Gary Lee Boas's career as a photographer has really clicked. He has shot hundreds of celebrities, and on that prowl he has had his share of run-ins with gay celebs both out and closeted. Some he's caught in compromising positions. "I have really lost a lot of money by not going the tabloid route," says Boas (pronounced Boze). "But because of that, a lot of these people are my friends."
Some of those pals have no doubt been thrown into Boas's Starstruck: Photographs From a Fan (Dilettante Press). A virtual time capsule of such icons, politicos, and glitterati as Chafe, Cher, Liberace, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Jacqueline Onassis. Joan Crawford, Divine, Anthony Perkins, and the elusive Greta Garbo, Boas's tome also includes behind-the-snap stories involving friendships (with Kate Hepburn and Chita Rivera), fellow fans, and facing the famous.
Born in Lancaster, Pa., Boas says he grew up wanting to be a movie star himself. But because of an "intense shyness" that forced him to drop out of school at, 13 (home schooling followed), at 15 he concocted another strategy to get within the spotlight's aura: shoot stars with his Brownie camera Boas would persuade his mother, Mary--or anyone else with a driver's license--to take him to Philadelphia and New York City, where he would wait outside stage doom, restaurants, TV studios, and even rest rooms to capture autographs and snapshots of famous faces. "I had no idea any of them were icons or even legends," recalls Boas. "It was just somebody who walked out a door. But I had this sixth sense that they were a celebrity. Eight out of ten times I was right."
Boas went on re work as a grocery-store stocker and a porn-shop malinger before becoming a professional paparazzo in the mid '80s. Today, he divides his time between Lancaster and Los Angeles. Yes, he's gay, and he asserts he's not alone in his profession. "I would really say 80% of paparazzi are gay," he says. "If they're not, they're closeted as hell. Especially when Ricky Martin comes up and you see half of them slobbering."
Ferber's short film Birthday Time will premiere at February's Mardi Gras Film Festival in Sydney.
1 Barbara Stanwyck 2 Truman Capote: "I would see him at Studio 54. [Co-owner Steve] Rubell had a thing for my lover at the time, so we would get in." 3 Joan Crawford 4 Elizabeth Taylor (with Halston): "That woman walks in the room, and if there are two people or 2 million people, every eye is still on her." 5 Bette Davis 6 Village person Randy Jones 7 Porn star Peter Berlin 8 Gloria Swanson 9 Lucille Ball: "I understood she was afraid of cosmetic surgery and wouldn't have it done, so she used surgical tape to pull back the corners of her eyes and cheeks. Once she went to Bob Hope's 80th birthday party, and that skin was pulled so tight, you could count all her teeth." 10 Shirley MacLaine 11 Rock Hudson: "One day I had this book for him to sign. I'm following him in Central Park, and we ended up in the [cruising] rambles! I lest him, and by the time I found him, he was in the hushes with somebody, and I didn't see a graceful way to shove the book in front of him." 12 Marlene Deitrich
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|Title Annotation:||celebrity photographer Gary Lee Boas|
|Publication:||The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Feb 15, 2000|
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