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Michael Musto

10 Male Icons From Cinema's Earlier Days of Subversion


Whether they were androgynously sulky, petulantly angry, or quietly dignified, these stars from yesteryear had special appeal for gay viewers.


Michael York

York has always seemed up for a screen adventure, as in Cabaret, Bob Fosse's dazzling adaptation of the musical about hedonism, sexuality, delusion, hopes, and despair as the Nazis rise. York was the writer who sleeps with guys and Sally Bowles.


Oliver Reed, Alan Bates

These two bright lights of 1960s British cinema exuded a muddy machismo when wrestling in Women in Love, Ken Russell's visceral adaptation of the D.H. Lawrence novella. Reed could also be counted on to exude a sullen danger in films like Oliver!, whereas Bates (TheRose, Broadway) is synonymous with a more cerebral angst.


David Hemmings

Hemmings starred in the arthouse hit Blow-Up (1966) and also was game for dizzy comic book mayhem (Barbarella) and an earthy musical (Camelot).


Malcom McDowell

Armed with a gleeful grin, McDowell went rogue in the boarding school drama if.... (1968) and the nihilistic romp A Clockwork Orange (1971), proving to be a far cry from the Douglas Fairbanks types of yore. The dangerous games of some of his early work still chill.


Dirk Bogarde

An earnest, dry actor, Dirk made his mark in films like Victim (1961) and Death in Venice (1971). As movies kept exploring, Bogarde became known as a pioneer.


David Bowie

The glamtastic rocker lent his surreal presence to films like The Man Who Fell To Earth and the vampire thriller The Hunger. His aloof allure generally gave them an artful imprint from outer space.


Tim Curry

A pricelessly vamping Frank 'n Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tim's also known for everything from Amadeus (onstage) to Spamalot and beyond. His wit takes the warped out of time warping.


Rupert Crosse

Exuding sass and humor, Crosse was the first African American to be nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar (for the western The Reivers).


Tom Courtenay

Courtenay was a familiar presence in 1960s films like Doctor Zhivago, often projecting a wiry intellect (and scoring in the '80s with The Dresser, a pas de deux for theatrical figures). Keeping on, he matched Charlotte Rampling every step of the way in last year's marital drama 45 Years.

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Michael Musto