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The Paul Shenar mystery

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On Wikipedia a few years ago, on the late actor Paul Shenar's entry, it said that the American actor had been romantically linked to Jeremy Brett. Once a group of fans became aware of this and to talk about it on a Holmes forum the entry was quickly modified by someone who clearly found the entry distasteful or wanted to believe it entirely untrue. However, rumours of the relationship continued, fuelled by a photo of Jeremy and Paul together with matching smiles and vests on a beach.

Previously it has been suggested by Terry Manners that Jeremy first saw Gary Bond in 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat', and subsequently formed a relationship with him in 1973. Elsewhere it has been suggested that Gary and Jeremy's relationship lasted seven years, and started when Gary met Jeremy backstage during 'A Talent to Amuse' in 1969. But according to actor's agent David Graham, Gary’s relationship with Jeremy started earlier, in 1963, when Gary Bond was on tour with 'Chips With Everything' in New York.

Had it been within my power to choose, Gary bond would have become my life’s companion.  When ‘Chips With Everything’ was brought to New York [which was in 1963], he was among the original British cast that came with it. Ashley-Steiner had been asked by his agent to represent him, and I was the luckly bloke assigned to look after him. Young blonde and handsome he stuck me as the most beautiful man I had ever seen. One Saturday afternoon between performances Gary came to my apartment for a drink and a snack. We ended up in bed together and I was completely smitten. It was only afterwards I learned he was in a relationship with Jeremy Brett at the time. Page 263 - 264 of Casting About: a Memoir by David Graham

And it seems as though Jeremy and Gary's relationship was definitely over by the time Paul Shenar took a trip to England, and was introduced to Jeremy by David Graham. This may have been in 1973, when Paul Shenar took a trip to Europe: according to Paul Shenar's friend, actress Marsha Mason.

When Paul Shenar was planning a trip to London, he asked if I would give him some names to look up while he was there. I thought he would enjoy meeting both Jeremy and Gary, Jeremy because both he and Paul were actors of like stature. Less than a week after Paul's arrival in London Jeremy and Paul called to say they had fallen madly in love. They remained partners for about five years and as had Jeremy and Gary after their affair was over they remained friends until Paul's untimely death several years later.
Page 265 from 'Casting About: a Memoir' by David Graham

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On December 14th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC), penny_b commented:
Why do you believe this to be absolutely true? He doesn't give dates or any evidence other than he (Graham) spent most of his life screwing around with everyone who wasn't straight, or so he says.

Jeremy did NOT leave Gary for Paul. Period.

Incidentally I am not saying there was no relationship between Jeremy Brett and Paul Shenar as we know there was. I do not believe for a minute that David Graham was lovers with both Gary and Paul as he claims. Evidence says otherwise.

My sources say the relationship with Paul started in 1979. I would rather believe those sources than an eighty-something who still writes about going cruising, and only gossips about dead people.

Edited at 2011-12-14 08:34 pm (UTC)
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On December 14th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC), willowtreedance replied:
I don't believe anything to be absolutely true. The book doesn't state why Jeremy left Gary, so I cannot see how it discredits anything about Gary (I think you are being a bit jumpy). As the book doesn't mention Joan at all at this point, most likely it wasn't of interest to Graham.

It simply states Paul came after Gary, which is what we all know to be the case, right? It's just where after Gary did he come.

Edited at 2011-12-14 08:55 pm (UTC)
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On December 14th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC), penny_b replied:
I think this sort of thing needs to be approached with some caution, that's all. My take on Graham's book is that it reads like a gay gossip's wet dream - and although I am glad to see him confirm both of Jeremy's gay relationships - and as we all know, the more those relationships are discussed the less fuel for those who deliberately ignore or misinform - I don't like his inferences. He does infer that once Jeremy met Paul, he walked from his relationship with Gary and that is absolutely not true.

You also state that Jeremy was with Paul 'shortly after' his relationship with Gary ended. But that's not certain. All we know is that Paul was after Gary. We don't know for certain how long after.

You and I have discussed the Jeremy and Gary issue many times and I have shared with you what I know. I have shared anything new that has come up as it came to light. The Graham book implies a longer relationship between the two than I was aware of, and I am checking that out, as well as the circumstances of their eventual split. The work both you and I have done to put Gary back in Jeremy's life is accurate and a good thing.

I would love to hear from researchers who can place Paul in the picture accurately. I believe this was during his second marriage and would love to know for certain. Paul needs to be acknowledged and remembered - but in context. David Graham's book is problematic and needs further corraboration. I'm sure we will eventually have that as we have had with Gary.
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On December 15th, 2011 04:49 am (UTC), willowtreedance replied:
I understand why you feel a need for caution, and I do agree with it. But as you said, the more those relationships are discussed the less fuel for those who deliberately ignore - as there is no smoke without fire, as the saying goes. My post was simply to cause new questions and further research into the truth. Not to say this book was the absolute truth.

