Apr 7, 2015

Maxwell Caulfield: Responding to Gay Rumors with Homophobia

Have you heard of Maxwell Caulfield?  During my senior year in college, he was being hailed the Next Big Thing.

Born in Scotland, Caulfield moved to London at age 15 and became a nude dancer at the infamous Windmill Cinema.  At age 18, he came to the U.S., and quickly got cast in the gay-themed stage farce Hotrock Hotel (1978), then the gay-themed Entertaining Mr. Sloane (1981), by Joe Orton.

In 1982, he won out over thousands of hopefuls to star in the sequel to Grease, the most popular movie musical of all time.

Grease 2 premiered in June 1982 to a huge hype campaign.

The box office wasn't exactly miserable, but it didn't match expectations by a long shot.

Singing "Rock-a-Hula Luau" was not exactly helpful to Caulfield's career.

In the homophobic 1980s, the gay rumors didn't help, either.

He starred in a few horrible-sounding tv movies, such as Electric Dreams (1984), about a guy and a computer both in love with the same woman, and The Supernaturals (1986), about an army of dead Confederate soldiers still fighting the Civil War.

And The Boys Next Door (1985), an intensely homphobic movie in which a straight guy (Caulfield) is lured into a mass-murder spree by his closeted-gay friend (future jerk Charlie Sheen) go on a killing spree because, of course, gay people are all psycho killers waiting to happen.

It could also be read as a commentary on Caulfield's career: "Look, I was lured into playing those gay roles by evil gay producers.  It's not my fault."

He spent two years playing Miles Colby in the Dynasty spin-off The Colbys (1985-87).

Then it was back to bad, ridiculous, or homophobic movies.

Mind Games (1989): a couple goes camping, and encounters a psycho (Colby) who has sinister designs on their son.

Dance with Death (1992); Murders at a strip club.

Animal Instincts (1992): Porn.

He's been more successful on stage, with starring roles in Joe Orton's Loot, Tryst, Cactus Flower, female impersonator Charles Busch's Our Leading Lady, and Chicago.