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Cukor, George (1899-1983)  
page: 1  2  

In spite of his devotion to the dream and the dreamer, Cukor was realist enough to know that such liaisons are rare and fleeting. In A Star Is Born, the relationship of two larger-than-life actors--here played by James Mason and Judy Garland, in her best performance--begins in triumph but ends in abuse and finally suicide.

Cukor's reputation as the pioneer maker of divas does not take into account his brilliance in exploring the artistic temperament and the struggle for self-expression in subtle variations throughout his career. Moreover, this reputation fails to acknowledge the grittiness of his 1950s films, which despite strong performances by actresses cannot be consigned to the ghetto of the "woman's picture."

Particularly in his collaborations with Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon, such as The Marrying Kind (1952), shot on location, there is an almost neo-realist feeling in the unflinching treatment of the sometimes squalid reality of people's daily lives.

Cukor died on January 24, 1983, two years after his last film, Rich and Famous. This film, which revisits Cukor's theme of the artistic temperament at odds with society and itself, was an update of the Bette Davis-Miriam Hopkins vehicle Old Acquaintance (1943). As such, it is a suitable coda for the career of one of America's great gay artists in or out of cinema.

Gary Morris

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arts >> Overview:  Film

Since cinema began, Hollywood has been fascinated with finding ways of representing homosexuality.

arts >> Overview:  Film Directors

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual film directors have been a vital creative presence in cinema since the medium's inception over one hundred years ago.

social sciences >> Overview:  Los Angeles

The glbtq history of Los Angeles, the U.S.'s second largest metropolis, is replete with cultural, social, and political firsts.

arts >> Overview:  Set and Costume Design

Set and costume design for stage and film are fields that have attracted a large number of talented gay men and lesbians.

arts >> Overview:  Transvestism in Film

Too often cinematic drag is reduced to a mere joke, a harmless tease that tacitly reassures us that people can change their clothes but not their sexual identities.

arts >> Bankhead, Tallulah

Although Tallulah Bankhead is today remembered mostly as an irreverent wit and volcanic life force, she was also one of the most significant actresses of her time.

arts >> Garland, Judy

The fragile persona and emotion-packed voice of actress and singer Judy Garland are powerfully linked to gay culture and identity; she appealed especially to gay men, but also to lesbians.

arts >> Goulding, Edmund

Bisexual film director and screenwriter Edmund Goulding was one of the most talented and eccentric characters of Hollywood's Golden Age.

arts >> Grant, Cary

Although actor Cary Grant consistently denied rumors of his bisexuality, his good looks, charisma, and ambiguous sexuality enchanted women and men alike.

arts >> Haines, William "Billy"

Among the top five motion picture actors from 1928 to 1933, William "Billy" Haines later became one of the most successful interior designers in the country.

arts >> Hart, Moss

Although playwright, screenwriter, and director Moss Hart achieved great commercial success and popular acclaim, he suffered from severe depression and other emotional problems that were intensified, and possibly caused, by intense anxiety concerning his sexual orientation.

arts >> Kulp, Nancy

Accomplished character actress Nany Kulp, who specialized in playing prim, straight-laced spinsters, publicly acknowledged her lesbianism only towards the end of her life.

arts >> Lambert, Gavin

Best known as a screenwriter, Gavin Lambert was also a novelist and biographer who captured the essence of life in the film community in a perceptive and witty fashion.

arts >> Porter, Cole

Living the paradoxical life of an openly closeted gay man, songwriter Cole Porter introduced non-normative values and risqué double entendres into what was one of the most pedestrian and hackneyed of cultural forms.

literature >> Rechy, John

In his novels about hustling, preeminently City of Night and Numbers, John Rechy moves from the world of homosexual behavior into the world of gay identity.

arts >> Teske, Edmund

American photographer Edmund Teske created a distinct and inventive body of work that embraced multiple styles and subjects, from somber urban vistas to intimate, often eroticized, portraits.


Ehrenstein, David. Open Secret. New York: Harper Perennial Library, 2000.

Hadleigh, Boze. Conversations with My Elders. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986.

Lambert, Gavin. On Cukor. New York: Rizzoli, 2000.

Levy, Emanuel. George Cukor: Master of Elegance: Hollywood's Legendary Director and His Stars. New York: William Morrow, 1994.

McGilligan, Patrick. George Cukor, a Double Life: A Biography of the GentlemanDirector. New York: Harper Perennial, 1992.


    Citation Information
    Author: Morris, Gary  
    Entry Title: Cukor, George  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated January 6, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  


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