I am still living in hope of tracking down friends of Paul's, as I am sure they would be able to shed some light on matters.

Edited at 2011-12-15 05:11 am (UTC)
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On January 5th, 2013 01:10 am (UTC), sleepy_weasle commented:
Paul Shenar and Jeremy Brett broke-up in 1983.
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On September 9th, 2013 03:34 am (UTC), tripleransom replied:
I'm curious. Do you have a source for dating that so definitely?
On September 9th, 2013 07:26 pm (UTC), greatleslie replied:
I worked with Paul on various projects from 1983 through 1989. During the first project in 1983, one day didn't go well. His agent explained that Paul had just broken-up with Jeremy Brett. Also, at that time, Paul told me that he was starving himself to lose weight for a role in Scarface.
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On September 9th, 2013 09:17 pm (UTC), tripleransom replied:
Thank you for your reply. I wasn't doubting you, BTW, just looking for a citation. First-hand knowledge is a good one.
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On May 27th, 2015 02:51 pm (UTC), thedoublezero commented:
Now here's my question of questions!!! Actually, several questions.
Considering that Jeremy actually married Joan Wilson in 1977, I beg to understand the actual arrangement between them. Because he met her in 1975, broke up with Gary in 1976, moved to the US and married Joan in 1977, met Paul Shenar at some point probably around or before then, moved to LA and lived out there, and Joan stayed in Boston.

Now at the beginning of the marriage they seemed quite content to remain apart; Jeremy insisted that he had married his best friend yet somehow they seemed happy 3500 miles apart. Yet Jeremy enjoyed a happy one on one with Paul on what one would assume was a daily basis.

Now, what I don't get is, what exactly did he tell Joan? Surely with all her knowledge of the business and their own friendship, she would know Jeremy was at that time exclusively gay. But Jeremy wanted back 'in' in Hollywood, so it's obvious the marriage would provide him a US visa to remain. Either he pulled the wool over Joan's eyes with fictional romance, or convinced her that open relationships were ok, or they had an understood, well-informed lavender arrangement for his visa.

But see, something happened in Hollywood. Jeremy became disillusioned. People around them started getting AIDS. Jeremy got only crappy TV gigs. His "Return To My Fair Lady" Hollywood dream was squelched. He got the ITV/Granada gig in 1983. He broke up with Shenar and returned to Joan. And around that time, there emerged New Jeremy: heterosexual, devoted to his wife, walking a straight line, etcetera. He seemed committed enough to Joan to return to her exclusively until she died of cancer.

But after that, gay Jeremy didn't exist. He was too in love with Joan's memory and only seemed interested in the possibility of dating women. The last twelve years of his life, he was walking not just a straight line, but a monastic one.

What I'm seeing here is not something the GLBT community wants to acknowledge. Jeremy pursued his first (assumedly, not counting Eton) gay relationship at the age of 30 after a very acrimonious situation with his wife in the home, but pursuing men was not his first instinct. I suspect rather than being a matter of nature, it was a matter, as with the unsavory issues of days long past, that it was institutionally conditioned.

As such, I don't think Jeremy was really gay, or wanted to be; as a matter of fact I think he hated that about himself. It's possible he used the Hollywood AIDS crisis, the shallowness of the gay social scene and the immense patience of his wife, as excuses to shut the book on that chapter of his life with a hard crack.

So what I'm saying is, he may have married Joan, but it wasn't until 1983 that he fell in love with her, being as patient with his vain playtime lavender BS as a woman possibly can. Then he finally saw who he married and repented his vain mistreatment of people for good, and overcompensated for it the next 12 years. Because let's be honest, he may have been a romantic icon and a total sweetheart toward all in his profession, but Jeremy in practice was a misogynistic butthead in his private life up until Joan finally earned his respect.

I personally wouldn't have had the patience for that nonsense. No wonder he fell in love with Joan, the woman was a saint.
On June 15th, 2015 03:44 am (UTC), Wendy Evans replied:
Re: Now here's my question of questions!!! Actually, several questions.
Interesting thoughts. I don't necessarily think Joan Wilson was a saint. I think Anna Massey was closer to a saint than Joan Wilson. She was living with Jeremy Brett for four years with his untreated bi-polar condition. Imagine what a nightmare that must be on a day to day basis!

If anything, Joan Wilson had the best position. She was married to Brett, a bonafide hottie and nice person. But the Brett-Wilson marriage was a long distance one. Brett says in his TV Guide interview that he and his wife only saw each other 3 months in a year. The long time apart to a certain degree protected Joan from having to deal with the realities of his untreated bi-polar condition. She can have him when he was normal "euthymic" moments, but won't have to deal with him during his crazy, manic phase. So it works for the best for Joan! In addition, Brett can continue with his gay ways continuing relationships with men (i.e. Paul Shenar, Gary Bond).

Edited at 2015-06-15 03:47 am (UTC)
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