Jan 28, 2015

Guys Who Didn't Need to Come Out 1: Joel Grey

In this week's People magazine, Broadway, movie, and tv legend Joel Grey has come out (with the proviso that he disapproves of labels, but if you must, call him "gay").

Why now, at the age of 82?

He began his Broadway career in 1951, with Borscht Capades.  A string of stage successes followed, notably the decadent, epicene Master of Ceremonies in the original Broadway version of Cabaret (1966-1969) and its revival (1987-88), but also George M. Cohan in George M., Amos Hart in Chicago, the Wizard in Wicked, and Moonface Martin in Anything Goes.  A string of characters with no or minimal heterosexual interests.

Plus he starred in the AIDS drama The Normal Heart, and directed the Broadway version.



His  tv career has been even more prolific, spanning 62 years form December Bride to CSI, and on the way Maverick, Ironside, Dallas, Matlock, Oz, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grey's Anatomy, More Tales of the City, The Muppet Show, and Phineas and Ferb.

Again, a string of characters with no or minimal heterosexual interests.

His movies: Man on a Swing, The Seven Percent Solution, Marilyn and Me, Kafka, Dancer in the Dark, and of course the 1972 film version of Cabaret.

And again....


When I lived in West Hollywood, he was a staunch gay ally, a fixture at AIDS Walks and benefits.

He has released 9 albums, including show tunes and covers of the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, and Donovan.  On the cover of  Black Sheep Boy (1969), he is presented as a 1960s flower child (who happens to be in the process of ripping his sweater off, to give nature boys a glimpse of his rather slim, androgynous physique.

So, after such a long, illustrious, and gay-friendly career, who was mistaking him for straight?

See also: Gomer Pyle, Out at 82.