The 12 Hottest Vintage Hunks (for now)
For nearly nine months we've been delivering the hottest Vintage Hunks to you on Monday mornings. These are actors from an earlier era, when closeted gay men were desperate to spot any kind of male sexiness in society and often found those images in darkened cinemas.
Some of these dreamboats are well known, others less so. Some were even gay themselves—but that would only be discovered years later.
What's fascinating is that beyond their individual looks and talents, there was a certain sexy quality about these men, a masculinity that draws viewers in and cannot be denied. It's a sensibility that stays true even today, in a world where viewing gay porn takes less work than renting one of these classic actors' movies.
So here is a list of our (and your) 12 favorites thus far— because this list isn't definitive, and will continue growing each week. Enjoy.
1. Rock Hudson
Rock Hudson was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1950s and '60s, the handsome boy every girl wanted to date, and every mother wanted her daughter to bring home. Hollywood insiders knew he was a closeted homosexual who threw wild parties attended by Hollywood's gay elite. The truth came out years later, and his death from AIDS-related complications in 1985 finally gave a public face to the disease.
Known today mostly for his role in the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street, John Payne was a more studly version of Tyrone Power, the reigning king of 20th Century Fox at that time. He had a great body and his rugged, handsome face was much more masculine than the beautiful Power. However, once Payne left Fox he was no longer overlooked, making a number of film noirs that finally showed off his sexy persona.
Openly bisexual actor, Farley Granger, was one of the most beautiful men to ever appear in films. He found it difficult to get good parts as he was under contract to Samuel Goldwyn, who only made one or two pictures a year. All of Granger's great movies were on loan out, including his two best remembered films for Alfred Hitchcock. Sadly, Granger died recently—on March 27, 2011— of natural causes in New York. He was 85.
As a teen idol, Tony Curtis did some trashy movies, but he eventually became a first-rate actor. His sole Oscar nomination for Best Actor was for 1958's The Defiant Ones, co-starring Sidney Poitier. But Curtis gave his greatest performances as the desperate Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success (opposite Burt Lancaster) and in the comedy classic Some Like It Hot. He also died recently at age 85— September 29, 2010.
Jeffrey Hunter was one of the most beautiful young actors of the 1950s who seemed headed for top stardom. However, even after playing Jesus Christ he soon found his career fizzling out. Then in 1969, at the early age of 43, Hunter suffered a series of strokes that resulted in a cerebral hemorrhage, and he died. He is almost forgotten today, though Star Trek fans know him as Captain Pike from the original, failed TV pilot.
Alain Delon was the first non-American beauty to be featured as a Vintage Hunk. He was a French movie star, with handsome, dark eyes, a bad boy style, and an unmistakable sexiness that simply exuded from his entire being. This man was the stuff lustful dreams were made of—both for straight women and gay men alike.
Known as the German James Dean, Horst Buchholz had a brief career in American films, highlighted by sizzling performances in The Magnificent Seven and One, Two, Three. The sexy and beautiful Buchholz was mesmerizing in his early films, and late in life confirmed his bisexuality. Buchholz died in 2003 at the age of 69. He was as talented as he was sexy, and for a year or two he was one of the bright lights in American films.
Born Louis Gendre in Marseilles, France, Louis Jourdan started acting in 1939. Following the German occupation of France, he joined the French Resistance after refusing to participate in Nazi propaganda films. Jourdan made a number of American films, including the hits Madame Bovary opposite Jennifer Jones, The Swan with Grace Kelly, and Three Coins In The Fountain. His biggest success came in 1958 when he was given the leading role in the Vincente Minnelli-directed, Lerner Lowe smash hit Gigi.
Most commonly known as the brilliant creator of the iconic I Love Lucy TV show, his decisions on this series— like using film instead of the usual kine scope— helped insure that Lucy would survive in all its pristine glory. One could argue he was even more brilliant as a businessman than as the fine comic foil he provided for the vivacious Lucille Ball. That said, Arnaz was funny, sexy and is probably the most underrated TV performer in history.
From 1965 to 1969, gay men indulged in the weekly treat of the too-tight-to-breathe pants Robert Conrad wore as secret service agent Jim West in the TV series The Wild Wild West. Though Conrad had minor success in the late 1950s and early '60s as a recording artist, he got more mileage as an actor who removed his shirt, displaying a taut, athletic physique.
Steve McQueen was one of the biggest movie stars in the world during the 1960s and '70s. Labeled "The King of Cool," McQueen was one of the great anti-heroes, following in the steps of John Garfield and Marlon Brando. By all accounts he was a difficult, prickly individual. But he was also a sexy modern movie star whose sense of cool pretty much defined the era. In Love with the Proper Stranger he is sexy and appealing, while in The Getaway he is sexy, tough and violent. Both films are excellent examples why McQueen was a good actor and, more importantly, a true cinema icon.
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