Showbusiness legend Stanley Baxter has revealed he is gay at the age of 94.
The Scottish stage and screen star told how he spent nearly 50 years married to his wife Moira despite knowing he was homosexual.
In a new authorised biography The Real Stanley Baxter, journalist Brian Beacom reveals the secrecy and sadness that have haunted the entertainer all his life.
Baxter originally refused to have the book published before his death amid fears he would be judged and admitted he is still not comfortable with his sexuality.
The Glasgow-born star, best known for TV’s The Stanley Baxter Show, said: “There are many gay people these days who are fairly comfortable with their sexuality.
“I’m not. I never wanted to be gay. I still don’t. Anyone would be insane to choose to live such a very difficult life.”
He added: “The truth is, I don’t really want to be me.”
In the biography, Stanley reveals that for the past 25 years he has lived as a virtual recluse at his flat in Highgate Village, London, as he “didn’t want to be seen as someone who was once Stanley Baxter”.
He reveals that he knew from a young age that he found men more attractive than women because at the cinema he could not take his eyes off the half-naked Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan rather than Maureen O’Sullivan’s Jane.
However he reveals it was something he did not understand until he met schoolmate Bill Henry.
Baxter said: “I was in love with Bill but he certainly wasn’t in love with me. “He probably knew the way I felt about him. Although we’d spend lots of time in each other’s beds, nothing happened.”
He admits Moira knew he was homosexual before they were married and allowed him to have lovers to their home.
Baxter added: “Thankfully, Moira was very understanding.
“If there were someone I were interested in, I could bring them home. And she was very good about letting them go to bed with me.
“She would go off to our bedroom and let me take the one opposite.”
He remained married to Moira until she died of an overdose in 1997.
Baxter also reveals in the book that he once considered taking his own life when he was arrested for soliciting for sex in a public toilet in 1962.
He visited the lavatories in Holloway, London hoping to have casual sex with a man but was taken into police custody.
The decriminalisation of gay sex between consenting adults was still five years away and Baxter was convinced he was on the verge of ruin.
However, barrister David Jacobs convinced the court that he was the only man in the toilet apart from the arresting police officers and could not have been soliciting.
The charges were dropped on condition that Baxter agreed not to sue the police for wrongful arrest.
Baxter said: “I was going to top myself. I thought, ‘My career will never survive this. And if I don’t have a career, what do I have?’”
-- to www.dailyrecord.co.uk