Ralph Meeker is Gay, or rather, Ralph Meeker is Gay?

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Yesterday, at the Festival, someone was telling an anecdote about the actor Ralph Meeker. The anecdote itself is not worth repeating but the takeaway for me was that Ralph Meeker, according to this person’s mother, was gay and struggled with playing the course, virile Hal in the original Broadway production of Picnic. Obviously, as an actor who often plays heterosexuals (though usually less course, virile ones) I was reminded of the on going challenge for the gay actor playing straight. I suppose in some ways it was easier and then in some ways more difficult. And then, I thought I would do a little google sleuthing to find out more stories about Meeker’s sexuality. I found nothing. Nothing on IMDB, nothing on Wikipedia, even gayorstraight.com said he was heterosexual. So, who knows. I will say that looking at old pictures, I do wish he was gay, he is a heartthrob. Maybe it’s a little inappropriate to out an actor who does not seem keen on being outed from his grave, but I suppose at the end of the day, Ralph Meeker was an actor. I’m sure he’s just glad people are still talking about him.

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8 thoughts on “Ralph Meeker is Gay, or rather, Ralph Meeker is Gay?

  1. He certainly is (was) a heart throb of a MAN — Maybe he could have been swayed to dally if the moment had been right !

  2. “struggled with playing the course, virile Hal in the original Broadway production of Picnic.”

    There’s your clue that the story is probably not true. Even in his earliest film roles, before Picnic, Meeker is virile to the point of being macho, and, while I wouldn’t call any of his roles “coarse”, he was very masculine indeed in everything I’ve seen him do. While he was a very good actor, I don’t think the masculinity in his performances was acting. It’s too consistent.

    I don’t mean that gay men can’t be masculine, but if that part of the story is false, why would the rest of it be true?

    In his prime, Meeker was extremely attractive, so we also have to consider the tendency of many gay men to claim that every handsome actor is homosexual or at least bisexual.

    Putting those two things together, I think this guy’s claim sounds like wishful thinking, conveniently attributed to his mother to be less obvious.

  3. Unfortunately, Ralph had problems with too much alcohol which would have made him, probably, hard to deal with in real life. Such a shame that booze probably not only made him less desirable as an actor, but seemed to mar his once striking physique and very good looks. In the 1950s he looked like the type you would just want to snuggle with in bed. Whether or not he went both ways while he was living, as we remember him now I don’t think it’s doing any disservice to that memory by thinking of him in the ways we would have wanted to know him personally. If there is life after death and he is aware of all of how we still remember him, I hope and am fairly sure he wouldn’t have any objection at all.

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