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Paul Newman meets Marlon Brando
Paul Newman (b. 1925) was a movie star so impossibly attractive that all the most famous faces of Hollywood, both male and female, wanted to bed him. He complied enthusiastically.
In spite of being a married man with three children, Newman had affairs with Marlon Brando, James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Anthony Perkins, Sal Mineo, John Derek and Steve McQueen, among many others. Women were not neglected, and he managed to bed Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and Jacqueline Kennedy. As well, he had affairs with most of his leading ladies, apparently giving Marlon Brando a run for his money. Brando was a little touchy on the subject. I forget which web site revealed this tantalizing tidbit:
In Porter’s 2009 biography Paul Newman: The Man Behind the Baby Blues, Marlon Brando commented about Newman’s bisexuality. Porter interviewed Brando before his death in 2004, and relates this quote from Marlon: "He never fooled me. Paul Newman had just as many on-location affairs as the rest of us, and he was just as bisexual as I was. But, where I was always getting caught with my pants down, he managed to do it in the dark."
Hmmm. Most of us think of Paul Newman as the actor faithfully married to Joanne Woodward, a generous benefactor responsible for distributing millions of dollars in food for starving, homeless children. Thanks to the people at Kindle (can’t wait until they ship my Fire in a few days), sixty seconds later I found myself reading about those Baby Blues. It turns out he had three children by a previous wife, whom he ignored, leaving her home alone to raise the kids while he was out all night participating in a sexual olympics.
There was more homosexual activity than hetero- in Newman’s early years, although at times he hated himself for his gay proclivities. The rest of his life was lived trying to suppress these homosexual urges, knowing what a detriment it could be to a high profile acting career. However, he continued to participate in homosexual activity well into the 1970s. Gay porn star Cal Culverclaimed that he was the last man to have sex with Newman.
Newman idolized Marlon Brando and plotted to meet him. After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, Newman enrolled in the all-male Kenyon College (Ohio) at age 21, with plenty of gay sexual experience under his belt (going back to his high school days). When one of his professors returned to the school after a field trip to Broadway, he was told that Brando’s performance in A Streetcar Named Desire was a not-to-be-missed sensation. Newman hopped a train to NYC and checked into the YMCA, planning to take in as many Broadway shows as he could before his cash ran out. The closest he could get to Brando was a standing room ticket.
Newman was floored, totally swept away by Brando’s performance. He went backstage, but was not successful in getting to meet his instant idol. Newman foreswore any other Broadway shows, returning every night (with better seats) to see Brando’s mesmerizing performance. He hatched a plot to meet him. Having read that Brando rode his motorcycle around the city every night after his performance, Newman searched the alleys behind the theater until he spotted a motorcycle. An hour after the curtain, Brando appeared, and Paul nervously confronted his prey with a well-rehearsed line: “Mr. Brando, you’re the greatest thing since God granted men the right to cum.”
Worked like a charm. Next thing you know, Brando was saying, “Now get your fucking cute little ass over here and plop it down on my cycle. I’m going to take you on a tour of the midnight sights of Manhattan.”
According to Carlo Fiore, Brando’s longtime companion, Brando later boasted, “I fucked the kid in all known positions. He even inspired me to some new ones. The kid even resembles me. It was as if I was fucking my younger self, even though he’s just a few years younger than me. Of course, by the time he got on that train back to Ohio, he’d fallen madly in love with me.”
Back at school, Newman wrote Brando a fan letter every week. None was ever answered. Even so, once Newman returned to college, he changed his major to Drama, and the next big change in his life came when he won a spot at Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio in NYC, where he became caught up in an affair with fellow student James Dean.
But Brando continued to haunt his life. They looked so much alike that throughout the 1950s people came up to Paul mistaking him for Marlon and asked for his autograph. Paul obliged. Even though he had a wife and two children, Paul started an affair with actress Kim Stanley, who herself had earlier had a sexual relationship with Brando. According to one of Kim’s many other lovers, the relationship between Paul and Kim ended like this. Once, when they were having sex, she called out “Marlon,” and Newman became furious. He leapt out of bed, put on his clothes and stormed out after they argued. Kim said. “Don’t judge me. I’m trying to get over Brando. You look like him – you can help me get over him. You don’t know what it’s like to get fucked by Marlon Brando.”
Newman replied, “You’re wrong about that. I know exactly what it feels like to get fucked by Marlon Brando.”
Paul had a few other brushes with famous people at the start of his career. When Newman encountered Monty Clift leaving his agent’s office, Clift brazenly came on to him, clasping his hands (and not letting go) and asking for his phone number. Monty gushed, “Where has God’s gift been hiding all my life? It’s not every day I meet a man who’s handsomer than I am.” Monty then kissed Paul on the lips and headed out. Monty’s brother Brooks said that Paul complained about how rough Monty was in bed. “When Monty kisses, he doesn’t do it with love, but to hurt you. You come away with a bloody mouth. When I wake up in bed with him, I find myself battered and bruised. He sure likes to be the dominant one. And just when you want to kick him out, he looks up at you with those soulful eyes, and you melt.”
