February 2, 2024

Old Time Actors Who Were Gay

As June comes to a close, we're reminded that it used to be a lot more taboo for stars to open up about their sexuality in the media. But that doesn't mean they didn't lead fascinating personal lives behind the scenes — and some of them even came out in old age. While some of the names on this list won't be too familiar to today's audiences, you might recognize a few from your favorite movies.

Gay culture has always been a part of Hollywood, but the studio system often meant that actors kept their sexuality quiet unless they wanted to be fired or be considered for certain roles. However, a few of these stars were able to share their true identities while still pursuing their careers.

One of the earliest stars to open up about her sexuality was Patsy Kelly, who was one of the most well-known leading ladies of the 1930s and 1940s. She told a magazine that she was a "dyke" who lived with her girlfriend and never planned to marry. She also had a relationship with actress Tallulah Bankhead, who was equally open about her homosexuality.

Ramon Novarro, the silent star of Ben-Hur, was reportedly gay but kept his homosexuality quiet for most of his career. He later opened up about his homosexuality in a 2005 memoir called Tab Hunter Confidential. He claimed to have had flings with several of his Hollywood co-stars, including Desi Arnaz and Tyrone Power.


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