So if Tyrone Power was off having gay liaisons while he was at Fox, it was in another part of the world in someone’s sub-sub-basement (while he was working 18 hours a day at Fox), because if Darryl Zanuck even had so much of a whiff of it, that would have been itsville.
Case in point: William Eythe. Heard of him? Most haven’t. He was being brought along as a leading man by Fox in the ’40s, working in The Ox Bow Incident, The Song of Bernadette, A Royal Scandal, etc. It was all systems go, since everyone else was in the service. He could have established himself the way that Dana Andrews had. When the gay rumors started to reach Zanuck, Zanuck suspended him. Then he farmed him out to England for B movies. Then he made him get married. Then he got rid of him. Now, that’s how Zanuck treated gay leading men. If Zanuck reacted that way with William Eythe, how far do you think Power’s star would have risen if any of these stories were true?
Let’s see how Zanuck behaved with Tyrone Power. When Power announced he was marrying Annabella, Zanuck called her into his office and offered her films in Europe to get her out of the country. She refused, saying that she would not leave her future husband. Zanuck then kept her from working in films. He was livid. He did not want Tyrone to get married. Compare that to [MGM’s] Louis B. Mayer, who married off Gene Raymond, Van Johnson, and Lord knows who else. Angry with Tyrone for disobeying him and getting married, Zanuck assigned him the film Daytime Wife, practically a programmer, with a 15-year-old co-star, Linda Darnell, who nearly drove him insane with her giggling and the love scenes being interrupted for her history lessons and with her blowing her lines.
I’ve heard several rumors regarding Power and Cesar Romero. And I have to laugh. The first one is guilt by association. If you have a gay friend, you’re gay. Well, if that’s true, I’m a lesbian and never knew it. I have so many gay friends, and I’m proud of it. No one in Hollywood or theater doesn’t have gay friends. Given what I’ve just said, I think it’s a fair guess that Cesar Romero would have had a great career digging ditches had Darryl Zanuck thought anything of the kind. And if everyone else knew this, as they seemed to, how would Zanuck not have known it?
And what story about Cesar Romero is true? That they were lovers? Or that Cesar Romero trolled the streets for Tyrone Power – so that someone could turn around and blackmail him or sell the story to Confidential or Whisper? And where is Zanuck while Cesar is violating the morals clause in his contract picking up hustlers – for Fox’s #1 star?
Lana Turner (above) went to her grave insisting that MGM and Fox conspired to break her and Power up. But a blind eye was turned to Cesar and Tyrone? Please. Cesar said that “Tyrone liked the ladies,” but I guess no one believed him. Tyrone’s cousin, Bill, who lived with him in the ’30s, said that if Tyrone was gay, it happened after 1939. I shouldn’t believe him? So I’m not supposed to believe his cousin or his friend, I’m not supposed to believe what common sense dictates, I’m supposed to believe what a hack who never met him says? Or what someone on a message board says?
Rock Hudson was nearly outed by Confidential magazine – fortunately for him, the studio was able to throw George Nader at the magazine instead. If you’ve read as many Confidential magazines as I have, though, they did out people between the lines. And sometimes not between the lines – sometimes right there on the page. They printed plenty about Tyrone, as did Whisper, but it always had to do with women. And Fred Otash, who wrote Investigation: Hollywood, worked for Confidential for years. Tyrone is prominent in Fred’s book for his relationship with Anita Ekberg. I interviewed Fred at some length – do you know what he used to do? Wiretaps. He has an entire transcript of Rock Hudson’s and Phyllis Gates’ divorce discussion. He knew everything about everybody, and never did anything cross his desk about Tyrone Power and men.
Once somebody dies, you can say what you want, and no one can sue you. The publishers and agents bank on this. I want everybody to go out and buy or take a look at Dirk Bogarde’s biography by John Coldstream. Take a look at the notes in the back. Fifty pages of them. He has practically every single sentence referenced with the name of his source, or the document the story or quote came from. Then take a look at the two Power biographies and show me one source note. Produce for me some of the people in the Hector Arce book who told the most outrageous stories. You can’t. Now, the Lawrence Guiles book is okay, it’s just woefully incomplete. Arce just plain makes up stuff or leaves out whatever doesn’t fit his agenda. He leaves out Mary Roblee, one of Tyrone’s girlfriends, a very serious relationship, and I think he gives Mai Zetterling, who lived with Tyrone, a half a sentence.
Follow-up post: “Tyrone Power: Sexual Orientation Rumors.”