#2. Rock Hudson
Rock Hudson was the epitome of the straight, masculine movie star of the '50s and '60s. Urban legend holds that in his prime, Rock was so handsome that one out of every 10 American men turned gay just by looking at his movie posters. Rock was so manly that when he visited the Australian Outback as a toddler, he devoured no fewer than five dingos. Rock had so much testosterone that once when he was playing Battleship, his aircraft carrier spontaneously grew a penis. Also, Rock was super gay.
That's right, you'd have to travel back five decades to find someone prettier than Cracked's own Soren Bowie.
The Case for Gayness
There's not much argument on this one. Rock lived most of his life as the quintessential closeted movie star. He also did it kind of badly, because according to some colleagues, Hudson's homosexuality was well known in Hollywood. Former co-stars Elizabeth Taylor, Susan Saint James and Carol Burnett all claimed they knew of his homosexual activity. Still, he maintained the public lie until his AIDS diagnosis brought public attention to the disease and his orientation. How devoted was he to being closeted? Even in this clip where he's portraying a straight man pretending to be gay, he's super bad at it. After all, you don't want to be too convincing.
The Women Landed Anyway
But when you look like Rock, I'm guessing it's just kind of hard to go too long without vagina finding you. Yes, there was his marriage to Phyllis Gates, which lasted three years. But by many accounts that was a publicity stunt to quell the gay rumors. Gates was Hudson's agent's secretary.
But former B-movie bombshell Mamie Van Doren also insists that Rock proved to her he was "at least bisexual." You can read about it here. Oh, apparently, Rock had pretty impressive genitalia, too. Thanks for the heads up, Mamie! Now please play mahjong or join a book club like a normal old lady.
Alright, I couldn't find the names of that many women Rock slept with, but this one counts for like 10, right?
#1. William Shakespeare
If you don't know who William Shakespeare is, I can explain, briefly, that he was the greatest culinary expert ever to compete on Iron Chef. If you do know Shakespeare, however, then, of course, that's wrong. Also, if you seriously don't know Shakespeare, please don't Google it now. You'll be stuck with the horrible reality that you had to use the Internet to find out about the greatest poet and playwright of the English language solely to gain context for dick jokes.
Case for Gayness/Ladies Landed Anyway
You'll notice I've kind of merged my two categories for this one. Why? Because, I'll admit it, there's no good reason to flat out call William Shakespeare gay -- unless he's just about to shoot a free throw in a really close basketball game and you're hoping to psych him out. By all accounts, pure notions of "straight" and "gay" didn't exist in Elizabethan England. In any event, rather than using this fifth entry to list celebrities who led purely gay lives with one sham marriage or one accidental straight fling, I thought it would be more fun to spend time talking about where the greatest literary mind the world has ever known put his penis.
"If I told you everywhere my proud member hast been, it would bloweth thy mind."
There's no shortage of speculation on Shakespeare's sexuality, and gay academics are more eager to claim him than Cracked.com is to make lists about animals that can totally kill you. Often quoted as "proof" of his gay lifestyle is the nebulous line in his will leaving his wife, Anne Hathaway, his second-best bed. Man, what a gay burn! Hissssssss!
Of course, on the other hand, it's widely believed that Shakespeare wrote the adoring Sonnet 145 for his wife, with the wonderfully poetic "'I hate' from hate away she threw/And saved my life, saying 'not you.'" But it should also be noted that he left his family after three years of marriage and ran away to London to spend every night hanging out in bawdy theaters with common folk and thespians. According to one contemporary, Shakespeare even had a tryst with a female admirer during a performance of Richard III.
But what of the gayness, you say? (By the way, I hope you were alone when you said that, because if you just blurted that out in a Subway sandwich shop, there could be questions.) If you search the Web, you will see all sorts of gay interpretations to his sonnets and plays, and there's no way to list them all here. Indeed, some contend that 126 of his sonnets are addressed to a man often referred to as "Fair Lord." Personally, I'm pretty fond of reading Sonnet 71 in a gay way. And by that, I don't mean with a histrionic lisp. Grow up! Sonnet 71 contains advice from a dying man to his lover regarding how to behave after his death. Here's some English dude reading it.
It ends with the famous couplet:
"Lest the wise world should look into your moan/And mock you with me after I am gone."
It seems hard to believe these lines could be addressed to a widow. Who mocks a widow for mourning her dead husband? So imagining the beloved as a gay lover is a good call. Then again, so is an unfaithful wife having an affair with a now-dead guy, so, y'know.
Ultimately, odds are pretty good that Shakespeare had both straight and gay sex. After all, he worked in theater. Of course he did. There's straight, gay, bi, transgender and a distinct fifth category that still thrives today known as "theater whore." I'm going out on a limb and placing him there.
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