Lilyan Tashman

Pauline Starke and Lilyan Tashman in Bright Lights, 1925

Lilyan Tashman (October 23, 1896 – March 21, 1934), pictured here standing, was a Jewish girl from Brooklyn who made her start in vaudeville and progressed to silent film. She tended to play very snarky, clever “bad girl” roles, often tongue in cheek. As author Eve Golden put it, her performances are "sharp, clever and have aged little over the decades.“

A lesbian whose sapphic affairs were well known, she married her friend, gay actor Edmund Lowe, in 1925 and the two were much loved socially in Hollywood and known for their extravagent parties.

She died of cancer at the age of 37.


In honor of LGBT Pride Month…we celebrate a few of the men and women of Classic Hollywood who paved the way. A few brave trailblazers lived openly, many were closeted, but their contribution to movies is undeniable! Anthony Perkins, Tab Hunter, Sal Mineo, Richard Chamberlain, Alla Nazimova, Ramon Novarro, Thelma Todd*, Patsy Kelly, William Haines, John Gielgud, Noël Coward, Michael Redgrave, Clifton Webb, Anton Walbrook, Farley Granger, Van Johnson, Dirk Bogarde, Lilyan Tashman, George Cukor, Dorothy Arzner, Margaret Lindsay, Elizabeth Taylor*, Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson, and Janet Gaynor.[*Note: Miss Todd & Miss Taylor are depicted here in support of their pals.]