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Brita Addams

Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star - William J. Mann Billy Haines was a long-forgotten silent and early talkies star, driven out of pictures by a bigoted studio head, Louis B. Mayer. Billy refused to knuckle under to Mayer's demand that he marry to cover up his homosexuality. Billy lived openly with his lover, Jimmie Shields, for a total of 47 years and never apologized for loving him.

The book is a well-written portrait of a classy man. Being a star was only part of what he accomplished in his life. His legacy, from my view-point, is two-fold. First, he gave it all up for love. Secondly, he went on to have a decades long career in interior design, which made him world-renowned for his taste and class. His business, William Haines Designs, still exists today, carrying on Billy's view of design.

Poignant, uplifting and wonderfully written, I became a huge fan of Billy Haines all over again.

RIP Billy and Jimmie. You were both a class act all the way.