ) and Lily Tomlin on Sept. 1.  Three more will turn 75 next year: author Edmund White, fashion designer Bob Mackie and former Congressman Barney Frank.  The most recent death of someone in the 75+ group was pianist Van Cliburn who was 78 when he died in February of 2013.
  • If there lives weren't cut short by AIDS some well-known gay men would no doubt be part of this group, including choreographers Robert Joffrey and Alvin Ailey; athlete Tom Waddell; dancer Rudolf Nureyev; actors Rock Hudson, Anthony Perkins, Larry Kert and Robert Reed; pianist Liberace; and French philosopher Michel Foucault.


(Ages as of May 1, 2014)
  Profession Age Best Known For
Franco Zeffirelli Movie & Opera Director 91 Worked with Maria Callas
Liz Smith Gossip Columnist 91 New York Post
Ned Rorem Composer 90 Prolific composer of 300+ pieces; Fullbright Scholar; Pulitzer Prize for Music  
Edward Albee Playwright 86 "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?"
James Ivory Director 85 Merchant Ivory Productions has produced 50+ films 
Arnold Scaasi Fashion Designer 84 Designed gowns for four First Ladies
Stephen Sondheim Composer/Lyricist 84 8 Tony Awards, 8 Grammys, 2 Oscars, 1 Pulitzer Prize
Jasper Johns Artist 84 "Three Flags"/Partnered with Rob't Rauschenberg
Edie Windsor Mathematician/Activist 84 Lawsuit led to Supreme Court striking down DOMA
John Rechy Author 84 "City of Night"/"Numbers"/"The Sexual Outlaw"
Martin Duberman Historian/Professor 83 Founded Center for Lesbian/Gay Studies at CUNY 
Paul Taylor Choreographer 83 Worked with Martha Graham 
Clive Davis Record Executive 82 Managed Whitney Houston
Jerry Herman Composer/Lyricist 82 "Hello, Dolly!"/"Mame"/"La Cage aux Folles"
Tab Hunter Actor 82 Blonde/"Polyester"
Valentino  Fashion Designer 81 Last name is Garavani/Documentary: "Valentino - The Last Emperor" 
Jim French Photographer 81 Founder of Colt Studios
James Hormel Diplomat 81 1st openly gay US ambassador (Luxembourg)
Richard Chamberlain Actor 80 "Dr. Kildare"/"Shogun"/"The Thornbirds"
Don Bachardy Portrait Artist 80 2008 documentary about life w/Christopher Isherwood: "Chris & Don:  A Love Story"
John Glines Playwright/Producer 80 Tony winner for "Torch Song Trilogy"
Karl Lagerfeld Fashion Designer 80 Chanel/Fendi
Jane Wagner Writer/Producer/Dir 79 Partnered w/Lily Tomlin for 40+ years
Mart Crowley Playwright 78 "Boys in the Band"
Larry Kramer Writer/Activist 78 Co-founded GMHC/"The Normal Heart"
Giorgio Armani Fashion Designer 78 Personal worth of $8.5 billion
Johnny Mathis Singer 78 "Chances Are"
George Takei Actor 77 "Star Trek's" Mr. Sulu
Patricia Nell Warren Author 77 "The Front Runner"
David Hockney Artist 76 Born in England, fell in love with So. Calif.
Tommy Tune Choreographer/Director/Actor 75 Nine Tony Awards/Twiggy/Known for his height (6'6")
Terrence McNally Playwright 75 "Love! Valour! Compassion!"/"Master Class"/"Ragtime"/4  Tonys
Rex Reed Film Critic 75 Lives in The Dakota/pals with Liz Smith
Jonathan Ned Katz Queer Studies/Historian 75 Created OutHistory.org website
Source:  Wikipedia      

Gay Celebrities & Their Twitter Followers

Twitterbird.rainbowRecently I wrote a post about overexposed LGBT celebrities based on how many Google search results they had.  This latest analysis gauges the popularity of these gay and lesbian "A-listers" based on the number of followers each has on Twitter.  Similar to the the Google analysis, I chose close to 450 gay and lesbian "personalities", 70% of whom have Twitter accounts; those with accounts have a median age of 50, with thirty over the age of 65 and thirteen younger than 30. 



