Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Born Today In 1932, Actor, Director Anthony Perkins

Anthony Perkins was born today, April 4, in 1932. He was an American actor, director, and singer. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his second film, Friendly Persuasion, but is best known for playing Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and its three sequels.

Perkins was born in New York City, son of stage and film actor Osgood Perkins. He was five when his father died. Perkins was a descendant of a Mayflower passenger, John Howland. He attended Brooks School, Browne & Nichols School, Columbia University and Rollins College, having moved to Boston in 1942.

Perkins made his film debut in The Actress (1953). The film was a commercial disappointment. Perkins was first really noticed when he replaced John Kerr on Broadway in the lead of Tea and Sympathy in 1954. This renewed Hollywood interest in him.

Perkins received a lot of attention for his second film, Friendly Persuasion (1956), playing the son of Gary Cooper under the direction of William Wyler. The film was very successful and Perkins received the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor and an Academy Award nomination.

He released three pop music albums in 1957 and 1958 on Epic and RCA Victor as "Tony Perkins." His single "Moon-Light Swim" was a hit in the United States, peaking at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957. He showcased his musical talents in The Matchmaker (1958) with Shirley Booth and Shirley MacLaine.

A life member of the Actors Studio, Perkins also acted in theater. In 1958, he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance in Look Homeward, Angel (1957–59) on Broadway. 

Perkins was Audrey Hepburn's love interest in Green Mansions (1959), one of Hepburn's few flops. He was a doomed lover in On the Beach (1959) and played a college basketball champion in Tall Story (1960), best remembered for being Jane Fonda's film debut.

On Broadway, he starred in the Frank Loesser musical Greenwillow (1960), for which he was nominated for another Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Perkins in youth had a boyish, earnest quality, reminiscent of the young James Stewart, which Alfred Hitchcock exploited and subverted when the actor starred as Norman Bates in the 1960 film Psycho. The film was a critical and commercial success, and gained Perkins international fame for his performance as the homicidal owner of the Bates Motel. Perkins' performance gained him the Best Actor Award from the International Board of Motion Picture Reviewers. The role and its multiple sequels affected the remainder of his career.

In 1961, Perkins received considerable critical acclaim for his performance in the film Goodbye Again, shot in Paris opposite Ingrid Bergman, a performance which won him the Best Actor Award at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival. The film was a notable success in France but not the US.

He appeared in a short-lived Broadway play Harold (1962) then made a series of films in Europe, including Une ravissante idiote (1964) with Brigitte Bardot.

Perkins moved into supporting roles in Hollywood-feature films, playing Chaplain Tappman in Catch-22 (1970). Off Broadway, he appeared in and directed Steambath (1970).

Perkins co-wrote, with composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, the screenplay for the 1973 film The Last of Sheila, for which they received a 1974 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay.

Perkins was one of the many stars featured in the 1974 hit Murder on the Orient Express. He enjoyed success on Broadway in Peter Shaffer's 1974 play Equus (where he was a replacement in the leading role originally played by Anthony Hopkins). Off Broadway he directed The Wager (1974).

Perkins supported Diana Ross in Mahogany (1975) and hosted television's Saturday Night Live in 1976.

He starred in Psycho II in 1983, and starred and directed Psycho III (for which he was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actor) in 1986, but refused to reprise his role as Bates in a failed, 1987 television pilot, Bates Motel, famously boycotting that project in a very ardent, and well-received, oppositional, public campaign.

Although he was fighting AIDS, he appeared in eight television productions between 1990 and 1992, including Daughter of Darkness (1990) and The Naked Target (1992). He made his final appearance in In the Deep Woods (1992) with Rosanna Arquette.

Perkins was an extremely shy person, especially in the company of women. According to the posthumous biography Split Image by Charles Winecoff, he had exclusively same-sex relationships until his late 30s, including with a virtual who's who of Hollywood. His rumored lovers include actors Rock Hudson, Paul Newman, James Dean, Troy Donahue, and Tab Hunter; artist Christopher Makos; dancer Rudolf Nureyev; composers Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein; and dancer-choreographer Grover Dale. Perkins has been described as one of the two great men in the life of French songwriter Patrick Loiseau.

Perkins reportedly had his first heterosexual experience at age 39 with actress Victoria Principal on location filming The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean in 1971. He met photographer Berinthia "Berry" Berenson, the younger sister of actress and model Marisa Berenson, at a party in New York City in 1972. They married when he was aged 41, on August 9, 1973, and had two sons: actor Oz Perkins (b. February 2, 1974), and musician Elvis Perkins (b. February 9, 1976).

Diagnosed with HIV during the filming of the TV movie, Psycho IV: The Beginning, Perkins died at his Los Angeles home on September 12, 1992, from AIDS-related pneumonia at age 60. His widow died nine years later on American Airlines Flight 11 in the September 11 attacks.


Raybeard said...

Had no idea that music and musicals were such a large part of his life. Must have just passed me by, or it didn't register. Certainly didn't know he'd made recordings. Unexplored territory for me to get to know.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

I didn't know he had a career in music! I only knew of him in his later years, wow he was quite handsome when young. I honestly also did not know he was gay or bisexual, nor do I remember hearing he died of aids. I am also shocked at the statement he dated Paul Newman, I have never heard any mention that Paul was bisexual.