“Will & Grace,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “The Birdcage, “Boys Don’t Cry.” These and other films and television shows are featured in “Reel to Real,” an exhibit at the Hollywood Museum about portrayals and perceptions of gay people in Hollywood.
The items on display include a “photo wall” with images of actors who have portrayed characters that have become gay icons over the years, including Annette Bening in “The Kids are All Right,” Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs,” Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet in “Modern Family,” Colin Firth in “A Single Man,” Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in “Brokeback Mountain,” Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack in “Will & Grace,” Felicity Huffman in “Transamerica, Nathan Lane and Robin Williams in “The Birdcage,” Sean Penn and James Franco in “Milk” and Hilary Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry.”
Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black’s on-set chairs are shown with various awards he has received. Featured outfits include Michael Douglas’ suit from “Behind the Candelabra,” Nathan Lane’s costume from “The Birdcage”, cast costumes from the gay wedding from “Days of Our Lives” and outfits worn by Sonny and Cher. A display of celebrity hair stylist Dean Banowetz’s work includes masks made for Ryan Seacrest and Sanjaya used for his work on “American Idol.”
Display cases contain items from television shows associated with such award-winning craftsmen as graphic designer Sandy Devore; Amy Feldman, art director for “2 Broke Girls;” Norman Buckley, director for “Pretty Little Liars;” Ron Franco, set decorator for “True Blood,” and Duane Poole, writer/producer for TV, film and theatre, best known for “One Christmas” with Katherine Hepburn. One of the pieces displayed from “True Blood” is a pink-lined coffin Franco designed to look like a Chanel handbag for Pam’s character (Kristin Bauer van Straten) on the show.
In addition to some of his personal effects, the Roddy McDowall Powder Room contains photos and quotes supporting LGBT from Antonio Banderas, Kristin Chenoweth, Bette Davis, Rupert Everett, Tina Fey, Portia de Rossi, Ian McKellen, Marilyn Monroe, Daniel Radcliffe and Betty White, among others.
Along with a cocktail dress belonging to Elizabeth Taylor, there are her quotes regarding Rock Hudson and AIDS: “It’s bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance” and “Because of Rock (Hudson) that damned disease had an identity, AIDS finally has a face.”
The exhibit, which runs through July 20, features photos, costumes, props and iconic imagery from the past and present, illustrating early stereotypes as well as modern representations of gay people.
The Hollywood Museum is at 1660 N. Highland Ave. at Hollywood Boulevard. It is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Tickets ($5 for children aged 5 and under, $12 for seniors 65 and older and for students and $15 for adults) are available online.