Was Superman Gay?

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—Hollywood history is rife with posthumous tales of manly men forced to maintain a heterosexual façade in order to preserve their careers as romantic leads. Rock Hudson may be the most notorious example of a decidedly gay man trapped in a public lie.

Today’s actors are much freer to live their lives as who they are, regardless whom they play on film. As recently as the 1980s, however, that wasn’t the case.

And according to a gossipy new book, Krytonite wasn’t Superman’s only weakness.

In Hollywood Babylon Strikes Again! (Blood Moon Productions, July 2010), authors Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince claim to reveal evidence actor Christopher Reeve—who portrayed the superhero on film four times—was either a closeted gay man, or at least bisexual.

The authors present excerpts from a previously unpublished, anonymous interview with Cal Culver, who allegedly gave up the goods on Reeve during a deathbed meeting in 1987. According to the reputed transcript, Culver and Reeve met in the 1970s while auditioning for the same Broadway role. A torrid two-month affair ensued. Reeve, who a decade later would rise to celluloid immortality as a screen hero with an alter ego, reportedly ended the relationship upon discovering Culver’s real-life alter ego was gay porn star Casey Donovan.

“Christopher was a great lover, and I think I liberated him sexually,” Culver (Boys in the Sand) reportedly told the interviewer just before his 1987 death of an AIDS-related illness. “I didn’t think he was gay, but he seemed willing to try anything once. He was curious.”

Reeve, whom Culver called “the man of my dreams,” later married a woman. Christopher and Dana Reeve were married for 12 years and had one son together before a fall from a horse in 1995 left the actor paralyzed from the neck down. He died in of heart failure in 2004.

In 1983, Reeve shocked the world by sharing a passionate on-screen kiss with co-star Michael Caine in the Sidney Lumet-directed film version of the Broadway mystery-thriller Deathtrap. Reeve’s performance earned him a Saturn Awards nomination for Best Actor.