Friday, October 21, 2011

William Haines and Jimmy Shields - the happiest marriage in Hollywood.

William Haines and Jimmy Shields, openly flaunted their relationship in Hollywood for almost 50 years.

Jimmy Shields, on the left, husband of actor/decorator, William Haines, second on left. Joan Crawford, (in the middle,) and the two men maintained a lifelong friendship, and Joan called them "the happiest married couple in Hollywood." Haines and Shields were together 47 years.

William Haines' career was cut short by MGM Studios due to his refusal to deny his homosexuality. Haines never returned to film and instead started a successful interior design business with his life
partner Jimmy Shields.

Harlow in Hollywood, authors Mark Vieira and Darrell Rooney (middle); Cafe Trocadero 1935: Edith Gwynne Wilkerson (wife of Trocadero owner Billy Wilkerson), Jean Harlow, William Powell, William Haines' lover Jimmy Shields (standing), Anderson Lawler, unidentified man (standing), William Haines, Edith's sister Marge (bottom)

Billy Haines.
Billy Haines, fell in love with his stand-in, Jimmy Shields, and they moved in together in 1923, a move that destroyed his acting career.

                       Billy Haines and Clair Windsor.

 Although the Hollywood system at the time put pressure on gay actors to provide an 'acceptable' public image by marrying, Haines turned down an offer of marriage from Joan Crawford who was then still hoping to be a rising star. In 1930 Haines and Jimmy Shields bought an antique shop and developed their interest in interior design by giving free advice to their Hollywood customers and friends.

Jimmy Shields, committed suicide a few months after William Haines, death after almost 50 years together.

Joan Crawford, a close friend of Tom Lyle Williams and Emery Shaver, as well as William Haines and Jimmy Shields, introduced the two couples.  Tom Lyle opened an antique store in Beverly Hills, for Emery, where he could meet celebrities, outside the Villa Valentino.  Tom Lyle, preferred a secluded life inside the Villa.  Haines and Shields had a hand in decorating The Villa Valentino, after it's remodel in the late 1930's. 

William Haines and Joan Crawford - Spring Fever, Real life besties William Haines and Joan Crawford share a cute scene in 1927's "Spring Fever".

William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star, talks about his 45 year relationship with Jimmy Shields

Read more about William Haines and Jimmy Shields friendship with Tom Lyle and Emery, in The Maybelline Story. 


  1. Just finished reading the book "Hollywood Bad Boys" and Haines was one of the actors who defied Hollywood moguls and had relationships with a couple icon movie stars as well his long time relationship with Shields. His story is refreshing on two points: he did not hide his homosexuality and he was completely dedicated to his lover Shields, up to the time of his death (and later, Shields suicide). Today, the closets are full to overflowing, and the denials and 'beards' are repeated over and over and when we do find out most have gone through several relationships, averaging, at most, five years! Is it just the sign of times?

  2. I think you'd like reading the Maybelline Story. Founder Tom Lyle Williams and Emery Shaver lived behind the gates of the Villa Valentino to protect their relationship and their families.