The Straight Villain in the Original ‘Dynasty’ Just Came Out (and He Hates the Reboot)
Gordon Thomson, the 72-year-old actor who played Adam Carrington — the scheming son of a Denver oil magnate in the campy 1980s prime time drama, Dyntasy — just came out in an interview with The Daily Beast.
Thomson’s character was straight in the show, its original broadcast occurred during the start of the HIV epidemic, thus, Thomson says, coming out as an openly gay actor would have been “professional suicide.”
Thomson’s character was a long-lost son (kidnapped in his youth) who grew up, returned home to his birthright, poisoned and raped his rivals, and would sometimes appear shirtless in episodes — in boxers or swim trunks — as part of “fan service” for its heavily female audience. Unsurprisingly, his character garnered a fair share of gay fans despite (or because of) his villainy.
Interestingly, while Adam Carrington was a straight character played by a gay man, Adam had a gay-identified brother, Steven — a character who dated men and women — who was played by straight actors Al Corley and Jack Coleman.
Dynasty‘s gay character wasn’t very progressive
It being the ‘80s, the gay character wasn’t depicted too well. During the show’s first season, Steven clashed with his father Blake over being gay. Blake’s homophobia was so bad that when he saw his son embrace his former lover, Ted, Blake ripped them apart, causing Ted to take a lethal fall, setting up the first season’s dramatic courtroom finale.
Regarding the original series’ gay character, Thomson said:
I thought it was bullshit. At the time, the AIDS crisis had a lot to do with pressure on the network. I know that Al Corley quit because he felt they were not allowing him to play the part honestly. And they weren’t.
I was very impressed to hear him say that as Steven when he met his boyfriend they would only allow them to shake hands. He left the show because he thought that was crap, and of course it was.
It was appallingly handled. They opened a can of worms and weren’t true to it, and they could have been. They had good actors playing the parts. It was a big shame. I’m very sorry.
Regarding his own coming out process and gay identity, Thomson said:
I’m probably as homophobic as any gay man alive because of my background. When I was growing up it [homosexuality] was a crime, and then classified as a mental illness. It was not until Pierre Trudeau was prime minister of Canada when I was 23, 24 years old, did it cease being a crime, and it was not until I was nearly 30 that it stopped being classified as a mental illness in the U.S. So you’re dealing with that. And the shame, the breathtaking lack of self-esteem, has only just begun to seep out of my soul.
He says he is not seeking a boyfriend, is not lonely and doesn’t find himself physically attractive anymore now that he has aged.
Gordon Thomson hates the new Dynasty reboot
The newly rebooted Dynasty incorporates the original show’s gay character, Steven. Steven falls for the nephew of his dad’s new bride, Sammy Jo, a now-male role that used to be played in the original series by Heather Locklear. The new gender-swapped Sammy Jo is played by Rafael de La Fuente, the Latino actor who played Jamal’s gay boyfriend in Empire).
While Steven is more comfortably out, physical with his partner and homophobia is no longer part of the show’s plot, Thomson is not impressed with the reboot.
“I have had a look at the new Dynasty and I am appalled,” he said. “What the fuck is the CW doing? It’s utter shit….. The audience the CW is aiming for is going to think it’s shit because it is such shit that a cretinous six-year-old would not be interested. It’s abominable.”