George Cukor’s Sunday Sex Parties for Gay Men Were an Open Secret

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On Netflix’s new show Hollywood from creator Ryan Murphy, several characters are either invited to or assigned to work at a party thrown at director George Cukor’s home that is depicted as a night of utter debauchery — and a safe space for homosexual men to express their affection for one another.

Fans might be wondering if such a highly-charged sexual environment was really happening back in the 1940s, but apparently, it most certainly was. Read on to find out what we know about Cukor’s infamous Sunday sex parties.


Cukor’s Parties Became the Stuff of Legend

Glynis Johns, George Cukor–1972 TV Interview, A Little Night MusicLegendary director George Cukor and actress Glynis Johns discuss their careers in this 1972 TV interview, including Johns' rehearsal of Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music," which later won her a Tony Award. Also appearing is comedian Alan King.2018-01-06T23:40:07Z

Cukor was an Academy Award-winning director of such classics as the 1933 version of Little Women starring Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story, Gaslight, A Double Life, Adam’s Rib, Born Yesterday, the 1954 version of A Star is Born starring Judy Garland, and My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn, for which he won his Oscar after four previous nominations.

He was also a homosexual, which was one of the most open secrets in Hollywood. As producer Joseph Mankiewicz said in Patrick McGilligan’s book “George Cukor: A Double Life,” “George Cukor never disguised his sexuality, yet he never carried it as a pin on his lapel.”

The book also says that upon the redecoration of his house in 1936, which Hollywood mentions was done by interior designer William “Billy” Haines, Cukor became quite the host. Haines was one of the people that agent Henry Willson tried to bully over his homosexuality, but Haines wouldn’t be bullied and just up and quit show business.

Anyway, after Haines redecorated, Cukor came to be known “as one of the fabulous host of the film colony.”

Actress Kitty Carlisle said, “He liked distinguished, famous people — and you always expected good food. You accepted his invitations with alacrity because he made everyone feel important. He made everyone feel as though they were the most welcome guest.”

And the more famous Cukor became, the crazier the parties became. Cukor himself was once arrested in vice charges, according to McGilligan’s book, but it was hushed up by “the highest possible executive level” at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

And the dinner parties were a different thing from the Sunday pool parties. As the Los Angeles Times wrote in its 1991 review of McGilligan’s book, “Dropping his guard only in the company of a circle of trusted friends he nicknamed ‘the chief unit,’ Cukor held private Sunday afternoon pool parties that were unabashed all-boy affairs; the rest of the week, he reverted to the role of ‘extra man,’ a congenial dinner partner always seated beside either a mogul’s wife or one of his celebrated actresses.”


The Hollywood Version

HOLLYWOOD | Official Trailer | NetflixWhat if you could rewrite the story? Official Trailer for HOLLYWOOD, a new limited series from Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, coming to Netflix on May 1. HOLLYWOOD follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood as they try to make it in Tinseltown — no matter the cost. Each character offers a unique glimpse behind the gilded curtain of Hollywood's Golden Age, spotlighting the unfair systems and biases across race, gender and sexuality that continue to this day. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 167 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments. HOLLYWOOD | Official Trailer | Netflix https://youtube.com/Netflix In post-World War II Hollywood, an ambitious group of aspiring actors and filmmakers will do almost anything to make their showbiz dreams come true.2020-04-20T14:00:00.000Z

The Hollywood depiction of the parties features a plethora of naked men, brought in to entertain and have sex with closeted homosexuals, which, by all accounts, is fairly accurate.

As Ernie West (Dylan McDermott) explains to Jake Castello ( ), “On Sundays, he likes to kick back. He invites all kinds of folks — writers, directors, agents, producers, you name it. Movie stars like Tallulah Bankhead, Vivien Leigh, and regular Joes like yours truly … the stars get French wine, guys like us get the swill from California.

“Then at 10 o’clock, the boys start showing up. Guys trying to make it in the biz. Punk jockeys like us, USC football players who will do anything to make it in this town. By midnight, most of the ladies have gone home, though Tallulah usually sticks around. It’s just all real laidback. Cocktails, everyone gettin’ to know each other. Folks head out to the pool, more cocktails, it’s all a lot of fun.

“Then eventually, the fellas start pairing off. They find a quiet place to get a little bit more intimate.”

Hollywood season one is available now on Netflix.

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