British/New Zealander stage and screen writer and cult film actor Richard O’Brien (the stage name of Richard Timothy Smith) was the mastermind behind The Rocky Horror Show, a queer gothic musical comedy that has generated a robust, ritualized midnight screening tradition. (He also originated the role of Riff Raff and played him in the film adaptation.) O’Brien’s career has also extended into eccentric television program hosting, including the popular UK game show The Crystal Maze, for which he was selected because he fit the show’s “Dungeons and Dragons” vibe.
Although O’Brien was assigned male at birth and continues to use male pronouns, he identifies as “70% male, 30% female,” and uses the term transgender to refer to himself.
Roy Harold Scherer, Jr., dubbed “Rock Hudson” by his image-crafting manager, was an American leading man and sex symbol of the mid-20th century, starring in both melodramas and fluffy comedies, along with a smattering of other genres, television, and live theater. Before moving to Hollywood Scherer had been an aircraft mechanic. Although he had no acting training he was able to break into the business on the strength of his good looks and persistence; later tutoring from Universal Pictures solved his inexperience problem, and he went on to be nominated for an Oscar. Scherer publicly announced that he was gay and HIV positive before passing away from AIDS-related complications in 1985, which became a pivotal event in drawing attention to the disease and humanizing homosexuality.
A multitalented gay cult film creator, John Waters was the creative mind behind notorious Dreamlander productions like Pink Flamingos and the tamer Hairspray, which was later adapted as a Broadway musical. To all of his productions he has brought his trademark sense of offbeat, taboo humor, the kind that involves feces more often than not. Outside of his shock films, Waters is also a fine artist and writer. His humorous concept art installations have been featured in prominent galleries, including a photograph of flowers that squirts passers by with water. His adventures hitchhiking across the United States are documented in a memoir called Carsick, which contains comical fictional accounts of his journey along with the real one.
Anthony Perkins’ role of “Norman Bates” in Psycho (and its sequels) was among the most iconic to come out of thriller director Alfred Hitchcock’s canon and an overwhelming presence in the actor’s life. Perkins had already been a theater actor and won awards for both stage and screen, like the part of a young Quaker man in Friendly Persuasion, a movie President Reagan later offered to Mikhail Gorbachev as a model of conflict resolution. Perkins also had a respectable singing voice, acting in several musicals and releasing three pop albums, though he never managed a career from it.
Perkins’ sexual orientation is subject to some interpretation. Although he allegedly had affairs with a number of male celebrities, he did marry and had at least one encounter with a different woman earlier in his life. He is popularly referred to as both homosexual and bisexual though he never openly called himself either; in fact, he suggested in one interview that psychotherapy had enabled him to have relationships with women.
Although Anthony Rapp, the queer stage and screen actor, is best known for originating the role of “Mark Cohen” in the musical Rent, his career began when he was six years old with a title part in the Broadway production of The Little Prince and the Aviator. Along with several Rent revivals and numerous other small roles, Rapp has written original music and a memoir (which he’s since transformed into a production of its own); taken director roles; and gone on a musical tour with another Rent actor. Rapp consistently takes on the roles of queer characters, including a gay man in the short film Grind and a bisexual man in the Broadway production If/Then.
Rapp’s prolific Twitter feed is available here.
Best known for her role as Special Agent Dana Scully in The X-Files, Gillian Anderson is a screen and stage actress with a varied career full of period pieces and recurring characters on television dramas. At the time she took the role of Scully television was looked down upon as a form of entertainment media (she herself had been reluctant to become involved in it), but The X-Files proved to be one of the first shows to demonstrate that the small screen could match its larger cousin: Anderson’s character was among the aspects of the show that inspired future productions, and associated props are now stored in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Outside of acting Anderson is involved in a number of charitable pursuits, listed and described on her website. She has been interviewed several times about her past relationships with women, but was never quoted using a term to define herself; ‘bisexual’ is used here for the sake of tagging.
Anderson’s Facebook account is available here and her Twitter feed is here.
Although she has been acting since the age of eleven months (though not a recognizable one until the film E.T. when she was six), Drew Barrymore has expanded her professional talents to cover other filmmaking roles, such as screenwriting, producing (credits include cult film Donnie Darko), and directing. She co-founded her own production company, Flower Films, in 1995, which has specialized in romantic comedies (‘Flower’ is also the name for a line of cosmetics she helped create). Barrymore can also take credit as a writer: in her autobiography she details her experiences with substance abuse and publicity, and she has released a photobook of heart-shaped objects. She has been out as bisexual since a 2003 interview.
Her Facebook page can be found here and her Instagram account is here.