Who did the early 20th-century gays idolize?\
Clara Bow? Mae West? Mary Pickford?\
Who was the most beautiful, talented, strong or tragic? Who was all four?\
Why are they forgotten?
oh god, give it up op.
I''d say Clara Bow and maybe Theda Bara... I think Mary Pickford could do it all.
Drag parties where all the guests dressed up like Lou Henry Hoover were the rage in smart gay circles.%0D\
Going back slightly further, it was Sarah Bernhardt all the way. The gays loved her.
I found a stash of movie magazine clippings and postcards in the basement of my work. Most of them are pre-1920. Most are from 1915-18. And I noticed an unusual amount of clippings about Lottie Pickford, Mary''s party-girl sister. I looked her up and it appears her films are lost or destroyed. \
Anyway, I imagined that some 1900''s gay guy clipped them out and saved them because who else would see the value of America''s sweetheart''s Hell-cat sister.
Don''t forget Zasu Pitts!
My name is Jean Harlot, the ''t'' is silent.
Miss Greta Garbo was ominipotent in this era. She was almost Christ like in her impact, with Fellini later declaring her "the foundress of that religious order we now know as cinema".
Tallulah dahling, but she''s not forgotten.
Quentin Crisp saw Tallulah on the London stage, I believe in the late 20s.
Barbara La Marr - but she OD''d.
Clara actually was beautiful, talented, and tragic.\
Mae and Mary were strong.\
Older films, let alone silents, just aren''t appreciated by the last few generations.
You''d be surprised at how many young people do, actually watch old films. Still the minority but it is happening.
25 year old who loves Pickford and Mabel Normand
Good call, r17. She and Valentino had an entire episode dedicated to them in the classic documentary "Hollywood"!\
Here you my dears:
Was reading about Barbara La Marr. She seemed to be pretty famous during her time but is really not known today (other than Hedy Lamar being named after her).
Maud Adams. The actress whom Somewhere In Time was based on. %0D\
However, when I read about her, it looks to me like she was a lesbian. Very interesting woman.
Tallulah was popular with lesbians earlier in her career, gay men later on.\
Alla Nazimova was loved by the gays, as was Valentino.
Alla Nazimova. The one true Gay Icon og the 1920''s.
Faye Templeton was the bee''s knees on Broadway in the 20''s and 30''s!
wrong, R26. Laurette was lost at the bottom of a gin bottle during these decades. Nobody gave a shit about her.
Those silent stars had the most amazing names: Vilma Banky, Pola Negri, Natacha Rambova. Alla Nazimova....
Rod LaRoque is a terrific porn name.
Enid ignored me. *sniff*
R23, crying as I type
Didn''t Tallulah say Pola was "a lying lezbo, a Polish publicity hound -- bald as a billiard cue, with a moustache to boot!"
I agree, R30. Vilma Banky is my favorite. It seems to capture that time so well.
Damn, R33, I am soory. I missed that. In any event, what you say we crack a bottle of good wine and watch "Salome?"
Good Lord you are all off the charts. Valentino was certainly idolized as was Wallace Reid, but it was Dietrich who took the prize.
Older than dirt
Suzanne Lenglen and Helen Wills.
Opera singer Geraldine Farrar was the most famous Diva of the 1920''s.
r18 thank you for posting that documentary. I stayed up up well into the night watching it. I think I remember seeing it as a youth. %0D\
Adela Rogers St. Johns was hilarious! Hard to believe but I don''t know if she''s ever been discussed here. What was her story? Was she a gossip columnist in the 20s? %0D\
What is the gorgeous theme music that is used with the opening and closing credits? I''ll be embarrassed if it''s something classic and famous. Beautifully edited clips!
R18: Thanks for posting that. I know nothing about Gloria Swanson except Sunset Blvd. \
I can''t believe she did a scene with a live lion that she let lie on her back!\
Zak, banging the same ole drum...
r29, have the prickly hairs on the back of your neck stood up yet? Wait for it... that''s her.
R18: Just finished watching the clips.\
Annoying who they so strenuously heterosexualize Valentino.