EllenshowThe median number of followers is 25,000.  Twenty-two have more than 1 million, led by Ellen DeGeneres, who has more than 28 million (she also ranks in the top 10 among all celebs).  She is  followed by Ricky Martin and Neil Patrick Harris who have 10 and 8.4 million followers, respectively.  Four of the celebs with 1 million+ followers are over the age of 60, with George Takei, at 77, being the oldest.  Three are under 30, with British diver Tom Daley, at age 19, the youngest. 


The following chart lists the gay and lesbian celebrities with 1 million or more Twitter followers:


      # of
Celeb Profession Age (In Millions)
Ellen DeGeneres Comic/Talk Show Host 57 28.30
Ricky Martin Singer 41 10.00
Neil Patrick Harris Actor 44 8.39
Stephen Fry Comic/Actor 56 6.72
Perez Hilton Blogger 36 5.98
Anderson Cooper  News Anchor 46 4.91
Alan Carr Comic/TV Personality 37 3.96
Rachel Maddow News Anchor 41 2.87
Tom Daley Diver 19 2.62
Chris Colfer Actor 23 2.39
Adam Lambert Singer 27 2.25
Robbie Williams Singer 40 2.22
Michael Kors Fashion Designer 54 1.91
Jane Lynch Actress 53 1.75
Calvin Klein Fashion Designer 72 1.72
Samantha Ronson DJ/Musician 36 1.57
Suze Orman Financial Advisor 62 1.53
Marc Jacobs  Fashion Designer 51 1.53
Andy Cohen TV Executive 45 1.37
Michael Ausiello TV Journalist 42 1.16
George Takei Actor 77 1.12
Jillian Michaels Fitness Guru 40 1.04
(As of 4/7/2014)      



GusvansantAt the other end of the spectrum, 39 persons have fewer than 1,000 followers, including personalities such as director Gus Van Sant, New York Times theater critic Bill Brantley, designer Todd Oldham and author Kevin Sessums.



Stephen.fryThe biggest head scratcher, for me at least, is the wild popularity of British actor Stephen Fry, who has the 4th highest following, with 6.7 million.  Other surprises include British TV personality Alan Carr at #7; pop singer Robbie Williams at #12; DJ Samantha Ronson at #16; financial advice doyenne Suze Orman at #17; trainer Jillian Michaels at #22 and actor Ian McKellen at #23.  



Matt.bomerThe median number of tweets is 2,500.  This includes five who have yet to send their first tweet: Matt Bomer, entrepreneur Peter Thiel, Jason Gould (Babs' son), Ben Brantley and Cynthia Nixon.  Bomer's lack of tweets is particularly noteworthy considering he has 168,000 followers (akin to subscribing to a magazine that doesn't publish).  In addition to these five, there are eleven others who have sent fewer than ten tweets.   


BuckhollywoodEntertainment blogger Michael Buckley (aka Buck Hollywood) has sent the most tweets, 87,600, followed by porn director Chi Chi La Rue with 78,3000.  Then weatherman Sam Champion, journalist Glenn Greenwald and Boy George have each tweeted between 44,000 and 46,000 times (includes retweets).  In total, there are 52 LGBT celebs who have sent more than 10,000 tweets.


The following chart lists the 15 most prolific tweeters:


    # of
Celeb Profession Tweets Followers
Buck Hollywood Blogger 87,600 635,000
Chi Chi LaRue Porn Director 78,300 51,000
Sam Champion Weatherman 46,100 194,000
Glenn Greenwald Journalist 44,900 345,000
Boy George Singer 44,000 301,000
Bobby Rivers TV Personality 38,800 3,167
Anderson Cooper* News Anchor 36,500 417,000
Jonathan Capehart Journalist 36,300 92,300
Susan Powter Motivational Speaker 35,800 5,674
Andy Cohen TV Exec 35,400 1,370,000
Suze Orman Financial Guru 24,000 1,530,000
Alec Mapa Comic/Actor 22,100 27,600
Michael Ausiello TV Journalist 21,200 1,160,000
Chely Wright Country Singer 20,100 47,400
Samantha Ronson DJ/Musician 20,000 1,570,000
*for his show "Anderson Cooper 360"



Although the median number of followers gay A-listers have is 25,000, the number of persons they follow back is just 295, which works out to about one out of every hundred persons who follow them.  Neil Patrick Harris, who has more than eight million followers, follows just 69, or one out of every 125,000 of his followers; Ricky Martin follows one out of every 33,000 and Ellen DeGeneres follows one out of every 600. 


