While I applaud the famous women who’ve publicly declared their bisexuality in my recent piece Top 10 Bisexual Celebrities, I took some flack from readers who complained that no men were on the list.
They certainly do exist, but famous men are much less likely to identify as bi – and discuss it on the record. There are male celebs who’ve slept with, and even married, women before settling into a primarily gay identity, such as Ricky Martin, Elton John, Rock Hudson, Freddie Mercury and Alan Cumming. Are they technically bisexual?
There are movie stars whose non-straight sex lives had to remain secret for fear of losing their sex symbol status, such as Cary Grant or Montgomery Clift. There may be loads of rumors, anecdotes and speculation, but very few direct quotes about their sexuality that would hold up in court.
So armed with a liberal definition of the term bisexual, I set out to find the most famous -- and verifiably bi guys that I could.
Marlon Brando: The legendary actor admitted, "Like a large number of men, I have had homosexual experiences, and I am not ashamed." There are many rumors about him having affairs with male celebrities like Rock Hudson and Cary Grant. His ex-wife Anna Kafshi has said that his numerous affairs with other men contributed to their divorce.
James Dean: One of Dean's closest friends, his first biographer, and longtime roommate William Bast recently published a revealing update of his first book. After years of dodging the question as to whether he and Dean were sexually involved, he finally admitted that they were. When asked if he was bisexual, Dean reportedly said, “Let’s just say I’m not going through life with one hand tied behind my back.”
David Bowie: In the 1970s the glam rock legend spoke openly about his sexual affairs with both men and women. "Actually, back then I lied," he says now. "I said I was gay when actually I was bisexual." His ex-wife Angie famously complained that he spent too much time in bed with Mick Jagger.
Mick Jagger: See above.
Tony Curtis: In 2002 the late movie star (who was married five times) admitted to the British magazine Attitude that when he was 22 and first arrived in Hollywood in 1948 he had sexual encounters with both men and women.
Billie Joe Armstrong: The Green Day front man told The Advocate: “I think I’ve always been bisexual… it’s something that I’ve always been interested in. I think people are born bisexual, and it’s just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of ‘Oh, I can’t.’ It’s ingrained in our heads that it’s bad, when it’s not bad at all. It’s a very beautiful thing.”
Leonard Bernstein: The composer, conductor and pianist was well-known for his homosexual affairs. Like many gay men of his generation, he was a devoted husband and father in public and promiscuously queer in private. Arthur Laurents, his West Side Story collaborator, has said that Bernstein was simply, "a gay man who got married. He wasn't conflicted about it at all. He was just gay."
Danny Kaye / Laurence Olivier: There are persistent rumors that Kaye and Olivier had a ten-year relationship in the 1950s while Olivier was still married to Vivien Leigh. Olivier’s widow Joan Plowright has said, "If a man is touched by genius he is not an ordinary person. Such men are also normally attended by demons. And he would fight to overcome those demons. Sometimes he would and sometimes he wouldn't."
Neal Cassady: The beat generation model for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's On the Road was married to a woman but had a sexual relationship with poet Allen Ginsberg that lasted off and on for twenty years.
Pete Townshend: Of The Who’s guitarist and songwriter, The Advocate wrote, “We’ve known Pete Townshend is bisexual. The rock legend acknowledged as much a few years ago. But he’s never been exactly eager to go into detail. So imagine the surprise of a VH1 camera crew when Townshend casually tossed in a juicy same-sex valentine to, of all people, Mick Jagger.”
Vincente Minnelli: The legendary film director had four wives including Judy Garland, with whom he fathered Liza Minnelli. His biographer wrote: "He was a bisexual gay man. He had a male companion when he lived in New York, and after he moved to Hollywood, MGM wrote him a letter that I discovered telling him to dress more appropriately and to quit wearing makeup."
Tony Perkins – The Psycho star dated starlets for the benefit of the Hollywood press, but his romantic relationships were with men, including Tab Hunter. In 1973, Perkins married Berry Berenson and they had two sons. Perkins died of AIDS in 1992, and in his final statement he said, "There are many who believe this disease is God's vengeance. But I have learned more about love, selflessness and human understanding from the people I have met in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cutthroat, competitive world in which I spent my life."