If you''ve never seen it, Nazimova''s "Salome" really is pretty amazing. Supposedly Nazimova hired an all-gay cast for her stylized, experimental film based on the Aubrey Beardsley illustrations for Oscar Wilde''s play. One of the actors was interviewed years later and asked whether that was true. He said they weren''t ALL gay, but yes most of the cast was either gay or bi.\
To me the stills always looked sort of silly but when you see it in motion, with the lighting and costumes, it''s as striking as anything from German or Russian silent films.
Another thanks to R18 for the link.%0D\
Swanson had the oddest face. She''s not pretty at all, but I''ve never seen anyone else who looked like her. Even when she''s young, she looks 50.
It is possible that more than one was idolized. In fact I think that is the case here.
But actually watching all those clips of Valentino, both in films and newsreels, I''d have to say he didn''t really ping for me. %0D\
I was also surprised to realize how very short his fame lasted (1921-1926) and how few films he made once his stardom was established....it sounded like far less than a dozen.
An actress who probably would have been one of the major divas of the twenties was Olive Thomas. She was astonishingly beautiful (her pictures don't always convey this), lived a wild life and died young from a drug overdose. %0D
She came from humble beginnings in Pittsburgh. She left school at 15 to help support her family. She went to stay with a family friend in NY and worked in a department store. She answered a newspaper ad and entered a "Most Beautiful Girl In New York" contest and won. After that she became an artist's model and eventually a Ziegfield Follies girl. Alberto Vargas did a famous painting of her where she was nude from the waist up, with a rose in one hand and the other hand caressing her breast. %0D
She was a popular star in silent films and had signed a contract with Selznick Picture Company. She was the first actress to be described as a "flapper." It appeared that she was one her way to becoming one of the biggest film stars of her era. %0D
She was known as being wild, getting a reputation for her unrestrained partying and drinking and sleeping around. She married Jack Pickford, Mary's brother. Jack Pickford was a worthless piece of shit, but they both share a love of booze and hell-raising.%0D
They were on a vacation in Paris and had spent most of the night partying and getting sloshed. They got home at 3:00; sometime during the night Olive took mercury bichloride (which had been prescribed for her husband for his chronic syphillis) from the medicine cabinet and injested it. The rumors were rampant: how could that happen? Supposedly she took pills, an overdose of them. Then it was said she took it in liquid form from a flask she assumed had water or sleeping pills in it. Who gets water from a flask in a medicine cabinet? And why would sleeping pills be in liquid form? Was she she drunk she just grabbed something and drank from it? Did she drink the stuff of purpose to commit suicide? To this day, it's not know exactly what happened.%0D
She didn't die quickly. She lasted a few days; it was a slow, painful death. The mercury bichloride burned through her vocal chords rendering her mute. She went blind. And finally died, aged 25, on the brink of major movie stardom. %0D
R54, that was nice until you think about the last portion of her life. If there is one thing that Mae Murray has taught us is to never let a partner/spouse dictate your career. Really sad watching that. But then I watch the video of Marion Davies imitating her and the sadness goes away.
Of course there were many great stars of that era- but you should know that the word "diva" was used pretty exclusively for supremely gifted female opera singers. It is only recenlty that the word is being tossed around for celebrities, even those with little talent.
The word "superstar" started to come into use in the press after a cover story on Barbra Streisand in Newsweek in 1970 with a glamour shot of her and the heading "Superstar" on the cover. She was called this at that time because of her unique success in all media and settings- stage, screen, recording, television, concert... and because of her huge talent. The word diva was not applied to her until much later.
Garbo, Hepburn, Davis would all be divas of the 1930s using the 2013 meaning of the word. Even Rudolf Valentino would quality using today's definition.
If you'd be willing to go back another ten years, and make it the most popular and beloved stage actress... that would be Maude Adams.
Wonderful human being and terrific actress. (Actress that Somewhere In Time was loosely based on. Her agent was the famous one -Charles Frohman- that went down on the Lusitania.) Maude was the original Greta Garbo. She kept her life very private, but was known to be incredibly kind and generous. When she passed away, the clues were all there that she was gay.
Forgot to link to Maud Adams info and pictures ....
I think her story would make a wonderful movie