By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Meanwhile, let's raise a burnt toast to urban legendsthose scandalicious celebrity myths that spread like rabies, getting more outlandishly appealing with each retelling. These tales reassure usalbeit sometimes via untruthsthat stars can be just as outrageous as we are, so we keep spreading them as if playing an uncensored game of Telephone. Besides, where there's smoke, there are generally flamers.
To recap some of history's best myths and misses: (1) Screen legend ROCK HUDSON married sitcom star JIM NABORS. I think that one started because of an old joke, "If Rock Hudson married Gomer Pyle, he'd be Rock Pyle." It helped that the two were indeed close and both happened to be sisters. But they never married! Each other! (2) JAMIE LEE CURTIS was born between two gender worlds. Well, people may have started this chestnut because she's tomboyish, she adopts, and her husband plays a really good gay. But that wasn't nearly enough sourcing for me, so I once asked her mother, the late, great Janet Leigh, for the rumor's real genesis. She flinched, then said maybe it was because she named her daughter Jamie Lee before she was born, seeing as a friend advised her to advance-name the kid something that would fit either way. The result has verged on a lifelong Pat sketch. (3) RICHARD GERE plays with gerbils. Gere supposedly feels this was started by Sly Stallone, who had a dispute with him early in their careers. The charge must have been rather monosyllabic: "Gere. Gerbil. Ass. Yo." (4) ROD STEWART had to have his stomach pumped because he sucked off 17 sailors in a row. Maybe Stallone started that one too, but it's patently untrue because you can suck off hundreds of sailors and not have to get your stomach pumped. So say my friends! (5) DAVID GEFFEN marriedKEANU REEVES. People probably confused them with Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors. (6) MERV GRIFFIN does wild things with chocolate bars. Well, his casino does have that amazing buffet! (7) RICHARD SIMMONS answers the door in a diaper and says, "I've been a bad boy. Please spank me." If only.
By the way, I've been getting some light spanking myself for Out magazine's "glass closet" cover story about stars like ANDERSON COOPER and JODIE FOSTER who perform the delicate trick of living semi-out lives while not committing to being gay on the record. In addition to praise, the story has incited the usual storms of outrage, and I honestly don't have the energy to fight the same old creatures who feel that saying a famous person is gayeven when he/she is hiding in plain sightis a hateful, maligning abomination. So I'll just link you to my Voice piece from two years ago countering the whinings about my last Out article on Cooper. It's at www.villagevoice.com/nyclife/0512,webmusto,62236,15.html. Then we can all go back to pretending we aren't interested in who anyone's fucking.
Update: A friend swears he saw Cooper Sunday night at the Chelsea bar XES Lounge. Doesn't seem like he's exactly fighting the story, is he?