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HOMO HISTORY 101
Paul Lynde (1926 –1982) was an
American comedian and actor. A noted
character actor with a distinctively campy
and snarky persona that often poked fun at
his barely in-the-closet homosexuality, Lynde
was well known for his roles as Uncle Arthur
on Bewitched and the befuddled father Harry
MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie. He was also the
regular "center square" guest on the game
show Hollywood Squares from 1968 to 1981,
and he voiced two Hanna-Barbera productions.
On Hollywood Squares Lynde was best able
to showcase his comedic talents with short,
salty one-liners, delivered in his trademark
Many of these gags were thinly veiled
allusions to his homosexuality. Asked whether
it was against the law in Texas to call a Marine
a "sissy," Lynde quipped, "I guess I’ll have to
take the law into my own hands." Other jokes
relied on double entendre, an alleged fondness
for deviant behaviors, or dealt with touchy
subject matter for 1970s television. Examples
include Q: "Paul, any good boat enthusiast
should know that when a man falls out of
your boat and into the water, you should yell
'Man overboard!' Now what should you yell if
a woman falls overboard?" Lynde: "Full speed
ahead!" Lynde garnered considerable fame and
wealth from the series, appearing a total of 707
times but to the homosexual community, his
reputation was less than stellar. In some ways,
he came to symbolize what's perceived to be a
self-loathing era for gay culture.
Charles Nelson Reilly (1931
–2007) was an American actor, comedian,
director and drama teacher, known for his
comedic roles in stages, films, children's
television and cartoons, and as a game show
panelist. Reilly was perhaps best known as
a fixture of game shows, primarily due to
his appearances as a regular panelist on the
television game show Match Game. Reilly was
one of the longest-running guests, and often
engaged in petty, hilarious arguments with
fellow regular Brett Somers. Reilly typically
offered sardonic commentary and peppered
his answers with homosexually themed
double entendres that pushed the boundaries
of 1970s television standards. Reilly did not
publicly affirm his homosexuality until his
one-man show, Save It for the Stage in 2000.
However, much like fellow game-show regular
Paul Lynde of the same era, Reilly played up a
campy on-screen persona. In many episodes
of Match Game, he would lampoon himself by
briefly affecting a deep voice and the nickname
"Chuck," and self-consciously describing
how "butch" he was. He mentioned in a
2002 interview with Entertainment Tonight
that he felt no need to note this and that he
never purposely hid being gay from anyone.
Patrick Hughes III, a set decorator and dresser,
was Reilly's domestic partner; the two met
backstage while Reilly appeared on the game
show Battlestars. They lived in Beverly Hills.
Merv Griffin (1925 –2007) was an
American television host, musician, actor, and
media mogul. From 1965 to 1986 Griffin hosted
his own talk show, “The Merv Griffin Show.”
He also created the still running game shows
“Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune.” Griffin
kept many details of his personal and business
life private, including his alleged bisexuality,
and other claims that he died a closeted
homosexual. In 1991, he was sued by Deney
Terrio, the host of “Dance Fever,” another show
Mr. Griffin created, alleging sexual harassment.
The same year, Brent Plott, a longtime
employee who worked as a bodyguard,
horse trainer and driver, filed a $200 million
palimony lawsuit. Griffin consistently evaded
answering questions about his sexuality with
a characteristic quip. In a 2005 interview with
The New York Times, he said: “I tell everybody
that I’m a quarter-sexual. I will do anything
with anybody for a quarter.”
Niko Santo Pietro, Vanna White's
son, is in a gay relationship' with an Hare
Krishna. The “Wheel of Fortune” star's son
Nicholas, 21, lives with Hare Krishna monk
Jaycee Akinsanya, 36, in Arizona. The TV star,
worth an estimated $40 million, feared she was
fighting to save her teenage son from being
brainwashed by the monk who was after her
money, but now it transpires that the pair is in
a serious relationship.
If you want to learn more about your gay heritage and those who paved the way, through activism,
sacrifice, courage and civil disobedience to give us a better and freer life you can visit The Stonewall
Museum & Archives in Wilton Manors. We should all know who our gay heroes are and be thankful for
what they did on our behalf.
History was never as straight as we are told.
Recording our history means reporting the truth.
Merv Griffin (right) was allegedly
a bisexual, while some claimed
he might be gay and closeted.
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