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Did Roddy McDowall ever come out of the closet?

Roddy McDowall was a talented British-American actor who starred in over 120 films and television productions during his lifetime. Throughout his successful acting career, Roddy was known for his impeccable talent, his charming personality, and his iconic movie roles. However, behind the scenes, there was a great deal of speculation about McDowall’s personal life, particularly his sexuality. In this blog post, we will delve into the question, “Did Roddy McDowall ever come out of the closet?” and explore the actor’s legacy.

Making a Name for Himself in Hollywood

Roddy McDowall first rose to fame in Hollywood during the 1940s. He started his career as a child actor and appeared in films like “How Green Was My Valley” and “Lassie Come Home.” His acting skills soon earned him critical acclaim, and he became one of Hollywood’s most beloved child stars.

As McDowall grew up, he continued to work in the entertainment industry, landing several starring roles in both television and movie productions. In the 1960s, he became a renowned character actor and appeared in many sci-fi and horror films, including “Planet of the Apes” and “Fright Night.”

Despite his successful career, McDowall’s personal life remained private, and he rarely spoke publicly about his sexual orientation.

The Speculation About McDowall’s Sexuality

Despite McDowall’s silence regarding his sexuality, rumors and speculation about his personal life were rampant in Hollywood. The idea that he was gay was one of Hollywood’s worst-kept secrets, and many of McDowall’s colleagues and fans believed he was homosexual.

There were several reasons for this speculation. For one thing, McDowall never married or had any children. He was also known for his close relationships with male actors and celebrities like Dirk Bogarde, Montgomery Clift, and Elizabeth Taylor.

In addition, McDowall was involved in several theater productions that had themes related to homosexuality, including the play “The Killing of Sister George,” which explored themes of lesbianism.

Despite these signs, McDowall never publicly acknowledged his sexuality or confirmed any of the rumors that surrounded him. However, one of his co-stars did make an interesting statement that added to the speculation.

A Co-Star’s Statement

In the early 1990s, McDowall starred in the television series “Batman: The Animated Series,” alongside co-star Paul Reubens. During an interview with The Advocate, Reubens made an interesting comment about McDowall’s sexuality. When asked about his co-star, Reubens said, “I remember once he said something to me about being gay, but that was all he ever said.”

While Reubens’ statement doesn’t explicitly confirm McDowall’s sexuality, it certainly adds to the ongoing speculation about it.

The Legacy of Roddy McDowall

Despite the rumors and speculation about his personal life, Roddy McDowall left an indelible mark on Hollywood and the entertainment industry. His talent and skill as an actor were unparalleled, and his performances continue to inspire and entertain audiences today.

In addition to his acting career, McDowall was also an accomplished photographer and director. He contributed significantly to the industry in these areas and, after his passing in 1998, his estate donated a large collection of his photographs to the Motion Picture Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library.


In conclusion, the question of whether or not Roddy McDowall ever came out of the closet remains shrouded in mystery. While there were certainly signs and rumors of his sexuality, McDowall never confirmed them publicly. Regardless, the actor’s talent, charisma, and legacy serve as an enduring reminder of the rich and complex history of Hollywood and its stars.


What happened to Roddy McDowall?

Roddy McDowall was a British actor and photographer who had a successful career in both Hollywood and British films. He started his acting career as a child actor in British films, and later became a prominent character actor in Hollywood.

McDowall was born on September 17, 1928, in Herne Hill, London, England. He began his acting career at the age of 10, appearing in British films such as “Murder in the Family” (1938) and “This Happy Breed” (1944). He continued to act in British films throughout the 1950s, including in the horror classics “Dead of Night” (1945) and “The Innocents” (1961).

In the 1960s, McDowall became a prominent character actor in Hollywood. He appeared in films such as “Cleopatra” (1963), “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965), and “Planet of the Apes” (1968). He also appeared on television shows such as “The Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits”.

McDowall continued to act in films and TV shows throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including in the films “Fright Night” (1985) and “A Bug’s Life” (1998).

McDowall was a closeted homosexual and never publicly came out. He was also a talented photographer and took portraits of many of his Hollywood friends and colleagues.

McDowall died on October 3, 1998, from lung cancer in his Studio City, Los Angeles, California home, at the age of 70. He never married and had no children, but he left behind a legacy of memorable performances in film and television.

Did Roddy McDowall wear a wig?

Roddy McDowall was a talented actor known for his diverse roles both on stage and screen. One question that has arisen throughout his career is whether or not he wore a wig during certain performances or appearances, and the answer is yes, he did.

One notable instance of Roddy McDowall wearing a wig was during an episode of “The Carol Burnett Show,” which aired on March 16, 1974. During this particular appearance, McDowall appeared in a black tuxedo while also wearing the wig and prosthetics that he used as the character Cornelius in the “Planet of the Apes” film series.

In addition to this appearance, there are other instances where McDowall wore wigs for various roles. For example, in the film “Cleopatra” (1963), McDowall wore a wig to transform himself into the role of Octavian. He also wore wigs during his performances in Shakespearean plays, as was common for actors during that time.

It is important to note that wearing wigs is a common practice in the entertainment industry, particularly for actors playing a wide range of roles. Wigs and other forms of prosthetics can help to create a certain appearance or transformation for a character, and can be an important part of bringing a role to life.

There is evidence to suggest that Roddy McDowall did wear a wig during certain performances and appearances, including during his time on “The Carol Burnett Show” and his role in “Cleopatra.” Wigs and other prosthetics have long been a part of the entertainment industry, and are an important tool for actors to create a convincing and believable character.

Why was Roddy McDowall not in beneath the Planet of the Apes?

Roddy McDowall was an integral part of the Planet of the Apes films, portraying the character Cornelius in the first film, and later returning as Cornelius’s son Caesar in the third and fourth installments of the series. However, fans of the series may notice that McDowall’s character is notably absent from the second film, Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

The reason for his absence can be attributed to scheduling conflicts. McDowall was committed to another project at the time of filming for Beneath the Planet of the Apes and was unable to reprise his role as Cornelius. To fill the void left by McDowall’s absence, the filmmakers introduced a new character, Brent, played by James Franciscus. Brent served as a surrogate for the audience and played the role of the human protagonist in the film.

It should be noted that while McDowall did not appear in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, he did return for the subsequent films in the series. He reprised his role as Caesar in the third film, Escape from the Planet of the Apes and the fourth film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Despite his absence in the second film, McDowall’s impact on the series cannot be overstated, as his performances helped to establish the franchise as a cultural phenomenon that endured for decades to come.