Shelley Winters blabbed that she once had a three-way with Brando and Newman. She later told her lover John Ireland, “In the 40s I had a three-way with Gable and Flynn; in the 50s I sampled Newman and Brando together. I can’t wait to see what the 60s will bring.”
Frank Sinatra once invited Newman to join him and Marilyn Monroe in a three-way, but first Sinatra had to feel him out, wanting to be sure Paul “was into girls.” Sinatra said he had gotten mixed reports about Newman’s proclivities. He told Newman, “Marilyn and I agree you’re one cute guy. I told her I’d fuck you myself if I were into boys.” Paul was incredulous. Sinatra continued. “Well, even the Caesars liked a little diversion. I slipped a peek and saw your naked ass bobbing up and down while you fucked that two-bit whore last time. It looked mighty tempting.”
Paul Newman Meets James Dean
At the Actors Studio in NYC, James Dean introduced himself to Newman and came on to him in a direct way, suggesting that the two of them play a love scene in front of the students, saying that they’d “set the studio on fire.” Paul was taken aback. He told Dean, “Hey pal, let’s slow down. Where I come from, we like to work up to things.”
They didn't play a love scene, but Dean had his way with him, and it was 6:00 am when Paul boarded the Staten Island Ferry back to his apartment, where he was living with his wife and son. Because Dean bragged about his conquests to his lover/patron Rogers Brackett, we are handed down this story of their first tryst. It was not the last.
Dean told Brackett, “I fucked him, he fucked me, and I taught him to swallow my spit, just like you do. One night I got him to fuck me in the doorway of an abandoned building in the meat-packing district. Sex is all the more exciting when it’s done in a dangerous public space.”
Dean soon explained to Newman that he was a “kept boy” and took him to the posh apartment he shared with Brackett. During the next three weeks a volcano of lust erupted between the two. Paul Newman fell head over heels, and Dean was fully in charge of their relationship. Dean made Newman wear a red baseball cap to match his own, so that people would see them as a pair. Paul complied willingly. Paul was seen on the West Coast wearing that red cap even after Dean’s untimely death.
Echoing the experience with Shelley Winters and Brando, Eartha Kitt once bedded Dean and Newman after a dance lesson. “I had both of them that afternoon, and I came to the conclusion that white boys are so delicious. That time back in my dance studio ranks as one of the most celestial experiences of my life. Those two beauties transported me to heaven. I never knew that lovemaking could be so beautiful.”
It was awkward that often Dean and Newman were up for the same part. Kazan’s asked them to take a joint screen test (photo below) for East of Eden, and Paul was devastated when Dean got the part of Caleb. Newman begged to be given a lesser role in the film – any role – but no offer was forthcoming. But Newman’s greatest humiliation was losing the role of Danny in Battle Cry to Tab Hunter. “Losing out to James Dean was one thing, but how could I ever live down losing a role to Tab Hunter?”
Paul’s impossibly handsome face made life complicated for a family man. Rod Steiger said, “He was the Golden Boy of Broadway. Hell, he was so fucking beautiful. Everybody wanted him, and he was willing to share with both men and women. Paul was so pretty I would have fucked him if he asked me to, and I’m about the straightest actor in the business.”
Eventually Newman decided to abandon his wife and two children for Hollywood. He signed a Warner Brothers contract for $1000 a week, enough to buy a motorcycle to match the one James Dean road up and down the coast in Santa Monica and Malibu. On weekends the two would get off their bikes, strip naked and frolic in the surf, followed by lovemaking by moonlight on the sand. Dean told all the lurid details to his sugar daddy, Rogers Brackett, to fuel his jealousy. Dean and Newman also spent many wild weekends in Tijuana.
Dean pushed Newman into moving into the Chateau Marmont, where Paul met Tony Perkins lounging by the pool the very first day of his residence. This was the start of a friendship and decades-long love affair.
Paul Newman meets Anthony Perkins
Twenty-nine-year-old Paul Newman was working on his first Hollywood film, The Silver Chalice (1954), when he moved into an apartment at the Chateau Marmont, where James Dean was also a resident. On his first afternoon there, Paul was relaxing by the pool when he was approached by Anthony Perkins, who introduced himself as Tony. According to Maila Nurmi, a long-time friend and confidante of Tony’s, Perkins told her that the two found themselves in bed within minutes of meeting. For the next few weeks they were engaged in an intensely sexual relationship. Welcome to the neighborhood.
Perkins was a handsome, tortured homosexual who really wanted to be straight. Newman was bisexual, but was like a kid in a candy store, sampling whatever satisfied his sweet tooth, be it male or female. Perkins and Newman never intended to become a couple, but they were both sexually adventurous. Perkins was also involved at the time with Tab Hunter and Robert Francis. In fact, most of the twenty-something male Hollywood stars were all sleeping with each other, but Newman was the only one married with three kids at the time.
