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arts

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

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Film Actors: Lesbian  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  

In response, Foster's publicist declared only that "'playing for a different team' could mean a lot of things."

Why Does It Matter?

The eagerness on the part of gay men and lesbians to know the truth about the sexual orientation of public figures such as actors and actresses has little to do with prurience, but with a desire for honesty and a need for self-validation.

Sponsor Message.

The need for validation makes coming out for actresses an important issue to the queer public. Mainstream films reach audiences across a wider spectrum of class and sexual identity than other forms of media, such as gay-themed magazines or books. For gays and lesbians, particularly those living in oppressive locales, queer movies and actresses themselves can provide much-needed representation.

Because such public figures are often looked up to as role models, the visibility of queer Hollywood actresses--many of them household names--is a crucial step toward more widespread gay acceptance. Conversely, the failure to come out on the part of figures in the public eye sends a message that homosexuality or bisexuality is something shameful that needs to be hidden.

Teresa Theophano

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   Related Entries
  
arts >> Overview:  American Television, Situation Comedies

American television sitcoms have consistently reflected the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, often in distorted and stereotyped ways, but occasionally in ways that acknowledge our humanity and complexity.

arts >> Overview:  American Television, Talk Shows

For glbt people, television talk shows have been both promising and problematic; they have brought glbt issues to public awareness, but until recently they have also presented glbt people as stereotypes and freaks.

arts >> Overview:  Film Actors: Gay Male

Although few gay actors have been permitted the luxury of openness, many of them have challenged and helped reconfigure notions of masculinity and, to a lesser extent, of homosexuality.

arts >> Acosta, Mercedes de

Poet, playwright, screenwriter, costume designer, and memoirist, Mercedes de Acosta is remembered today for her love affairs with some of the most glamorous women of her time.

arts >> Arzner, Dorothy

Lesbian filmmaker Dorothy Arzner, the only woman director in 1930s and 1940s Hollywood, made films that convey the varieties of women's experiences and desires and the tenacity of women's relationships with other women.

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 >> Baxter, Meredith

Since coming out in 2009, actress Meredith Baxter, best known for her starring role in the ABC situation comedy Family Ties (1982-1989), has become a spokesperson for glbtq rights.

arts >> Bearse, Amanda

One of the first primetime television actors to come out publicly as a gay person, Amanda Bearse has developed a second career as a film and television director and has become an outspoken advocate of gay visibility.

arts >> Bernhard, Sandra

Sharp-tongued comedienne, writer, singer, and actor Sandra Bernhard is known almost as well for her amorphous sexuality as for her cynical wit.

arts >> Carter, Nell

A dynamic performer on stage, television, film, and record, Nell Carter built a successful and versatile show business career; only after her death was her longtime relationship with a woman revealed to the public.

arts >> DeGeneres, Ellen

No matter how great her contribution to the world of comedy, Ellen DeGeneres will probably be best remembered as the first lesbian to star as a lesbian on her own network television show.

arts >> De Rossi, Portia

Portia de Rossi moved almost effortlessly from a teen modeling career to acting roles in film and television; her widely publicized relationship with Ellen DeGeneres has made her one of the best known lesbians in American pop culture.

arts >> Dietrich, Marlene

Actress and cabaret performer Marlene Dietrich scandalized society almost as much by wearing trousers in public as by her numerous love affairs with both men and women.

arts >> Foster, Jodie

One of the most accomplished film actresses of her generation, Jodie Foster has been a glbtq icon for decades, though only recently has she obliquely acknowledged her lesbianism.

arts >> Garbo, Greta

Mysterious, aloof, occasionally androgynous, actress Greta Garbo ignited the passions of men and women alike.

arts >> Gilbert, Sara

Actress Sara Gilbert, who became a favorite with lesbian audiences for her portrayal of tomboy Darlene on the long-running television series Roseanne, came out publicly as a lesbian in 2004.

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 >> Le Gallienne, Eva

Actress, director, producer, teacher, and memoirist, as well as translator, Eva Le Gallienne was one of the most successful figures in the American theater for several decades; she had many lovers, but was never comfortable with her lesbianism.

arts >> Leifer, Carol

Comedian, writer, actor, and producer Carol Leifer never anticipated that after the age of forty she would find personal fulfillment by recognizing her lesbianism, becoming a mother, and standing up for glbtq rights.

arts >> Lynch, Jane

Out lesbian actress Jane Lynch has forged a successful career on television, in movies, and on the stage, including some memorable turns portraying lesbian characters.

arts >> Moorehead, Agnes

Although she was not publicly out as a homosexual, actress Agnes Moorehead became a lesbian icon by virtue of her choice of roles during a long and distinguished career.

arts >> Nixon, Cynthia

Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon recently acknowledged publicly that she is bisexual and in a loving relationship with a woman.

arts >> O'Donnell, Rosie

Comedian, actress, television talk show host, and openly gay mom, Rosie O'Donnell has achieved remarkable success in her relatively short career.

arts >> Sykes, Wanda

Actress and comedian Wanda Sykes, who has never been shy about addressing sensitive or controversial issues on stage, has also become a spirited advocate for glbtq rights.

arts >> Tomlin, Lily

Less well-known for being herself than for the many memorable personages she "becomes" during her performances, comedienne Lily Tomlin has long been a supporter of gay and lesbian rights, but only recently came out herself.

arts >> Waters, Ethel

Perhaps best remembered for her award-winning performances as an actress, Ethel Waters was also a renowned Blues singer, known to have sexual relationships with other women.

literature >> Wilde, Oscar

Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.


    Bibliography
   

"Did Russell Crowe Out Jodie Foster?" The Advocate (September 13, 2000): www.advocate.com/html/news/091300/091300ent02.asp.

Greenberg, Steve. "Amanda Bearse: Married...with a child." The Advocate 638 (September 21, 1993): 39.

Hadleigh, Boze. Hollywood Lesbians. Ft. Lee, N. J.: Barricade Books, 1994.

Hilson, Harry. "A Look at Lesbian Actresses and Other Adventurous Lovers." New World Arts Magazine (August 5, 2000): www.hilson.org/NW/lesbian-actresses.html.

Hunter, Carson. "Rosie by Any Other Name." Girlfriends 7.12 (June 2001): 18-19, 42-43.

"Lily Tomlin Sort of Comes Out." The Advocate (January 12, 2001): www.advocate.com/html/news/011201/011201ent02.asp.

McLellan, Diana. The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.

Weiss, Andrea. Violets and Vampires: Lesbians in Film. New York: Penguin USA, 1993.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Theophano, Teresa  
    Entry Title: Film Actors: Lesbian  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated August 20, 2005  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/film_actors_lesbian.html  
    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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