BRIAN EPSTEIN, English musical group manager was born (The Beatles) (d. 1967); Epstein was Gay, which was not publicly known until a long time after his death, although it was an open secret among his friends and business associates.
While Epstein was in the Army, he had a tailor make an officer’s uniform for him that he wore when cruising the bars of London, but was arrested one night (for impersonating an officer) at the Army and Navy Club on Piccadilly by the military police. Epstein managed to avoid a court martial by agreeing to see an army psychiatrist, who uncovered Epstein’s sexuality. He was discharged from the army after ten months on the medical grounds of being “emotionally and mentally unfit”, although Epstein later stated that his first Gay sexual experience was after he returned to Liverpool.
Whilst Epstein was studying acting at RADA, he was arrested for “persistent importuning”, and was later blackmailed by an ex-Guardsman, Billy Connolly. Throughout the later court case against Connolly, Epstein was referred to as “Mr. X”, as the law allowed anonymity at that time. McCartney said that he and the others knew that Epstein was Gay, but they did not care, because Epstein greatly encouraged them when record companies turned them down, and used to take them to late-night drinking clubs, to which they had previously never had access. Although Lennon often made sarcastic comments about Epstein’s sexuality to friends and to Epstein personally, nobody outside their closed circle was allowed to comment on it. Ian Sharp—one of Lennon’s art school friends—once made a sarcastic remark about Epstein, saying, “Which one of you [The Beatles] does he fancy?” Sharp was sent a letter by Epstein’s office within forty-eight hours that demanded a complete apology. Sharp apologized but was then completely ostracized, and was told by McCartney in a letter to have no contact at all with any of them in the future. Epstein used to go on holiday to places such as Amsterdam and Barcelona, or Manchester at weekends, as the attitude to Gays was not as unforgiving as in Liverpool, although there were several Gay bars in Liverpool, such as the Magic Clock, which was opposite the Royal Court Theater. The male waiters there used female singers’ names and dressed in wigs, skirts, and wore makeup.
In his biography, Pete Best claims that Epstein drove them both to Blackpool one evening, and Epstein declared to Best his “very fond admiration” for him. Epstein is then supposed to have said, “Would you find it embarrassing if I ask you to stay in a hotel overnight?” Best replied that he was not interested, and the two never mentioned it again. There were rumors of a brief sexual encounter between Lennon and Epstein when they both went on a four-day holiday together to Barcelona, Spain in April 1963. Lennon always denied the claims, telling Playboy in 1980: “It was never consummated, but we had a pretty intense relationship.” Lennon’s first wife Cynthia also maintains that Lennon’s relationship with Epstein was platonic. A fictionalized account of the Spanish holiday was portrayed in the film 1991 The Hours and Times. Lennon’s friend and confidant, Peter Shotten, claimed in his book, The Beatles, Lennon and Me, that under provocation from Epstein, Lennon did partly give in: “I let him toss me off, and that was it.” Biographer Hunter Davies also recalled Lennon telling him he had consented to an encounter “to see what it was like.”
Writer Albert Goldman expanded on both claims in his The Lives of John Lennon, alleging a longtime affair between the two men. Lennon later wrote You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away about Epstein.