Newman began his relationship with Joanne Woodward as an affair during his marriage to first wife Jackie. Even after Newman married Joanne, he and Perkins kept up a decades-long on-again, off-again relationship. Thirteen years later Perkins would have his first sexual experience with a woman, Victoria Principal, oddly while co-starring in a film with Newman,The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. It must have been quite a reunion for Perkins, working with former flame Newman as well as Tab Hunter. I forgot to mention Roddy McDowall was in the cast, as well; the actors' cafeteria must have been like a gay bar. Perkins was 39 years old. Although Perkins went on to marry and have children, he died tragically from AIDS in 1990 at age sixty.
There were awkward times when the two were up for the same parts. Perkins was suggested by Alfred Hitchcock himself for the male lead in Torn Curtain, but Universal Studios preferred box-office champ Paul Newman. Perkins was devastated.
One big happy family (photo below):
Anthony Perkins, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward star in WUSA (1970)
It is a tantalizing fact that Paul Newman, Anthony Perkins and Joanne Woodward all starred together in WUSA (A Hall of Mirrors) in 1970. Co-producer Paul Newman called it "the most significant film I've ever made and the best." Critics disagreed. The film is about a New Orleans radio station (WUSA) involved in a right-wing conspiracy. It culminates with a riot and stampede at a patriotic pep-rally when an assassin on a catwalk opens fire.
Have a look (clip below).
Paul Newman meets Steve McQueen
"I thought Newman was arrogant.
When I finally got him into bed, I taught him who the man was."
– Steve McQueen on Paul Newman
They first met on the set of Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956, rooftop photo below). McQueen approached Newman and propositioned him after engaging in crude, even insulting banter. Newman later told his friend Janice Rule that as they ended their conversation, McQueen planted a wet, sloppy kiss on him. With tongue.
Thus began a rivalrous relationship that was frequently acrimonious. McQueen turned down Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) because he wouldn’t accept second billing to Newman. The two fought like cats and dogs over the positioning of their names on the movie poster for Towering Inferno (1974). McQueen was a brash liar, but Newman found himself strangely attracted to him, and there was obvious sexual tension between the two. But Paul was also having a sexual relationship with Sal Mineo at the time, and Mineo had fallen madly in love with him and wanted to live together as a couple. When Paul rejected that offer, Mineo attempted suicide.
By this time Newman had moved his mistress, Joanne Woodward, into the Chateau Marmont. If those walls could talk. Christopher Isherwood called on Paul and Joanne. Gore Vidal was a resident on a different floor (as a cover, Woodward considered marrying Vidal to further the future of his race for the U.S. presidency). Marilyn Monroe once knocked on Newman’s door with a bottle of champagne and got lucky, since Paul was alone that afternoon. Grace Kelly hit on him at the Chateau Marmont – it was Newman who felt lucky that day.
Photo: Rivals McQueen and Newman spar on the rooftop in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)
When a friend took Newman to task for using a clean-cut image to hide a calculating, black heart, Paul had to listen to a life assessment as one of betrayal, deceit and lies. His friend suggested that Woodward had no inkling of the nefarious activity Paul was up to. Newman replied, “You’re right. Secretly I’m a devil. I can be a very, very bad boy.”
About this time Newman developed a serious man crush on Robert Wagner, but it did not turn sexual. Two later crushes (Robert Redford and Tom Cruise) also ended with similar results. Fortunately Newman was able to satisfy his need for man-on-man sex with McQueen, who was still hitting on him. Once Newman agreed to meet Steve in a cheap hotel in Long Beach, where McQueen said, “I’ve got every horny woman in Hollywood trying to get me to fuck her. I need a break, a different kind of action now and then. You’re the kind of change I have in mind.” This sort of clandestine activity between the Hollywood rivals went on for years.
Just around the corner was one of Newman’s great cinematic triumphs, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), in which he plays a repressed homosexual by the name of Brick. James Dean was lined up for the role, but he died in a car crash before production began. In the film version, the direct homosexual references were removed from the Tennessee Williams script in order to satisfy then current production codes. The film script dances around the reasons Brick and Cat (Elizabeth Taylor) haven’t slept together in years, but mention of the suicide of Brick’s close football chum Skipper is retained.
Newman told Tennessee Williams, "The role of Brick is perfect for me. All my life I've been split into two different directions. One side of me wants to live life with my gay football buddy Skipper, the other side is tempted to fuck the living shit out of Maggie the Cat and be the heterosexual stud most of my fans want me to be."
Hollywood insiders divulge that Elvis Presley was considered for the part of Brick, and that Elvis and Paul got together to talk about it. Elvis asked about Newman’s friendship with James Dean. Newman swore that Elvis told him, “I’ll make a confession. I’m about the straightest dude that ever walked the planet. But if that fucker ever called me, I’d come running. I guess you’d say I have an obsession with Dean.”
Faye Dunaway tries to keep the rivals apart in Towering Inferno (1974)Well, honestly. The next time I go shopping for salad dressing, it won't be the image of starving children that comes to mind.
What lies beneath…
Al Parker and Bob Bishop. Yum!
Image via Tick