This is Part Three of my long interview that took place in Lubbock, Texas in the summer of 2014.
Just to clear up any confusion, the interview is REAL and was conducted by my friend Douglas Elliot, who is the editor of an "alternative" publishing company in Los Angeles.
I decided to post it on my blog simply to reveal something of my colorful past - - and to establish the fact that I'm not just a mundane cat-loving hick living in the back woods of Tennessee.
(that's my Big Ego talking.....)
Part one and two of the interview can be found at the following links:
What do you think the differences are between women and men?
Well, obviously their physical plumbing.
Well, we're all unique individuals. No two people are alike. It's unrealistic to categorize and stigmatize people according to their gender. I view men and women on equal terms.
Spoken like a true politician. Come on, Jon. Tell us what you really think.
What I really think? Okay, I'll play along. Women are far more emotionally charged than men. They absorb like sponges and retain the water. Men merely sip enough moisture to survive.
I'm perplexed. Elaborate.
Okay. How about an example? Men can say anything to each other. In five minutes it's forgotten and they go on with their lives.
Women carefully retain everything that men say and store it verbatim in their memory bank - in astonishingly minute detail. They remember it for a lifetime, analyzing it, dissecting it, embellishing it, regurgitating it, and forcing you to eat it. Then they dangle it menacingly over your deathbed, lest you forget it in the throes of your dying breath.
Wow! Do I detect sarcasm?
Heck, I can detect all the pins that will be put in Jonathan voodoo dolls after women read this. Ouch!
Are you for equal rights between the sexes?
That's an old, stale question from the 60's. We have equal rights. Women and minorities reign supreme. The evil white man is finally on the bottom of the totem pole where he belongs.
You're saying that in jest, aren't you?
There's always truth in my jests - - truth that many people don't like to hear. There are those of us who, unfortunately, enjoy being victims and derive nourishment from bitching about the ancient past. I'm all for human rights, but there have to be limits. Life is damn tough for everyone - - women, men, black, white, gays, straights, Martians.......it's an unfair bitch of a world. And it always will be.
Some people would say you're a chauvinist or racist.
And some people would say I'm a realist.
What is your relationship with women?
I've always gotten along with women far better than I ever did with men. At least until today. There's a curious feminine side to my nature. Call it "artistic". I've always liked women better than men - - except in bed, of course. Men can be extremely difficult and emotionally detached. They can be real bastards.
And women can be bitches?
Hey, you said it. I didn't.
You were close to your mother, weren't you?
Extremely close. Probably too close. She was one of my best friends and confidants. My anchor in a sea of chaos. She was an extraordinary woman - and this is not false idealization contrived after her death. She was truly beautiful and brilliant.
You never got along with your father, did you?
To say that I was terrified of my father would be an understatement. I feared him almost until the day he died. He was without a doubt the most violent person I ever knew. The physical and mental abuse that I and my mother endured from him is almost incomprehensible. He robbed me of every ounce of confidence. For the duration of my troubled youth I despised him and loathed myself. I had an alarmingly potent self-destructive streak. I never forgave my father for the abuse until shortly before he died. I'm glad I did. All of my hate has vanished.
The fear of -
I want to say one more thing. My father's abuse was never sexual - just to clear that up. But it was extreme physical and mental abuse.
The terror of your father didn't dissuade you from having sex with men. Why?
I think, subconsciously, it encouraged me to seek men. I was initially searching for a father figure - - along with validation. I lived in Hollywood, where anything goes. Gay men always found me physically attractive. It fed my depleted ego. My transition to the plains of Sodom was swift and seamless. Father figure? Hell, when I was twenty-three I was having an affair with a man in his fifties. Robert was an ex-model who owned a posh boutique on Melrose Avenue. He wanted me to move in with him. I never did.
He was a sugar daddy?
Hell no. I didn't play that game. Games are not my style. I never accepted money or compensation from anyone. Ever. What I wanted was attention, validation, love, sex. In retrospect, I should have accepted money - but I wasn't that type. A movie producer - one whose name you would recognize - had a crush on me. We had a torrid fling. I remember one occasion when we spent three days in the Beverly Hills Hotel drinking and having sex. It was superficial entertainment. I was undoubtedly only one in his collection of pretty boys.
Were you a so-called pretty boy?
Not by a long shot in my opinion, but a lot of other people thought I was. I played along, feigning toughness and pretending I was dumb. It was all major bullshit, a monotonous game.
I'd be in a bar, and a guy would sit down next to me and go through the typical crude routine.
"You're cute," he'd say. "Do you have a big cock?"
And I'd inevitably answer "Yea. It's so big that I left half of it at home."
I thought so.
Typical of the gay lifestyle, isn't it?
Depressingly typical. Monogamy is seldom heard of. It's considered a dirty word. The lifestyle wears thin after awhile. Endless nights, nameless conquests. Rampant promiscuity is lonelier than having no one at all. I left Hollywood when I was thirty-four. Just in time.
Just in time?
I wasn't exactly aging, but I was completely burned out. I'd seen it all and done it all. I was ready to move on. Explore new horizons.
And you eventually wound up in the wastelands of West Texas.
I explained all of that in one of our previous interviews. Fate does strange and unexpected things. Despite what the optimists tell you, we don't always have control over what happens in our lives. Texas has been one hell of a learning experience. I quickly shed my lingering boyhood and became a man here. A bitter, tormented, miserable man - - but a man, nevertheless (laughs). Texas ain't for sissies. I consider it to be a punishment for all my previous sins.
