Dec 10, 2017

11 Reasons John Smith Was Probably Gay

Not the animated Pilgrim of Pocahontas, the beefcake actor fondly remembered by the first generation of Baby Boomers as the star of Laramie (1959-63). 

1. He was a shy, sensitive, artistic child.  He appeared in the choir in Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary's (1945).

2. He signed on with casting agent Henry Willson, who single-handedly started the beefcake fad of the 1950s.  Willson filled studios with gay, bi, and gay-for-pay hunks: Ty Hardin, Rock Hudson, John Saxon, Dack Rambo, Farley Granger. His all-male Sunday afternoon parties were legendary.

Wilson also named him "John Smith."  Rather a serious lack of creativity.

3. Laramie aired on Tuesday nights amid a profusion of Westerns, it is distinctive for the strong gay subtext between the two cowboys, Slim (John Smith) and Jess (Robert Fuller).

4. It also starred Spring Byington, a lesbian actress who is best known for the sitcom December Bride.  Not a romantic interest for either of the male characters.

More after the break

5.  John Smith and Robert Fuller became close friends off-camera.

6. Actually, Smith had a lot of male friends, including Jeff Richards, Randolph Mantooth, James Drury, and gay actor Anthony Perkins, who accompanied him on the rounds of Hollywood parties, nightclubs, premieres, and so on.  He also invited them out for days of camping in the woods.

7. Days and nights of camping in the woods.

8. Where he took off his shirt a lot.

9. In 1964, when he was working with John Wayne on Circus World (about a circus in the Old West), Smith had a falling-out with director Henry Hathaway, who tried to get him black-balled in Hollywood (but he continued to work through the 1970s).  Hathaway was irascible and, by all accounts, rather homophobic.

10.  Smith also had lady friends. He was even married for four years.

Here Smith, Robert Fuller, and Lance Fuller (no relation) get hamburgers in 1955 with two lady friends:

Natalie Wood, who  had relationships with many gay men.

And Jayne Mansfield, who was married to Paul Mansfield at the time.

11. Lance Fuller was gay, too, but that's a subject for another post.


  1. Whoops, I had to change it to "Eleven reasons." Turns out that the third guy in that photo was Lance Fuller, a gay beefcake actor.

  2. My guess is he's bi, but what about Robert Fuller?


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