Friday, June 01, 2007

Conversations with My Elders

from the diary: “Wednesday 1/6/88”

Yesterday I quoted the first part of this paragraph. The second of “my two latest reads” would be “Conversations with My Elders -- interviews with (now deceased) figures in entertainment who were gay – George Cukor, Rock Hudson, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and others. Conducted by Boze Hadleigh. I wonder how you pronounce his name?”

At the time I read Hadleigh’s book of interviews I didn’t really know much about his interview subjects. Have I even seen a Rock Hudson movie yet? If I have, it’s slipped my mind. So I can’t say as I know much more about the folks Hadleigh talked to. I liked reading interviews, though.

There seems to be some skepticism about the authenticity of the interviews. Are these old Hollywood hands really going to divulge details of their personal lives to a stranger, even a pretty young man who promises not to publish the interview until after the subject’s death? The entry on Hadleigh at Wikipedia addresses this gently, “Hadleigh cites powerful personal or Hollywood connections that helped him to contact the interviewees. However, his books do not feature photographs of him with his subjects nor did he have tape recordings of his interviews.”

I found two of Hadleigh’s celebrity interviews online -- one with Sal Mineo and one with Jodie Foster.

In the interview with Foster Hadleigh never asks outright if she’s gay, though when he first hints at the subject she insists she doesn’t talk about her “sexuality”. Curiously, “it wouldn’t make sense.” Here’s some back-and-forth at the interview’s end:

Hadleigh: Rumors … linked you romantically to Kelly McGillis, your co-star in 'The Accused.'

Foster: There are always rumors. Um, Kelly has since been married. Nowadays, people wonder which side of the fence you're on until you get married.

Hadleigh: And often afterward. In the past, gay performers, such as Rock Hudson, married straight for the sake of their screen images.

Foster: Yeah, and that goes on today. I think marriage should be based on love, but in Hollywood it's really based on what it does for your career. I also think marriage doesn't mean obtaining a contract. The length and quality of the relationship is what matters.

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