Nine Famous Men Who Are/Were Apparently Not Gay

Jonathan Harris

This weekend brings the annual Gay Pride festivities to West Hollywood, which is arguably the gayest city in the country if not the world. As one of relatively few straight men in WeHo, my preference for women may not be obvious as I walk through "Boys Town" on my way to the public pool. Thus I find myself identifying with Dana Carvey's old SNL character Lyle the Effeminate Heterosexual. And so might these nine notable men.

  1. Baz Luhrmann. First, a disclaimer: who knows what any of these guys got up to in their private lives? Certainly, many gay celebrities of the past got married and had children while keeping their same-sex lovers a secret. Anyway, you might assume that only a homosexual could make lavish, over-the-top films like Moulin Rouge! and Strictly Ballroom, yet the dapper Australian director has been married to his costume/production designer Catherine Martin since 1997. They have two kids.
  2. LeVar Burton. Considering his soft-spoken personality, his drama geek background, his childhood desire to become a priest, and his involvement in AIDS and gay rights causes, you might be forgiven for thinking the Roots/Star Trek/Reading Rainbow star was gay. But Burton's been married to the same woman since 1992, and is the father of two children.
  3. Bob Fosse. He was a Broadway dancer, director, and choreographer. Those are three red flags right there. But despite directing Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey in the gay-tinged Oscar winner Cabaret, Fosse was married three times and remained a notorious womanizer until the end of his life, a reputation which he explored in his autobiographical All That Jazz.
  4. Mikhail Baryshnikov. Male ballet dancers – it's easy to think they're all gay. But in Russia, it's not considered effeminate for a man to go into ballet like it is here. And Russian ballet's most famous export is the father of four children, one with Jessica Lange and three with former ballerina Lisa Rinehart, whom he's been with since the 1980s. (They quietly married in 2006.)
  5. Tony Randall. The late Odd Couple star was fastidious and prissy in real life, too. Yet the singing, dancing, opera-loving actor was married to the same woman for fifty years until her death in 1992, then spent the last decade of his life with his second, much-younger wife, who bore him two children. I read Randall's showbiz memoir Which Reminds Me, and despite the bawdy tales and catty gossip therein, the book is undeniably written from a straight man's point of view.
  6. Harvey Korman. Yep, the giggling Carol Burnett Show regular, regardless of his swishy demeanor on screen, was married twice and had four children.
  7. Jonathan Harris. What? The actor who played the astoundingly queeny Dr. Smith on TV's Lost in Space was heterosexual? It's hard to believe, especially when you learn that Harris also enjoyed needlepoint, gourmet cooking, and opera. But he married his high school sweetheart in 1938 and stayed with her until his death in 2002. They had one son.
  8. Christian Lacroix. As with ballet dancers and choreographers, there's no rule that male fashion designers have to be gay. Case in point: Lacroix, and other big names like Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren.
  9. Michael Jackson. For years, it was rumored that the King of Pop was also the King of Molesting Little Boys. It was hard to find someone who didn't believe that Jackson was a closeted homosexual and unrepentant pederast. Almost immediately after his untimely death in 2009, however, the narrative changed, as people reclaimed their old fandom and began to question those rumors. Indeed, evidence now suggests that, whatever Jackson's issues were, he was still attracted to grown women.