08-17-1943 Robert De Niro – Born in Manhattan, New York. He is an American actor and producer who has starred in over 90 films. De Niro won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1974 for playing the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II. In 1980 he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Raging Bull. De Niro’s father was a gay man who divorced his mother when he was very young. De Niro made a documentary about his father, Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr. which aired on HBO in 2014. De Niro is a supporter of the global human rights movement that includes equal rights for LGBT people worldwide.
08-17-1960 Sean Penn – Born in Los Angeles County, California. He is an American actor, screenwriter, and film director. On Feb. 22, 2009, he received the Academy Award for Best Actor for the film Milk. In his acceptance speech, Penn said ” … I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone!”
08-17-1888 – 05-06-1963 Monty Woolley – Born in Manhattan, New York. He was an American stage, film, radio, and television actor. Best known in his role in the stage play and 1942 film, The Man Who Came To Dinner. Woolley met and became friends with Cole Porter at college. They enjoyed many adventures in New York and on foreign travels, although Porter reportedly disapproved of Woolley taking a black man as his lover. Woolley was a closeted gay man, although it was well known by those that were around him.
08-17-1885 – 10-01-1972 Kurt Hiller (also known as Keith Lurr) – Born in Berlin, Germany. He was a German essayist and a political journalist from a Jewish family. He was a socialist and a pacifist. Hiller was also an influential writer in the early German gay rights movement in the first two decades of the 20th century. In 1929, Hiller took over as chairman of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee from fellow gay activist Magnus Hirschfeld. From the end of 1933 to 1934, he spent time in a variety of concentration camps before fleeing to Prague later in 1934, and then to London in 1938. In 1955, he returned to Germany, where he lived and wrote in Hamburg until his death.
08-17-1907 – 11-05-2000 Roger Peyrefitte – Born in Castres, Tarn, France. He was a French diplomat, writer of novels, gossipy non-fiction, and a defender of gay rights. He was openly gay and wrote about his homoerotic experiences in boarding school in his first novel, Les amitiés particulières (1943). The book won the coveted Prix Renaudot in 1944 and was made into a film of the same name which was released in 1964. In his memoirs Propos Secrets, he wrote extensively about his youth, his sex life (homosexual mainly and a few affairs with women), his years as a diplomat, his travels to Greece and Italy, and his troubles with the police for sexually harassing male teenagers. He particularly loved to expose the hypocrisy and vanity of prominent people, to denounce fake aristocrats, and to out closeted homosexuals.
08-17-1925 Eva Kollisch – Born in Vienna, Austria. She is an American writer, literary scholar, especially German, pacifist, and feminist. In 1939, she escaped to the United Kingdom with a transport of children. In 194o, she and her two brothers were able to emigrate to the United States. Kollisch became a professor at Sarah Lawrence College where she taught English and German literature. She lives in New York with her life companion, the American poet, Naomi Replansky. In 2012, she won the Austrian literary prize, Theodor Kramer Prize for Writing In Resistance and Exile.
08-17-1973 David Bromstad – Born in Cokato, Minnesota. He is an American artist, designer, and host of HGTV’s Color Splash. He was always interested in art and design. He attended Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. After graduating, he worked as a Disney illustrator. After being laid off, he started his own company. Bromstad is openly gay. He was on Out’s 3rd Annual 100 Most Eligible Bachelors (2013).