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William Haines

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Cause of death
Lung cancer

William Haines


Years active


Film actor

William Haines medialiveauctiongroupneti837897575931jpgv

Full Name
Charles William Haines

January 2, 1900 (

Actor, interior designer

Jimmie Shields (1926–1973)

December 26, 1973, Santa Monica, California, United States

Resting place
Woodlawn Cemetery, Mortuary & Mausoleum

George Haines Jr., Henry Haines, Lillian Haines, Ann Haines

George Adam Haines, Laura Virginia Haines

Alias Jimmy Valentine, Show People, Tell It to the Marines, Spring Fever, West Point

Similar People
King Vidor, Irving Thalberg, Edward Sedgwick, Jack Conway, Joseph W Farnham

William haines camps it up in show people 1928

Charles William "Billy" Haines (January 2, 1900 – December 26, 1973), known professionally as William Haines, was an American film actor and interior designer.


William Haines William Haines Simple English Wikipedia the free

Haines was discovered by a talent scout and signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1922. His career gained momentum when he was loaned out to Columbia Pictures where he received favorable reviews for his role in The Midnight Express. Haines returned to MGM and was cast in the 1926 film Brown of Harvard. The role solidified his screen persona as a wisecracking, arrogant leading man. By the end of the 1920s, Haines had appeared in a string of successful films and was a popular box office draw.

William Haines William Haines

His career was cut short by the 1930s due to his refusal to deny his homosexuality. Haines quit acting in 1935 and started a successful interior design business with his life partner Jimmie Shields, and was supported by friends in Hollywood. Haines died of lung cancer in December 1973 at the age of 73.

William Haines William Haines Simple English Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

William haines and joan crawford

Early life

William Haines The story of William Haines the silent film star and gay icon

Haines was born on January 2, 1900 (he claimed he was born on January 1) in Staunton, Virginia, the third child of George Adam Haines, a cigar maker, and Laura Virginia Haines (née Matthews). Two older siblings died in infancy. He had four younger siblings: Lillian, born in 1902; Ann, born in 1907; George, Jr., born in 1908; and Henry, born in 1917. He was baptized at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton at the age of eight, where he later sang in the choir. He became fascinated with stage performance and motion pictures at an early age, spending hours watching early silent films in the local theatres.

Haines ran away from home at the age of 14, accompanied by an unidentified young man whom Haines referred to as his "boyfriend". The pair went first to Richmond and then to Hopewell, which had a reputation for immorality. Haines and his boyfriend got jobs working at the local DuPont factory, producing nitrocellulose for $50 a week. To supplement their income, the couple opened a dance hall, which may have also served as a brothel. His parents, frantic over his disappearance, tracked him through the police to Hopewell. Haines did not return home with them, remaining instead in Hopewell and sending money back home to help support the family. The couple remained in Hopewell until most of the town was destroyed by fire in 1915. Haines moved to New York City. It is unclear whether his boyfriend accompanied him.

William Haines The story of William Haines the silent film star and gay icon

Following the bankruptcy of the family business and the mental breakdown of George, Sr., the family moved to Richmond in 1916. Haines returned home in 1917 to help support them. With his father recovered and employed, Haines returned to New York City in 1919, settling into the burgeoning gay community of Greenwich Village. He worked a variety of jobs and was for a time the kept man of an older woman before becoming a model. Talent scout Bijou Fernandez discovered Haines as part of the Samuel Goldwyn Company's "New Faces of 1922" contest and the studio signed him to a $40 a week contract. He traveled to Hollywood with fellow contest winner Eleanor Boardman in March of that year.


