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Francis Joseph Spellman
(1889 - 1967) U.S.A.

Francis Joseph Spellman

Cardinal, Archbishop of New York

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Born at Whitman, Massachusetts, he became priest in 1916 in the North American College of Rome. He was parish priest in Roxbury then in Boston. He edited the magazine The Pilot. He worked at the State Secretary of the Vatican (11925-32), then was nominated bishop of Boston and later Archbishop of New York. In 1946 he was nominated Cardinal.

He was a major figure in American politics during the first half of the Cold War, and a kingmaker in New York City politics; subject of the 1984 by John Cooney, The American Pope: The Life and Times of Francis Cardinal Spellman.

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The details of Spellman's personal life are elusive. The Cardinal was known as "Telma" or "Franny" Spellman in some circles and was rumored to enjoy an active sexual and social life in New York City, with a particular fondness for Broadway musicals and their chorus boys.

His biographer notes that many interviewees "took his homosexuality for granted" but has not documented his relationships. It is likely that Spellman engaged in an active yet deeply closeted life, much like that of his close personal friend Roy Cohn.

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"In the original bound galleys of former Wall Street Journal reporter John Cooney's Spellman biography, The American Pope... Spellman's gay life was recounted in four pages that included interviews with several notable individuals who knew Spellman as a closeted homosexual. Among Cooney's interview subjects was C.A. Tripp...

In a telephone interview with Tripp last week, he told me that his information came from a Broadway dancer in the show One Touch of Venus who had a relationship with Spellman back in the 1940s; the prelate would have his limousine pick up the dancer several nights a week and bring him back to his place.

When the dancer once asked Spellman how he could get away with this, Tripp says Spellman answered, "Who would believe that?"

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Sources: excerpt from Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History, from WWII to Present Day, Routledge, London, 2001

and: Signorile, Michelangelo. "Cardinal Spellman's Dark Legacy" The Gist, New York Press, 15(18), 2002
from: http://www.nypress.com/15/18/news&columns/signorile.cfm

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