Do you consider yourself to be a sinful person?
We're all sinners in our own unique way. Some more than others. I'm definitely not proud of the things I've done in the past but I don't deny them. And I sure as hell enjoyed them.
Have you ever had any serious relationships?
Yes. Extremely serious. But it would take far too long to detail them here.
Have you ever had sex with women?
You're still obsessed with the gender thing, aren't you? Short answer - yes. I was an equal-opportunity sperm donor.
Now you're getting nasty.
I'm merely being honest. Which is a rather refreshing virtue.
Most of the pertinent questions were covered in our first two interviews. This time around will be more of a free-style endeavor.
I'm plied with beer and up for anything.
Do you have any deep, dark secrets?
Secrets? Do you mean secrets like murder, robbery, blackmail, or sex with panda bears?
Well, sort of.
I stole a library book once. That's about it. I'm not very secretive. Does that disappoint? I honestly harbor very few secrets.
Do you enjoy watching porn?
I prefer participating in it (smile). Actually, too much porn is absolutely tedious, to the point where it can be a real turnoff. Porn is largely brutal nowadays and unimaginatively contrived. I can easily live without it. I knew a few porn producers in Hollywood. Not exactly my favorite people. I was offered a role in a gay sex flick. I kid you not.
Did you accept the offer?
Hell, no. Despite rumors to the contrary, I do have some semblance of dignity.
What are your favorite movies?
You mean porn movies? Like Peter North Does Redondo Beach?
No, I mean legitimate movies.
Thank you, sir. You've heroically rescued me from smutland. I'm an absolute movie addict and have probably seen every film ever made (slight exaggeration). I have far too many favorites to mention. I can rattle off a random few that come to mind.
Ironically, three of my ultra-favorite films are by the same director - William Wyler: The Letter, The Heiress, and Wuthering Heights. Superb films. I never tire of watching them.
The Bad Seed, The Pawnbroker, Two Women, The Virgin Spring, Death in Venice, Out of Africa, The Graduate. I first saw The Graduate in Hollywood with my high school journalism class when I was fifteen. It reminds me so much of my California youth.
A Place in the Sun, with Liz Taylor and Monty Clift. It's a classic.
I'm into silent films big time. Mare Nostrum and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, both directed by Rex Ingram. Ben Hur, 1925, directed by Fred Niblo. Starring Ramon Novarro. Infinitely better than the 1959 remake. What Price Glory?, The Big Parade, Sunrise. Wings - which won the very first Oscar in 1927. Wings is incredible.
Wings contains the first gay kissing scene between two men ever filmed, doesn't it?
Well, it wasn't a sex scene. It was a gesture of supreme affection. Buddy Rogers kissed his friend Richard Arlen when he was dying. Far too much sexual speculation has been put into that scene.
There's an old Russian film called Ballad of a Soldier that I think is a minor masterpiece. And there's a wonderful minor French film called Zita. Nobody's ever heard of either of them but they're among my favorites. Hey, how about Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Bette Davis deserved the Oscar, but Anne Bancroft stole it from her that year for The Miracle Worker.
You've lived in Hollywood and were into the scene. Do you have memories of being on any movie sets?
I wasn't exactly into the scene, but I've caused a few scenes there. If I start mentioning specific movies, people will Google them and say "Holy shit, he's old". I was a mere child when I lived in Hollywood. I'd like to take this time to deny the nasty rumor that I was in the cast of the 1921 version of Camille with Alla Nazimova.
Nazimova hired an all gay and lesbian cast, didn't she?
That's what I heard. Valentino was in it. Along with lots of lavish Art Deco sets. And, of course, Nazimova's hair. Big, big hair. And a big ego.
And back to my original question.......
I was privileged to be on the sets of several movies. The very first one was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. My lover at that time was working on the picture. I got to meet Peter Frampton, among others. Around that same time I appeared in Malibu Beach. Both movies bombed. I was an extra in about a dozen movies, all largely forgettable.
I actually saw some of the old movie sets at the rapidly decaying MGM Studio. A few of them were from The Wizard of Oz. Remember the scene in the poppy field where the potent flowers put everyone to sleep? Old, dusty, plastic flowers.
The Golden Age of Hollywood was already long dead when I lived there, but wonderfully interesting remnants still remained. I was extremely fortunate to see many of them. I'm very greatful for that.
What is your most memorable Hollywood moment?
Probably the time I crashed the Oscars - the Academy Award show at the L.A. Music Center. I was only eighteen years old. I sneaked in and saw part of the show. I don't think any one else ever successfully accomplished that feat.
Have you ever wanted to be an actor?
Never. My ego isn't big enough. I enjoyed teetering on the outskirts of stardom. I had no desire to be an actor, but I played around with a few of them.
Care to elaborate?
Your life has been unusually interesting, to say the least. Do you still have any dreams?
Well, I have a helluva lot of nightmares - that's for sure. They seem to multiply in declining years. My biggest dream is to get out of Texas alive, but it's seeming more impossible every day.
I want to revise two books that I've already written and published privately. I also want to write my Hollywood memoirs and finish a novel. Those are not exactly dreams. They're projects. And potential nightmares.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness is such a remote notion that even a fanciful idea of it is inconceivable.
I suppose my idea of perfect happiness would be having eternal youth and good health, ample money in the bank, a nice house filled with books, cats, and pianos that are in perfect tune - - and being surrounded by my favorite friends and relatives.
And, of course, surviving a tedious interview.
These were only random excerpts from a two hour