Jul 30, 2013

Ray Sharkey: Everybody's Boyfriend

I chanced upon the name "Ray Sharkey" by accident, and did a cursory search on ebay.  Surprise -- he was in about a dozen movies in the 1980s that show him with his hands all over a guy. I've never seen any of them, but they look like they're prime material for seeking out gay subtexts. One even goes all the way into text.

Willie and Phil (1980): two bohemians, a jazz musician and a fashion photographer (Sharkey and Michael Ontkean, who played the gay guy in Making Love),  triangulate their romance through a girl.

The Idolmaker (1980): a songwriter (Sharkey) falls for. . .um, I mean offers to manage Paul Land (left), and later Peter Gallagher. Even the reviews talk about an intense gay subtext.

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989): Chauffeur (Sharkey) and houseboy (Robert Beltran) wager on who can seduce the other's employer first, and end up having sex with each other.  There's also a brief homoerotic scene with Barret Oliver as the teenage son.

Wired (1989): An angelic messenger (Sharkey) takes the deceased John Belushi (Michael Chiklis) to various moments in his life.

The Neon Empire (1989): Jewish mafioso Junior Molof (Sharkey) and his boyfried Vic (Dylan McDermott) build a casino in Las Vegas.

How is it that I never heard of this guy before?

In real life he had two wives and lots of female partners.  Of course, he may have had male partners also.  When he was diagnosed with AIDS, he kept it a secret at first, and later claimed that he was exposed through intravenous drug use.

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