Mar 6, 2016

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe started his career as one of the slim, androgynous prettyboys who populated the 1980s (others included Tom Cruise, Peter Barton, Corey Haim, and John Stamos).  He played a teenage father in an Afterschool Special; he was in the small-town Angst drama The Outsiders (1983), along with every other young-adult hunk in Hollywood (Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, Tom Cruise, even Leif Garrett).

He played a teenage operator who buddy-bonds with the naive Andrew McCarthy in Class (1983).

He did the "Yank skewers the pretentions of stuffy Brits" thing in Oxford Blues (1984).

There was some buddy-bonding, some homophobic slurs, lots of shirtless, underwear, towel, and jockstrap shots.

He was widely rumored to be gay.  My friend Mario claims that they dated, or at least had sex a few times, in the spring of 1981.  But Rob doesn't mention any same-sex activity in either of his autobiographies.

Millions of heterosexual girls and gay boys had his poster on their bedroom walls (Corey Haim's Sam had this one in The Lost Boys).   

So far, not much different from the other slim, androgynous prettyboys of the 1980s.

Then something happened that changed Rob Lowe's life and career forever.  During the Democratic National Convention in 1988, Rob had sex with two women, one of them underage. A film of the act appeared, along with some footage of Rob and a friend having sex with another woman in Paris.  It was blurry and grainy, but you could see more than enough.  Rob Lowe at his most intimate.

The scandal rocked his career, forever marking him as  dangerous, deviant, and overtly sexual.  You knew things about him that you didn't about any other celebrity.

Rob capitalized on his new aura of danger in Bad Influence (1990), luring a yuppie (James Spader) onto the Dark Side, and The Dark Backward (1991), a dark comedy about a pair of garbage collectors who want to become standup comics.  Eventually he moved on, starring in a TV version of the gay-themed classic Suddenly, Last Summer (1993), and playing one of the "good guy" survivors of the plague, the deaf Nick Andros, in an adaption of Stephen King's The Stand  (1994).

A fixture on television in the 2000s, Rob Lowe has never played a gay character, though he has played many gay-subtext relationships.  Politically conservative, he is not a strong gay ally.

See also: Mario's Date or Trick with Rob Lowe; Justin Morrit, the Guy Who Shared Rob Lowe.

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