Books

Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master

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VictorFlemingMichael Sragow
Pantheon Books (pantheonbooks.com)
Victor Fleming, the legendary director of The Wizard of Oz, wasn’t gay, but his first big star was, according to biographer Michael Sragow. On the set of Fleming’s silent-screen “horse opera,” he writes, there was “raw kidding” between screen idol Jack Kerrigan (described as “quite a lady himself”) and “the ultra-heterosexual cowboy extras and crew,” but there was also “enough hard-nosed tolerance” for everyone to do their jobs. Known in Hollywood as “the real Rhett Butler,” Fleming won his Oscar for salvaging Gone with the Wind after gay director George Cukor was fired, perhaps in part because of tensions that stemmed from Clark Gable’s brief sexual encounter with Cukor’s friend, openly gay star William Haines. — Review: Donalevan Maines

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