RyanmurphyNine can't be bothered to follow anyone, with the most arrogance (or is it chutzpah?) displayed by Ryan Murphy (who has 639,000 followers) and Matt Drudge (262,000).  However, there are 25 of the gliterrati who follow more than 2,500.  Ellen follows 46,500 but that's a tiny amount when you consider that she has 28 million followers.  Steven Fry has follows the most of any celeb, with 51,500.  That's 5,000 more than Ellen even though he has 21.5 million fewer followers.  And photographer Mike Ruiz also follows more than Ellen, with 49,000 - but has only 100,000 followers in total. 


New York Times advertising reporter Stuart Elliott stands out because he is the only person in this analysis who follows more people than his number of followers (27,700 vs. 27,200). 


The following chart shows those with the highest ratio of persons followed: to followers (of those with at least 10,000 followers): 


(Those with 10,000+ Followers)
  Profession Follow Followers Ratio
Stuart Elliott Journalist 27,700 27,200 1.018
Cazwell Singer 37,900 58,000 0.653
Mike Ruiz Photographer 48,000 109,000 0.440
Bruce LaBruce Filmmaker 8,164 19,400 0.421
Paula Poundstone Comic 36,500 88,900 0.411
Jerry Mitchell Choreographer 3,043 10,000 0.304
Jack Mackenroth Model 26,500 90,600 0.292
John Amaechi Former Athlete 4,532 18,500 0.245
Tammy Baldwin US Senator 5,010 24,700 0.203
Laverne Cox Actress 1,376 68,400 0.201
Dyana Nyad Swimmer 7,773 43,400 0.179
Average   295 25,000 0.012



Jonathan.groff.outmag30% of gay movers and shakers aren't on Twitter; their median age is 57, which is seven years older than those with Twitter accounts.  Rap singer Frank Ocean had an account until the summer of 2013 when he deleted it.  Chipotle CEO Steve Ells had one last week but it has since been closed.  And although actor Jonathan Groff has a Twitter account, he last tweeted in August 2011, so it's as if he didn't have one (to the chagrin of his 5,300 followers). 

The A+ List of Well-Known Gay & Lesbian Celebrities

Neil.patrick.harris NeilPatrickHarrisTonyAwardsShow2011_article_story_main Nph_motherAs I perceive it, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper, Ryan Murphy and Rachel Maddow are today's most overexposed gay personalities (or, as Barbara Walters might refer to them as, the most fascinating).  However, a Google search I did on more than 300 gay celebs turned up many others who seem equally high profile (the top 50 can be found at the end of this post).



Harvey.fierstein Melissa.etheridge20 years ago there were very few "out" celebrities so it made sense that the token few, e.g., Harvey Fierstein, Melissa Etheridge and kd lang, received extensive media coverage.  Since then there's been a proliferation of openly gay celebs (a good thing), but an inordinate amount of attention still goes to a rather select group. 



Calvinklein Steve.kmetkoOf the 300+ included in this analysis, the typical celeb had 500,000 search results.  They ranged from 16,000 (for Steve Kmetko - remember him?) to 19 million (Calvin Klein).  There were thirteen well-known LGBTs whose names each generated more than 5 million search results - I guess you can call them the gay A+ List.  At the other end of the spectrum, there were 50 celebs/former celebs with fewer than 100,000 mentions.  (For some perspective, I, a mere gay mortal, had 5,000).



