William Haines

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William Haines (January 2, 1900 – December 26, 1973) was an American silent film star and early gay icon.

In 1926, Haines met 21 year old former sailor James "Jimmie" Shields, possibly as a street pick-up, and convinced him to move to Los Angeles with him.

In 1933, Haines was arrested at a YMCA for indecent behavior with a sailor. The studio head gave him an ultimatum: drop Shields and marry a woman, or give up his acting career. Haines chose Shields and the two started new careers as interior designers and antiques dealers. However, they retained many of their Hollywood connections and their friends and clients included names like Joan Crawford (who once described them as "the happiest married couple in Hollywood"), Gloria Swanson, Carole Lombard, George Cukor, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

The two remained a couple for nearly 50 years, until Haines's death in 1973 of lung cancer. Soon after, 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." The two men were interred side by side in Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery in Santa Monica.

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