08-25-1918 – 10-14-1990 Leonard Bernstein – Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. Bernstein was music director of the New York Philharmonic and he conducted concerts with most of the world’s leading orchestras. His fame was also because of the music he composed for West Side Story, Peter Pan, Candide, Wonderful Town, On the Town, and On the Waterfront. In 1953, he became the first American conductor to appear at La Scala, in Milan, Italy. Bernstein became a well-known figure in the US through his fifty-three televised Young People’s Concerts for CBS. During the 1940s and 1950s, Bernstein had relationships with both men and women. In 1951 he married Costa Rican-born American actress Felicia Cohn Montealegre. It has been suggested that he chose to marry to dispel rumors of his private life to secure a major conducting appointment due to the conservative nature of orchestra boards. In a book released in October 2013, The Leonard Bernstein Letters, his wife reveals his homosexuality. Arthur Laurents (Bernstein’s collaborator in West Side Story) said that Bernstein was “a gay man who got married. He wasn’t conflicted about it at all. He was just gay.”
08-25-1951 Robert Halford – Born in Sutton, England. He is an English singer-songwriter. Halford is best known as lead vocalist for the Grammy Award-winning heavy metal band Judas Priest. In 1998, Halford publicly came out as gay. In a 1998 interview with The Advocate, Halford broke down in tears and told Editor in Chief, Judy Wieder, “It’s a wonderful moment when you walk out of the closet. Now I’ve done that and I’ve freed myself. It’s a great feeling for me to finally let go and make this statement – especially to The Advocate because this magazine has brought me so much comfort over the years. Obviously, this is just a wonderful day for me.” The song Raw Deal is about a gay biker bar. He revealed to MTV that there have been gay innuendos throughout his songs.
08-25-1940 Diana Souhami – Born in Edmonton, London, England. She is an English award-winning writer of biographies, short stories, and plays. She is the author of ten books, many of which are about lesbian artists and writers. “I started writing about lesbians 25 years ago in the hope of contributing to breaking the history of silence. Acceptance can’t happen without openness, and I believe we should all try to speak out in our own way. “ She has won the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Biography/Autobiography. She is openly lesbian.
08-25-1845 – 06-13-1886 King Ludwig II (Louis Otto Frederick William) – Born outside Munich, Germany. He was King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death in 1886. Crown Prince Ludwig was 19 when he ascended the Bavarian throne when his father died after a three-day illness. Although he was not prepared for high office, his youth and brooding good looks made him popular in Bavaria and elsewhere. He continued the state policies of his father and retained his ministers. His real interests were in art, music, and architecture. One of the first acts of his reign, a few months after his accession, was to summon Wagner to his court. Also in 1864, he laid the foundation stone for what is now the Gärtnerplatz-Theater. The greatest stress of Ludwig’s early reign was pressure to produce an heir. Ludwig became engaged to his cousin, Duchess Sophie Charlotte in Bavaria. They shared a deep interest in the works of Wagner. The engagement was announced on 22 January 1867. However, Ludwig repeatedly postponed the wedding date and finally canceled the engagement in October. Ludwig never married, nor had any known mistresses. It is known from his diary (begun in the 1860s), private letters, and other surviving personal documents, that he had strong homosexual desires. Throughout his reign, Ludwig had a succession of close friendships with men, including his chief equerry and Master of the Horse, Richard Hornig, Hungarian theater actor Josef Kainz, and courtier Alfons Weber.
Post contributed by Sandra de Helen
08-25-1900 – 03-21-1963 Newton Arvin – Born in Northampton, Massachusetts. He was an American literary critic and academic. He achieved national recognition for his studies of individual nineteenth-century American authors. In 1960, the office of the US Postmaster General initiated a campaign against the distribution and possession of lewd materials, including soft-core homosexually-themed pictures. At the same time, local officials in Northampton were engaged in an anti-homosexual crusade. On September 2, officers of the Massachusetts State Police arrested Arvin on pornography-related charges. Arvin eventually pleaded guilty, paid fines of $1200, and was given a one-year suspended sentence and placed on probation. Smith College suspended Arvin from teaching but kept him on half salary until retirement age. After his death, Truman Capote established in his will the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism to be awarded “in honor of the critic Newton Arvin.” It has been awarded annually since 1994 by the University of Iowa. In 2002, Smith College established the “Newton Arvin Prize in American Studies,” a student award.
08-25-1974 Eric Millegan – Born in Hackettstown, New Jersey. He is an American actor best known for his role as Dr. Zack Addy on the Fox series Bones. He began his musical theatre career at age 7. In January 2005, he starred as Harold opposite Estelle Parsons’ Maude in the world premiere of Harold & Maude: the Musical at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. Millegan is openly gay. In 2003 Out named him the “Hottest Up-and-Coming Openly Gay Actor” of the year. Millegan married his long-time partner, Charles Michel, in New York City on June 28, 2012