William Haines William Haines Silent Movie Star goldensilentscom

Haines' career began slowly, as he appeared in extra and bit parts, mostly uncredited. His first significant role was in Three Wise Fools (1923). He attracted positive critical attention and the studio began building him up as a new star. However, he continued to play small, unimportant parts at Goldwyn. It was not until his home studio loaned him to Fox in 1923 for The Desert Outlaw that he got the opportunity to play a significant role. In 1924, MGM lent Haines to Columbia Pictures for a five-picture deal. The first of these, The Midnight Express (1924), received excellent reviews and Columbia offered to buy his contract. The offer was refused and Haines continued in bit roles for Goldwyn. Haines scored his first big personal success with Brown of Harvard (1926) opposite Jack Pickford and Mary Brian. It was in Brown that he crystallized his screen image, a young arrogant man who is humbled by the last reel. It was a formula to which he was repeatedly returned for the next several years.

William Haines William Billy Haines 1900 1973 Find A Grave Memorial

On a trip to New York in 1926, Haines met James "Jimmie" Shields, possibly as a pick-up on the street. Haines convinced Shields to move to Los Angeles, promising to get him work as an extra. The pair were soon living together and viewed themselves as a committed couple.

William Haines THE HAPPIEST MARRIAGE IN HOLLYWOOD The Story of William Haines and

Haines found box office success with Little Annie Rooney (1925), costarring Mary Pickford, and Show People (1928), costarring Marion Davies. Haines was a top-five box office star from 1928 to 1932. He made a successful transition into "talkies" in the part-talking film Alias Jimmy Valentine (1928). His first all-talking film, Navy Blues, was released the following year. He starred in Way Out West in 1930. The 1930 Quigley Poll, a survey of film exhibitors, listed Haines as the top box office attraction in the country.

In 1933, Haines was arrested in a YMCA with a sailor he had picked up in Los Angeles' Pershing Square. Louis B. Mayer, the studio head at MGM, delivered an ultimatum to Haines: Choose between a sham marriage (also known as a "lavender marriage") or his relationship with Shields. Haines chose Shields and they remained together for almost 50 years. Mayer subsequently fired Haines and terminated his contract. He made a few minor films at Poverty Row studios, then retired from acting. His final films were made with Mascot Pictures, Young and Beautiful and The Marines Are Coming in 1934.

Haines never returned to acting, but continued to receive offers for film roles. During production of Sunset Boulevard (1950), Haines was offered a cameo role in the film, which he declined. He later said, "It's a rather pleasant feeling of being away from pictures and being part of them because all my friends are. I can see the nice side of them without seeing the ugly side of the studios."

Interior design

Haines and Shields began a successful dual career as interior designers and antique dealers. Among their early clients were friends such as Joan Crawford, Gloria Swanson, Carole Lombard, Marion Davies and George Cukor. Their lives were disrupted in June 1936 when approximately 100 members of a white supremacist group dragged the two men from their El Porto, Manhattan Beach home and beat them, because a neighbor had accused the two of propositioning his son. The incident was widely reported at the time, but Manhattan Beach police never brought charges against the couple's attackers. The child molestation accusations against Haines and Shields were unfounded and the case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

The couple finally settled in the Hollywood community of Brentwood and their business prospered until their retirement in the early 1970s, except for a brief interruption when Haines served in World War II. Their clients included Betsy Bloomingdale and Ronald and Nancy Reagan when Reagan was governor of California. Maintaining a home in Palm Springs, California, Haines and Ted Graber designed the interiors of Walter and Leonore Annenberg's "Sunnylands" estate in nearby Rancho Mirage.

Final years and death

Haines and Shields remained together until Haines' death. Joan Crawford described them as "the happiest married couple in Hollywood."

On December 26, 1973, Haines died from lung cancer in Santa Monica, California at the age of 73. Soon afterward, Shields took an overdose of sleeping pills. His suicide note read in part, "Goodbye to all of you who have tried so hard to comfort me in my loss of William Haines, whom I have been with since 1926. I now find it impossible to go it alone, I am much too lonely." They were interred side by side in Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery in Santa Monica.


For his contribution to the motion picture industry, William Haines has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 7012 Hollywood Blvd.

William Haines Designs remains in operation, with main offices in West Hollywood and showrooms in New York, Denver and Dallas.

