Sunday, April 15, 2012

My First Gay Crush

Actor Michael York, then and now.
My first gay crush was movie actor Michael York.

I experienced his sexy smile and blond-haired, youthful and heroic body in the local cineplex during junior high and high school back in the early seventies. My appreciation of Michael York began with his performance as D'Artagnan in the "Three Musketeers" and the sequel "The Four Musketeers". I followed him in Agatha Christie's mystery "Murder on the Orient Express", the sci-fi movies of "Logan's Run" and "The Island of Dr. Moreau" and the comic spoof "The Last Remake of Beau Geste". It would be a few years before I saw him in "Cabaret." 

York as D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers
I loved variety of fantasy characters he played whether they were dashing heroes or upper-crust socialites. In the "Musketeers" films, he was the young, sexy apprentice-Musteteer to a trio of swashbuckling older bearish men. In the two sci-fi movies (Logan's RunThe Island of Dr. Moreau) he was the handsome hero that uncovers a dark, sinister secret and must make the hero's journey to save the day. In the mystery thriller (Murder on the Orient Express) and comic spoof (The Last Remake of Beau Geste), he played one of the leading ensemble players in an all star cast.

The blond hair, blue-eyed British actor with the strong but boyish looks began his acting career in the 1960's. His acting career has spanned five decades and has included award-winning turns in theatre, movies and TV. He was most fondly remembered for a string of films in the late 1960s and 70s and his TV appearances in the mid-1970s. York's long-lasting Hollywood marriage is 45+ years. Throughout his long career he has played a number of iconic gay roles. He played an amoral bisexual drifter in Harold Prince's film "Something for Everyone" (1970) opposite Angela Lansbury as the countess who hires York as her footman. He then went on to portray the bisexual Brian Roberts in Bob Fosse's film version of "Cabaret" (1972), opposite Liza Minnelli. His character in "Cabaret" was a fictionalised version of writer Christopher Isherwood. On stage, he succeeded Richard Gere in the Broadway production of "Bent" (1979) where he had the lead role of Max, a homosexual concentration camp inmate who pretends to be Jewish. York's highly distinctive voice made him perfect for recording audio books, in which he was credited with over 70 productions, including Anne Rice's homoerotic thriller "The Vampire Lestat". He is more recently known among mainstream audiences for his role as Basil Exposition in the "Austin Powers" series of comedy films.

Extra: Michael York just turned 70. His birthday was a couple of weeks ago. This year is also the 40th anniversary of the film version of "Cabaret". Co-star Joel Grey also just turned 80 in April. Grey still performs on Broadway. We've seen him in the musicals "Wicked" and "Anything Goes".

Racquel Welch and Michael York in The Three Musketeers
Entertainment magazine, After Dark, cover.

York as Basil Exposition in Austin Powers

Michael York and Burt Lancaster in Island of Dr. Moreau

Michael York in Island of Dr. Moreau

Michael York and Jenny Agutter in Logan's Run

Michael York and Liza Minnelli in Cabaret

1 comment:

Bobby said...

How funny; just flipping through the channels we came upon Logan's Run over the weekend. My husband loves that movie, even if he kept calling him Dick York. "No dear, that's Bewitched" LOL.

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