Natesilver TomdaleyNaturally, some of the names among the top 50 have been in the news of late, including newly out actress Ellen Page, figure skater Johnny Weir and stats guru Nate Silver (pictured, far left).  (Surprisingly, neither Michael Sam or Jason Collins were in this select group, ranking 59th and 61st).  By age, six of the top 50 were older than 65, with Giorgio Armani, at 78, the oldest.  Seven were younger than 30, with Tom Daley (pictured) being the youngest, at 19.  Ellen DeGeneres had the most search results for lesbians, but only ten others joined her.



Tim.cook.apple Annie.leibovitzActors, singers and fashion designers dominate the upper echelons of gaydom, comprising two-thirds of the top 50.  (The designers were, no doubt, boosted by their eponymous clothing labels.)  Outside of these fields we have  statistician Nate Silver; personal trainer Jillian Michaels; Apple CEO Tim Cook; photographer Annie Leibovitz; blogger Perez Hilton; interior designer Nate Berkus; and drag performer Ru Paul



Rachel.maddow Anderson.cooper.vanity.fair EllenshowAnd where do the five I thought were most overexposed rank?  Neil Patrick Harris is second; Ellen is fifth and Anderson Cooper, 30th.  Rachel Maddow and Ryan Murphy, however, are further down the list at 65th and 68th, respectively.  Still respectable but not nearly as high as I expected.



Robbie.williams Jason.wu JakeshearsWho was I surprised to see among the elite 50?  Besides Calvin Klein at #1, I was also taken aback by the inclusion of singers Robbie Williams (pictured, far right), George Michael, Mika, Tracy Chapman and Boy George; Jillian Michaels fom Biggest Loser; fashion designers Alexander Wang, Jason Wu (pictured) and Zac Posen; and British actor Steven Fry.  And those who I was surprised to see lower than the top 100 include ABC's Robin Roberts (#112); fashion guru Tim Gunn (#142); sexy Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters (#164, pictured near right); diving legend Greg Louganis (#177) and gay blogger Andy Towle (#294).


(Ranked by # of Google Search Results)
    Search Results
  Profession (In Millions)
Calvin Klein Fashion Designer 19.1
Neil Patrick Harris Actor 14.6
Elton John Singer/Songwriter 12.7
Marc Jacobs Fashion Designer 11.0
Ellen DeGeneres Talk Show Host 10.8
Michael Kors Fashion Designer 10.6
Robbie Williams Singer 10.0
Ricky Martin Singer   9.8
Tom Ford Fashion Designer   9.4
Mika Singer   7.1
George Michael Singer/Songwriter   6.7
Pet Shop Boys Pop Music Duo   5.8
Adam Lambert Singer   5.4
Giorgio Armani Fashion Designer   4.6
Tegan & Sara Pop Music Duo   4.5
Rosie O'Donnell TV Personality   4.3
Alexander Wang Fashion Designer   4.3
Ellen Page Actress   4.2
Frank Ocean Rap Singer   3.6
Portia de Rossi Actress   3.4
Tim Cook Business Executive   3.0
Johnny Weir Figure Skater   2.5
Jillian Michaels Trainer   2.4
Jason Wu Fashion Designer   2.4
Zachary Quinto Actor   2.3
Don Lemon News Anchor   2.3
Jodie Foster Actress   2.3
Tracy Chapman Singer/Songwriter   2.2
Perez Hilton Blogger   2.2
Anderson Cooper News Anchor   2.2
Jean Paul Gaultier Fashon Designer   2.1
Zac Posen Fashion Designer   2.0
Lily Tomlin Actress   2.0
Nate Silver Statistician   2.0
Andy Cohen Cable TV Executive   2.0
Ian McKellen Actor   1.9
Annie Leibovitz Photographer   1.8
Jesse Tyler Ferguson Actor   1.7
RuPaul Drag Performer   1.7
Boy George Singer/Songwriter   1.7
John Galliano Fashion Designer   1.7
George Takei Actor   1.7
Nate Berkus Interior Designer   1.6
Graham Norton Talk Show Host   1.6
Matt Bomer Actor   1.6
Wentworth Miller Actor   1.6
Stephen Fry Actor   1.6
Diana Nyad Swimmer   1.6
Tom Daley Diver   1.5
Chris Colfer Actor   1.5
(For period 3/20-24/2014)    


