Tuesday, April 6, 2010


No excuses, but in one afternoon we found ourselves watching Gig Young back to back, courting Joan Crawford in "Torch Song" and Katharine Hepburn in "Desk Set." Both these pairings must have tested the powers of suspended disbelief even back in the 50s. But at least in "Torch Song he is clearly identified as Crawford's boy toy, getting through his duties in a haze of liquor and self-deprecating quips. In one scene she lets him know he's "useless...but beautiful" (which can also be subtexted a complaint for services not rendered.)

In "Desk Set" he's a fast-rising executive stringing Hepburn along, hinting at make-out sessions and marriage. The subtext here is that sex and romance lie elsewhere for him but, darn it, that Hepburn would sure make the kind of wife that would boost his career.

Born Byron Elsworth Barr, we loved Gig Young and the good looks and killer charm he used on his leading ladies and the audience. We sensed that he was not happy as an actor, always playing the guy the girl dumped for another.

At least he was given an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1969 for "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" And that's the way we want to remember him.

1 comment:

  1. I remember him as funny in a cynic sort of way. Tony Randall type. He was sweet in "Teacher's Pet" and well..."They Shoot Horses..." was his claim to fame. Also played great alcoholics, maybe because tragically he was one. Not my idea of a leading man I think, psycologically ,always losing the girl made him less atractive to me...btw...I can't see his picture on your post???