Sunday, 15 April 2018

Remembering Clark Gable

Remembering Clark Gable...
Shortly after I published Clark Gable: Tormented Star, a Rudolph Valentino fanatic got in touch with Judy Lewis, the illegitimate daughter of Gable and Loretta Young. Ms. Lewis took great exception to some of the things I had written about her father, including a piece about his "gay-for-pay" period, within which I quoted directly from Joan Crawford.

I was not the first to repeat the anecdote of how Joan claimed that the silents star William Haines had told her that, such was his desire to get into films, young Clark submitted to Billy's charms in the mensroom at the Bevery Hills Hotel. This was repeated to George Cukor, the director of Gone With The Wind, who himself had been intimate with Haines, nicknamed "Lavender Lips" because he is reputed to have given the best blow-job in Hollywood. Such was Gable's fear of Cukor outing him that he had him fired from the film.

Ms. Lewis was fuming. She had known her father her whole life, she said, and could attest to the fact that he was a "normal man". In other words, in her bigoted opinion, gay men were not normal.

Neither had she known her father her whole life. She met Gable once, with her mother, and only learned that he was her father on the eve of her wedding, some years after his death. She called me "a bastard", which I guess was rich coming from someone who was very definitely born on the wrong side of the blanket. She also called me insensitive, among other things, and speculated about what people might write about me after my death.

I told her, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

Whoosh, dozens of one-star reviews from people with very odd-sounding names began appearing on the social media sites...not so strangely the same names that had slammed my Valentino book. Then Ms. Lewis offered the supreme insult by cashing in her chips on 25 November 2011. This was the anniversary of the death of one very famous gay man she had mocked, Freddie Mercury, and the eve of the anniversary of another gay man who holds a very special place in my heart, Joey Stefano, also hammered by Ms. Lewis.

I ask you! If the lady had any decency at all, she would have curled her toes before or after this date! And those one-star reviews made not one iota of difference, for by the time they appeared, Tormented Star had already entered the 6-figure sales bracket and has rarely been out of the Top 200 in the ten years since his release.

To Ms. Lewis, and on behalf of Clark, Freddie and Joey, I say a heartfelt thank you! I will not include a picture of you, because you do not deserve this.

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