LEONARD BERNSTEIN, American conductor and composer, born (d. 1990) Highly regarded as a conductor, composer, and educator, and probably best known to the public as longtime music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, for conducting concerts by many of the world’s leading orchestras, and for writing the music for West Side Story, Bernstein wrote three symphonies, two operas, five musicals, and numerous other pieces. During his married life, Bernstein tried to be as discreet as possible with his extramarital liaisons. But as he grew older, and as the Gay Liberation movement made great strides, Bernstein became more emboldened, eventually leaving Felicia to live with companion Tom Cothran. Sometime after, Bernstein learned that his wife was diagnosed with lung cancer. Bernstein moved back in with his wife and cared for her until she died.
It has been suggested that Bernstein was actually bisexual (an assertion supported by comments Bernstein himself made about not preferring any particular cuisine, musical genre, or form of sex), and it has been alleged that he was conflicted between his devotion to his family and his Gay desires, but Arthur Laurents (Bernstein’s collaborator in West Side Story), said that Bernstein was simply “a Gay man who got married. He wasn’t conflicted about it at all. He was just Gay.” Shelly Rhoades Perle, another friend of Bernstein’s, said that she thought “he required men sexually and women emotionally.” Bernstein is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.