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LGBT People of History 95 - Anthony Perkins

Updated on May 10, 2012
Anthony Perkins
Anthony Perkins | Source
Bates House at Universal Studios
Bates House at Universal Studios | Source
Genuine Bates Motel towel
Genuine Bates Motel towel | Source

Anthony Perkins

Anthony Perkins (1932 – 1992) was a movie actor famous for one role – Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ (1960). He did have many other roles but became typecast and found it difficult to get other big meaningful roles to exhibit his enormous acting talent after this. He also acted on stage and recorded music albums. He was primarily gay.

He was born in New York City. His father was James Ripley Osgood Perkins, a stage and film actor and his mother was Janet Esselstyn. When he was five Anthony’s father died of a heart attack. They moved to Boston in 1942.

His first film in 1953 was ‘The Actress’ for which he received a Golden Globe. He was nominated for an Academy Award in ‘Friendly Persuasion’ (1956). His next films were successful and he also recorded three pop music albums. He tended to play troubled, frail, delicate or agitated characters. He also acted in theatre with the likes of Sophia Loren and Jane Fonda.

But it was in 1960 that he gained international fame playing Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’. Bates was a tortured soul – not a monster. Anthony’s natural sensitivity, shyness and agitation made him perfect for the role which he played with vulnerability and chillingness. Who can ever forget the shower scene or the soaring troubled violin music? He was not even nominated for an Academy Award for this role, which is very difficult to understand.

He subsequently performed in more movies including ‘Catch-22’ (1970) and ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (1974) alongside many Hollywood stars.

He was a shy person and was mainly homosexual. It is said that he had a number of relationships including with Tab Hunter, Alan Helms, Grover Dale and Rudolf Nureyev in the 1950s and 60s. It is possible he married Berry Berenson because a magazine was about to ‘expose’ him. He had 2 sons, Oz and Elvis.

In 1992, he died of AIDS, but was never bitter about it. His wife was murdered in the horror that was 9/11.

Ian and Callum.

With thanks to Wikipedia and IMDb.


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    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thank you, Kebennett1. I shall never forget his performance in 'Psycho'!

    • Kebennett1 profile image

      Kebennett1 5 years ago from San Bernardino County, California

      Very informative hub. Good writing and research.

    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      But he has his position firmly in the annals of movie history!


    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      So sad about him too, and his wife.