Entertainment Secretly Gay, Bisexual, Or Queer Stars Of Golden Era Hollywood  

Ann Casano
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The party scene during the Golden Age of Hollywood is legendary; just imagine the biggest, most beautiful movie stars in the world mingling in the Hollywood Hills. Despite the almost non-stop press blitz old Hollywood stars were subject to thanks to their studio overlords, not every aspect of their lives was public; you may be surprised to learn those parties were filled with gay stars you never knew were gay, or bisexual and queer stars who kept the true nature of their sexuality out of the public eye. Some gay screen legends like Rock Hudson came out of the closet late in life. Outing other allegedly queer actors of the silver screen remains controversial, given they aren't around to speak for themselves.

Starlets such as Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo make the cut, which includes lesbians of Hollywood's Golden Age. Despite their marriages to men, both were reportedly known to secretly enjoy affairs with other women. Rumors have swirled for decades that legendary screen actors such as Cary Grant and Clark Gable were bisexual, and as more time passes, further evidence surfaces that those claims may be undeniably true.

See if your favorite actor or actress from American cinema’s golden age made this list of LGBTQ old Hollywood movie stars. Which one shocks you most? Which did you suspect all along? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

James Dean is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Secretly Gay, Bisexual, Or Queer Stars Of Golden Era Hollywood
Photo: Warner Bros.

Despite only appearing in three films, the cultural status of James Dean as a disillusioned rebel is just as strong in the 21st century as it was at the height of his popularity. Dean passed in 1955, at 24, in a car accident. Rumors swirled around his sexuality in his heyday, and persist today. No one knows for sure if the Rebel Without a Cause star was gay, straight, or bisexual.

Dean dated women, but perhaps those relationships were false ones set up by the studio? Since the 1970s, several books have outted the Giant actor. In 1975, Jonathan Gilmore, a close friend to Dean, wrote The Real James Dean, in which he disclosed he and Dean engaged in sexual encounters.

Also in 1975, biographer Robert Martinetti published The James Dean Story, in which he wrote the actor was involved with Rogers Brackett, an advertising executive. Brackett told Martinetti, "I loved him and Jimmy loved me. If it was a father-son relationship, it was also somewhat incestuous.”

A number of other biographies make claims about Dean's sexuality. The most scandalous claim came in Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince's 2016 book James Dean: Tomorrow Never Comes. The authors write that Dean's friend Stanley Taggart asserted the East of Eden star was involved in "kinky sado-masochistic sex" with Marlon Brando. In the union, Brando was allegedly the dominant partner and Dean the submissive.

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Marlon Brando is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Secretly Gay, Bisexual, Or Queer Stars Of Golden Era Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Many call two-time Academy Award winner Marlon Brando the greatest screen actor of all-time. Despite where he ranks in terms of ability, there's no doubt Brando exudes intense masculinity. The Godfather patriarch was married four times and some sources claim he fathered 17 children (!).

Many allegations suggest Brando was bisexual. His most well-known alleged affair was with James Dean. However, Darwin Porter's biography, Brando Unzippedclaims the actor had sexual relationships with Cary Grant, Montgomery Clift, and Sir John Gielgud. There are also rumors he had an affair with Bob Dylan

Taking it a step further, in 1976, Brando admitted to a French journalist, "Homosexuality is so much in fashion, it no longer makes news. Like a large number of men, I, too, have had homosexual experiences, and I am not ashamed. I have never paid much attention to what people think about me."

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Marilyn Monroe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Secretly Gay, Bisexual, Or Queer Stars Of Golden Era Hollywood
Photo: 20th Century Fox

It's been more than 50 years since Marilyn Monroe passed away unexpectedly in 1962 at age 36. However, the sex symbol still tops any list of blonde bombshells. Monroe was married three times, and two of her marriages were extremely high profile. Her second was to New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio, her third to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller.

Monroe is such a quintessential sex symbol for red-blooded men, it's hard to conceive of her preferring women. Yet the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes star allegedly admitted to having sexual encounters with Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Marlene Dietrich (totally believable), and Elizabeth Taylor.

There's some evidence to Monroe's encounter with Crawford. The actress began to see psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson towards the end of her life. In taped transcripts of Monroe's sessions, she admits, "Oh yes, Crawford. We went to Joan’s bedroom. Crawford had a gigantic orgasm and shrieked like a maniac... Next time I saw Crawford, she wanted another round... after I turned her down, she became spiteful."

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Katharine Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Secretly Gay, Bisexual, Or Queer Stars Of Golden Era Hollywood
Photo: MGM

Katharine Hepburn is perhaps the most renowned actress in the history of Hollywood, with four Academy Award wins over a 60-year career. In 1999, she was named the Greatest Female American Screen Legend by the American Film Institute. Is it safe to assume Hepburn wouldn't have had anywhere near the same success in old Hollywood if the truth came out about her sexual orientation?

By several accounts, Hepburn's 25-year relationship with frequent co-star Spencer Tracy was more about friendship than sexual attraction. Screenwriter and gay rights activist Larry Kramer said of the famous couple, "Hepburn and Spencer Tracy were both gay. They were publicly paired together by the studio. Everyone in Hollywood knows this is true, but of course I haven't seen it printed anywhere."

Known for her boyish attire, Hepburn did have an interest in men, but seemed to favor women. Over a 50-year period, Hollywood pimp Scotty Bowers claims he set the siren up with 150 women. He said she would see them once or twice and then "tire of them."

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