Bil Browning

Farley Granger comes out

Filed By Bil Browning | April 14, 2007 8:58 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Entertainment, Gay Icons and History, The Movement, The Movement
Tags: Alfred Hitchcock, bisexual, coming out of the closet, Farley Granger, gay icons, Hollywood, movies, Shelley Winters

shelleywinters17.jpgFormer screen idol Farley Granger comes out as bisexual in his upcoming autobiography, "Include Me Out." The 81 year old star talks candidly about his affairs - both gay and straight.

Granger is probably most often romantically linked to Shelley Winters and confesses, "My lifelong romance with Shelley was very much a love affair. It evolved into a very complex relationship, and we were close until the day she died."

Granger also admits to affairs with Ava Gardner, Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents. Until now, the actor has not discussed his bisexuality. He has been with his partner, Robert Calhoun, since the mid-1960's.

0017-2004.jpgGranger's biggest box office success was in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, a film with gay subtexts. Along the same lines, Granger also starred in Hitchcock's Rope, which was based partly on the Leopold and Loeb murder case. (The two uppercrust Jewish youth admitted to a sexual relationship during interrogation for the murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks.) Granger's co-star, John Dall, was also gay and Granger was having "a fling" with the writer.

Sometimes we forget how far American society has come in regards to sexuality and the ability to be honest about who you are. The article details the detrimental effect coming out was in those days using William Haines, Ramon Novarro and Rock Hudson as examples. Granger's autobiography provides some fascinating snippets about homosexuality in Hollywood's Golden Era:

Granger managed to keep his bisexuality a secret during his Hollywood career.

"There were cliques for gays, like the one that met at (director) George Cukor's house," he recalled. "I was never invited, and I don't think I would have gone if I had been. I was fortunate to join the musical crowd." He became friends with Judy Garland, actress Betty Garrett, composers Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and others who met Sundays at Gene Kelly's house for competitive sports in the backyard and The Game (charades) indoors.
Granger feels lucky to have been part of Hollywood's Golden Age. He writes about what may have been the quintessential Hollywood party. Gary Cooper called to invite Granger to a party for Clark Gable. Granger quickly accepted. And would he escort Barbara Stanwyck, newly divorced from Robert Taylor? Of course.

The Cooper estate overflowed with the town's elite: Greer Garson, Ronald Colman, Jimmy Stewart, David Niven, Ray Milland, James Mason, Deborah Kerr, Myrna Loy and many others.

"Clark Gable arrived late, and it was an entrance to remember," Granger writes. "He stopped for a moment at the top of the stairs that led down into the garden. He was alone, tanned, and wearing a white suit. He radiated charisma. He really was The King."

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As so often happens, the Associated Press didn't get the facts right -- at least in regard to Ramon Novarro.

It's completely false to claim that Novarro's career "faded when his fondness for boys became well-known in Hollywood." Novarro's career faded because his movies weren't big box-office anymore in the United States and his salary was much too high.

He'd been a star for more than 10 years -- an extremely long time in those days, when most performers lasted 3 to 5 years at the top.