First there was the name. Jack Wrangler. Could it have been any more macho? The name was sex itself. Reading his obituary this morning, I'm struck at how his birth name had a bit of insistence to it. Jack Stillman.
But as is often the case with the image and the filmname, there was more to the story. Wrangler married a woman and had a very happy marriage with her. His wife, now widow, was Margaret Whiting, a music star in the 40s and 50s who was twenty years older than him. Her father Richard Whiting was the songwriter of a long list of songs including "Till We Meet Again", "Ain't We Got Fun?", "Hooray for Hollywood", "Beyond the Blue Horizon", "On the Good Ship Lollipop", "Too Marvelous for Words" (music only; words by Johnny Mercer). When Bo read me the list over the phone, I found myself humming along or singing the lyrics.
But back to Wrangler. What was interesting about his choices in his life after the porn career, was that he continued to describe himself as Gay. What to make of this? I don't know. He clearly made his choices and enjoyed his life. We mark his passing as an image that provided a sense of beauty and sex at the beginning of Gay consciousness for many of us.