"The Waltons" was a popular show in the years that it aired, but one of the stars, Will Geer, made headlines as a married man and a father of three who also had an affair with a man.
Some decades ago, the world frowned upon those whose sexual preference favored those of the same gender, and people from those eras did all they could to hide their true identity.
Now the world has opened its arms to gays, lesbians, and people of all sexual preferences, and it is becoming globally acceptable to be whoever one wants to be. Unfortunately, it was not like that in the days of Will Geer, who had to have a secret romance.
Picture of "The Waltons" actor Will Geer | Photo: Getty Images
WILL GEER AND HARRY HAY
While most have emerged as the heroes of the gay community today, Harry Hay was one of the early activists and one of the most prominent figures of the gay rights movement at the time.
Despite the opposition he faced, Hay launched the modern gay-rights movement in the 1950s and was one of the first bold voices to declare equal opportunities for both gays and lesbians.
Hay started a political party meant for gays, but none were willing to join him as they feared the social consequences of identifying with such a doomed cause that only guaranteed mockery and shame at the time.
After meeting Will Geer, the man who portrayed grandpa in "The Waltons," the duo became lovers even though Geer was a public figure with a wife and three children. Their relationship revolved around their mutual sexual and political interests.
There were few words to describe gays at that time, and having found Geer, the duo set out to form an organization for their kind and decided to call themselves "the temperamental." In an interview, Hay said,
"All of us guys"--we didn't call ourselves "gay" yet, we didn't call ourselves "homosexual" yet, we called ourselves "temperamental"-- "all of us temperamental guys, we should organize."
Hay was married like most of his friends within his gay circle to prevent being persecuted, but intolerance and oppression continued to plague his life due to his stance on the gay community.
GRANMA AND GRANDPA WALTON
Even though Grandma and Grandpa Walton, Ellen Corby, and Will Geer played their roles excellently on "The Waltons," the elderly actors' health started to fail. Due to this, the producers never brought them back to the show.
On-screen, they became an inseparable entity, but in their private lives, they were both gay and involved in homosexual relationships.
The duo married people of the opposite gender in a bid to safeguard their careers and prevent public shaming. The Walton grandma loved women and was said to have been in a relationship with Stella Luchetta.
Luchetta, as it appeared, was a caretaker of the actress, and the duo were good friends according to the eyes of the press; however, in reality, they were in a passionate relationship that they never wanted the world to know about.
The duo was said to have remained friends for 45 years, and when Corby passed on, her last words were directed to the woman she could only love privately but never publicly.
Will Geer appearing in the Walt Disney Television "The Young Rebels" episode for "The Age of Independence" circa 1970. | Photo: Getty Images
WILL GEER'S DAUGHTERS
The late actor and activist was a father of three whose family life was overshadowed by his political affiliations and constant activism that often found him standing side by side with Harry Hays.
Despite his history, Geer is best known for his role on "The Waltons." The show revolved around a family that lives in rural Virginia and it chronicled several generations living together; the show also featured Geer's daughters.
Geer's daughter Ellen made two appearances on "The Waltons" during and after her father's time on the show. Her first appearance came in the episode "The Ceremony," while her last appearance was in the final season, in the episode "The Pledge."
Will Geer and Ellen Corby as Grandpa and Grandma Walton from the television program The Waltons. | Source: Wikimedia Commons
Ellen credits her father for helping her pursue a career in acting. She remarked that theatre was a part of her family, and each child knew all the roles of Shakespeare from an early age.
In addition, Geer made sure his kids were well-skilled in the art of acting. Geer died at age 76 from respiratory failure, but to this day, his influence is widely recognized both in the entertainment and social setting.
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