May 16th People

May 16th

05-16-1919 – 02-04-1987 Liberace (Wladziu Valentino Liberace) – Born in West Allis, Wisconsin. He was an American pianist and entertainer. At the height of his fame from the 1950s to the 1970s, Liberace was the highest-paid entertainer in the world. He lived in Las Vegas and had an international touring schedule. Liberace embraced a lifestyle of flamboyant excess both on Liberaceand off stage. He was known as “Mr. Showmanship”. Liberace was recognized during his career with two Emmy Awards, six gold albums and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He never admitted to being gay. In a 2011 interview, actress and close friend Betty White stated that Liberace was, indeed, gay and that she ofter served as a “beard” to counter the rumors of the musician’s homosexuality. He performed 21 sold out shows at Radio City Music Hall which set box office records a few months before his death in Palm Springs, California on February 4, 1987. Liberace’s death was controversial because there had been rumors prior to his death that he had contracted HIV, which his management, publicist, friends, and even Liberace himself had vehemently denied. Against the wishes of his estate, the Riverside County coroner ordered an official autopsy and determined that Liberace had died of an AIDS-related illness, making his the second major celebrity after Rock Hudson to officially succumb to the illness during the early days of media frenzy surrounding the disease.

 

05-16-1882 – 11-15-1971 Roland Vaughan Gwynne – Born in Eastbourne, United Kingdom. He is a British politician. He was the 46th Mayor of Eastbourne, Sussex, from 1928 to 1931. He was also a patient and close Roland Vaughan Gwynnefriend of the suspected serial killer Dr. John Bodkin Adams. Gwynne was homosexual and he constantly had financial problems, caused on the one hand by his extravagant lifestyle (he was famous for the wild parties he held at Folkington Manor, attended by, among others, Freeman-Thomas, Viceroy of India and Rudyard Kipling) and on the other, by his sexuality, which made him a prime target for blackmail. It was well known by those close to him that his butler ,Wilde, was one such person extorting money from him. After Gwynne’s death, love letters from various local jockeys were found among his papers. Gwynne never married but he developed a close friendship with John Bodkin Adams, an Eastbourne general practitioner and suspected serial killer, with whom he went on frequent shooting holidays to Scotland and Ireland. He would visit Adams every morning at 9 a.m. During the police investigation into Adams, a note written by a journalist was uncovered linking Adams sexually to a member of the local police and a local magistrate. The police officer is strongly suspected to have been the Deputy Chief Constable of Eastbourne, Alexander Seekings, and the magistrate to have been Gwynne. Despite the illegality of homosexual sex in 1956/57, the matter was not investigated further by the police. On February 12, 1957, just before the Adams’ trial began, Gwynne was knighted. Adams was sensationally acquitted of one murder charge and another was withdrawn controversially by the Attorney General.

 

05-16-1929 – 03-27-2012 Adrienne Rich – Born in Baltimore, Maryland. She was an American poet, essayist, and feminist. She was called “one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th Adrienne Richcentury,” and was credited with bringing “the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse.” She did marry in 1953 and had three children. She said of her marriage: “I married in part because I knew no better way to disconnect from my first family…I wanted what I saw as a full woman’s life, whatever was possible.” The couple separated in mid-1970. In 1976, Rich began her partnership with Jamaican-born novelist and editor Michelle Cliff, which lasted until her death.

 

05-16-1947 Cheryl Clarke – born in the Washington, D.C. She is a lesbian poet, essayist, educator and a Black feminist community activist. She lives inCheryl Clarke Jersey City, New Jersey and Hobart, New York with her life partner, Barbara Ballet. Clarke is the author of four collections of poetry, as well as Living as a Lesbian (1986), Humid Pitch (1989) and Experimental Love (1993).

 

05-16-1954 Jonina Leosdottir – Born in Iceland. She is an Icelandic novelist, playwright and former journalist. Leosdottir is the author of a dozen plays, seven novels, two biographies and a collection of articles she wrote for a women’s magazine. She is married to the former Icelandic PrimeJonina leosdottir Minister Johanna Siguroardottir, who was the first openly lesbian head of government in modern history. They were one of the first same-sex couple in Iceland to get married. The law took effect in 2010 and while Johanna was in office. The couple have been together since 1985, when they both left their husbands to be together. In an interview by The Telegraph (UK), Jonina said, “ It hasn’t been as easy ride. We lived in a very different time. There were no gay laws or no rights to a civil partnership or anything. It was the stone ages compared to now.” For almost half of their relationships, they kept it a secret because they were worried about Johanna’s careen as an MP. It was only in 2000 that they moved in together and found that there was no real reaction. Jonina thinks that the “non-reaction” was because they are both white women and she was a grandmother. She stated,”I think people see white women grandmas as rather harmless so maybe it’s not so threatening.”

 

05-16-1986 Megan Fox – Born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She is an American actress and model. In 2004, she made her film debut in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. She was also cast in a regular role on the ABC sitcom Hope & Faith. In 2007, Fox won the lead female role in Megan Foxthe live-action film Transformers. Fox was also in the Transformers sequels. She is married to actor Brian Austin Green. The couple have two sons. She has been openly bisexual since September 2008. In May 2009, she confirmed her bisexuality, stating: “I have no question in my mind about being bisexual. But I’m also a hypocrite: I would never date a girl who was bisexual, because that means they also sleep with men, and men are so dirty that I’d never want to sleep with a girl who had slept with a man.”

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