Stan Lee's recent death has been felt among Marvel fans around the world. Friends, followers, and actors who embodied his superheroes have taken to social media with memories of the comic book trailblazer.
But one particular memory involves another dead writer. As Vanity Fair points out, the 2011 biography of lesbian author Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Miss Highsmith includes a particularly awkward anecdote from Vince Fago. Fago, Highsmith, and Lee all worked at Timely Comics, which eventually became Marvel.
Although Fago was married, he found Highsmith to be a "terrific looker." When Lee and Highsmith were both in their 20s, Fago set them up on a blind date. As the biography by Joan Schenkar recounts:
Vince Fago took Lee up to Pat’s apartment “near Sutton Place,” hoping to make a “match” between Pat and Stan Lee. But the future creator of The Talented Mr. Ripley was not fated to go out on a date with the future facilitator of Spider-Man. “Stan Lee,” said Vince Fago, “was only interested in Stan Lee,” and Pat wasn’t exactly admitting where her real sexual interests lay. Lee, who invokes his failing memory and “murky mind,” remembers only Pat’s name from the incident.
Highsmith died in 1995, but her works have continued to be adapted for the screen. LGBTQ cinephiles should recognize films like The Talented Mr. Ripley and Carol, being based on her books - the latter of which, Highsmith originally published as The Price of Salt under a pseudonym before she had come out.