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

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Webb, Clifton (1891-1966)  
 
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In the huge mainstream hit Sitting Pretty (1948), which established a new identity for Webb as an unlikely parent-figure, he plays an "eccentric" babysitter who, among other things, dumps a bowl of oatmeal on the head of one of his charges. Even in a serious thriller like The Man Who Never Was, when he is asked to pick a code name, he says coyly, "With your permission, sir, Mincemeat?"

Webb was apparently as much a dandy off screen as on, and a noted taste maker at that. His New York Times obituary gives him credit for "having introduced into the American man's wardrobe such items as the white mess coat dinner jacket, the double-breasted vest and the red carnation boutonniere."

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Details of his personal life have not been widely reported. Rumors have surfaced that he "helped" some notable younger actors such as James Dean in their quest for stardom.

But his most crucial relationship appears to have been with his mother, Maybelle, to whom he was devoted. She was his secretary, business manager, and by all reports his constant companion at parties; when she died at age ninety, he was inconsolable. His seemingly bottomless grief inspired Noël Coward's famous remark that Webb was "the world's oldest living orphan."

He died on October 13, 1966.

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 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 >> Overview:  Film Sissies

The film sissy had his heyday in the 1930s, but persists as a film archetype, subtly reminding audiences that there are other ways of being than conventional heterosexuality.

literature >> Coward, Sir Noël

Although Coward's plays are about heterosexual couples, they are written in the language and spirit of camp and reject traditional domestic values.

arts >> Coward, Sir Noël

Accomplished playwright, actor, composer, and lyricist, Sir Noël Coward was also a singer and cabaret performer; he dominated the British stage between the world wars, then reoriented his career in the direction of America.

arts >> Dean, James

Although he spent only two years in Hollywood before his untimely death, James Dean became an enduring icon of American film, one whose brooding non-conformity helped challenge rigid notions of masculinity.

literature >> Ford, Charles Henri (1910?-2002), and Parker Tyler (1904-1974)

Members of New York's early twentieth-century avant-garde, Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler are also the authors of a widely suppressed and largely unread experimental novel of 1930s gay life, The Young and Evil.

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 >> Novello, Ivor

Show business renaissance man extraordinaire, Ivor Novello not only composed the scores of musical comedies, but also acted in films while dominating the London stage as a playwright and romantic leading man for three decades.


    Bibliography
   

Howes, Keith. Broadcasting It: An Encyclopedia of Homosexuality on Film, Radio, and TV in the UK 1923-1993. London: Cassell, 1993.

Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.

Murray, Raymond. Images in the Dark: An Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video. New York: Plume, 1996.

Russo, Vito. The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies. Rev. ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.

Tyler, Parker. Screening the Sexes: Homosexuality in the Movies. New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1972.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Morris, Gary  
    Entry Title: Webb, Clifton  
    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 www.glbtq.com/arts/webb_c.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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