Haines' life story is told in the 1998 Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star by William J. Mann, and his designs are the subject of Peter Schifando and Haines associate Jean H. Mathison's 2005 book Class Act: William Haines Legendary Hollywood Decorator.

World of Wonder produced Out of the Closet, Off the Screen: The Life of William Haines, which aired on American Movie Classics in 2001.

As part of her 15-part MGM Stories, Karina Longworth chronicled Haines in the podcast William Haines and Hollywood's First Openly Gay Marriage in October 2015. Haines was voiced by actor Wil Wheaton.


The Marines Are Coming as
Lt. William 'Wild Bill' Traylor
Young and Beautiful as
Robert Preston
Fast Life as
Sanderson 'Sandy' Burton
Are You Listening? as
Bill Grimes
New Adventures of Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford as
Just a Gigolo as
Lord Robert Brummel
The Stolen Jools (Short) as
Bill Haines
A Tailor Made Man as
John Paul Bart
Remote Control as
William Judd Brennan
Way Out West as
Free and Easy as
William Haines - Guest at Premiere
The Girl Said No as
Tom Ward
Navy Blues as
Speedway as
Bill Whipple
The Hollywood Revue of 1929 as
William Haines
A Man's Man as
The Duke Steps Out as
Duke Corbin
Alias Jimmy Valentine as
Jimmy Valentine
Show People as
Billy Boone
Excess Baggage as
Eddie Kane
Telling the World as
Don Davis
The Smart Set as
Tommy Van Buren
West Point as
Brice Wayne
Spring Fever as
Jack Kelly
Slide, Kelly, Slide as
Jim Kelly
A Little Journey as
George Manning
Tell It to the Marines as
Private 'Skeet' Burns
Lovey Mary as
Billy Wiggs
Brown of Harvard as
Tom Brown
Memory Lane as
Joe Field
The Thrill Hunter as
Peter J. Smith
Mike as
Sally, Irene and Mary as
Jimmy Dugan
Little Annie Rooney as
Joe Kelley
The Tower of Lies as
Fighting the Flames as
Horatio Manly Jr
A Slave of Fashion as
Dick Wayne
The Denial as
Lyman - Lover in Flashback
Who Cares as
A Fool and His Money as
John Smart
The Wife of the Centaur as
Edward Converse
So This Is Marriage?
Circe the Enchantress as
William Craig
Married Flirts as
William Haines (uncredited)
Wine of Youth as
Hal Martin
The Gaiety Girl as
Owen Tudor St. John
The Midnight Express as
Jack Oakes
True As Steel as
Gilbert Morse
Three Weeks as
Three Wise Fools as
Gordon Schuyler
Souls for Sale as
Lost and Found on a South Sea Island as
Brothers Under the Skin as
Bit Part (uncredited)
Art Director
Just a Gigolo (uncredited)
Production Designer
Craig's Wife (uncredited)
The Girl Said No (performer: "Annie Laurie" (ca. 1834), "Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms" (1808) - uncredited)
Navy Blues (performer: "Navy Blues" (1929), "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean" (1843) (uncredited), "Bringing in the Sheaves" (1880) (uncredited), "O Sole Mio" (1848) (uncredited))
Set Decorator
Young and Beautiful (Short)
Lost and Found on a South Sea Island (stunt double: House Peters)
Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion Davies (TV Movie documentary) as
Self (1969 audiotape interview) (voice, uncredited)
Estrellados as
Self (Guest Appearance)
Voices Across the Sea (Short) as
1925 Studio Tour (Documentary short) as
Self (uncredited)
Archive Footage
Women He's Undressed (Documentary)
Out of the Closet, Off the Screen: The Life of William Haines (Documentary) as
Zelig as
The Big Parade of Comedy (Documentary) as
Actor in Theater Lobby (uncredited)
Hollywood Without Make-Up (Documentary) as


William Haines Wikipedia

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