2014 Oscars Recap - Ellen DeGeneres Hosts a Kinder, Gentler Academy Awards

Selfie.at.oscarsAt first I wasn't enthusiastic about Ellen DeGeneres being host of the 2014 Academy Awards, but she eventually won me over (one of her charms is her ability to do this).  Her extensive mingling with the audience gave the telecast somewhat of a relaxed, "Golden Globes" feel.  Not only were the illustrious attendees good sports, they enthusiastically participated in Ellen's pizza delivery scheme and then a group selfie (right).  And I was thankful she didn't dance.


  • Ellen diverged from her anodyne presentation style just once, when she remarked, in the show's opening minutes, that the guy who came as Liza looked incredible.  (Liza was there, along with siblings Lorna Luft and Joey Luft, because of a tribute to The Wizard of Oz.)



  • John Travolta actually had somewhat human looking hair, but his mangling of singer Idina Menzel's name (inexplicably calling her Adela Dazeem) made his appearance a new classic Oscar moment.




  • The cutest boy at the ceremony was Anne Hathaway.




  • Jared Leto, made a moving acceptance speech upon winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  However, after mentioning the troubles in Ukraine and Venezuela, he failed to say anything about Uganda and its newly instituted anti-gay laws.  Considering the subject matter of the movie he won the Oscar for, this was an unfortunate omission.




  • Leto's tribute to his mother, who was seated next to him in the audience, brought to mind a similar heartfelt maternal tribute by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman when he won his Best Actor Oscar for Capote in 2006.




  • One of the co-winners for Best Make Up, Robin Matthews (Dallas Buyers Club), made a very poignant remark during her acceptance speech about AIDS awareness among today's younger generation.
  • Kim Novak's appearance was a sadly embarrassing one.  There was a jarring disparity between the voice of an 81-year-old woman coming from a body that resembled a blow-up doll.  Her appearance and somewhat confused state reminded me of AbFab's Eddie.  Novak's appearance might not have been so distressing if she had been paired instead with Bill Murray as her co-presenter rather than Matthew McConaughey.  Then an hour later 68-year-old Goldie Hawn, desperately clinging to her once youthful days of the 1970s (or trying to compete with daughter Kate Hudson?), presented an award.  Struggling with aging is the unfortunate reality of Hollywood.




  • Honor Roll of Dashing Men: Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt and Chris Pine.





  • The two best looking presenter couples: Jason Sudeikis & Kate Hudson and Chris Hemsworth & Charlize Theron.




  • 48 persons were honored during the "In Memoriam" segment (well above the typical 25 or 30), including Shirley Temple, Deanna Durbin and Esther Williams.  It was capped off by a divine appearance by Bette Midler.




  • Pharrell William's performance of his nominated song Happy was the most entertaining of the Best Song performances, especially when he went into the audience and danced with Lupita Nyong'o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.  Another Best Song performer, Idina Minzel (aka Adela Dazeem), came in for a rough landing at the end of her song, Let it Go, from the movie Frozen.  Lastly, guitarist Ezra Koenig's red socks perfectly matched the gown of singer Karen O during their performance of Moon Song from the movie Her.





  • Upon receiving her Oscar for Best Actress, Cate Blanchet said that receiving the award from Daniel Day Lewis "exacerbated the honor."  Unfortunately, exacerbate means "to make something worse."  She probably meant to say something like, "enhanced the honor."




  • Matthew McConaughey, who looked so dashing, gave an acceptance speech for Best Actor that not only was vapid and egocentric, but didn't once allude to the subject of his film.
  • Upon winning Best Picture, Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave,  managed to ramble on and thank two dozen people without mentioning one cast member.


Some reviews of the telecast criticized it for being boring.  Granted, there were no surprises as far as winners go, nonetheless I was entertained.  Those who were unenthusiastic may have been disappointed by a lack of rudeness or mean spiritedness - the norm of reality shows that blight the TV landscape.