April 4 in Movies

American actor Anthony Perkins (April 4, 1932 – September 12, 1992) would have been 85 today.

He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his second film, Friendly Persuasion but is best known for playing Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho and its three sequels.

His other films include The Trial, Phaedra, Fear Strikes Out, Tall Story, The Matchmaker, Pretty Poison, North Sea Hijack, Five Miles to Midnight, The Black Hole, Murder on the Orient Express, Mahogany, and Crimes of Passion.

While young, Perkins was a very shy person, especially in the company of women. According to the posthumous biography Split Image by Charles Winecoff, he had exclusively same-sex relationships until his late 30s, including with actors Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter; dancer Rudolf Nureyev; and composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

Perkins reportedly had his first heterosexual experience at age 39 with actress Victoria Principal on location filming The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean in 1971. He met photographer Berinthia “Berry” Berenson the following year at a party in New York City. They married when he was age 41, on August 9, 1973 and had two sons: actor Oz Perkins (b. February 2, 1974), and musician Elvis Perkins (b. February 9, 1976).

Diagnosed with HIV during the filming of Psycho IV, Perkins died at his Los Angeles home on September 12, 1992, from AIDS-related pneumonia at age 60. His wife died nine years later, in the September 11 attacks.

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