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Raymond "Ray" Unger
(1924 - 2006) U.S.A.

FOTO

Artist, model

Jack Adams Fontan
(1927 - 2003?) U.S.A.

FOTO

Artist, model

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Fontan had studied art at New York University, and through his friendship with fellow student Alexander Jensen Yow (later Pierpont Morgan Library curator and Lincoln Kirstein's lover) he modeled for George Platt Lynes. Paul Cadmus used Fontan and Jensen Yow as models in The Bath (1951).

He was known as "The Naked Sailor" because he appeared in nothing but cut-off jean shorts, which put his genitals on view to anyone seated in the front rows. Jack Fontan's career in acting was short-lived.

Jack Fontan
Jack Fontan - 1954 - by George Platt Lynes
Gelatin print- size N/A - Private collection
Jack Fontan
Jack Fontan - 1950 - by George Platt Lynes
Gelatin print - 25 x 18 cm - Private collection

Bill Harris was greatly excited by his new lover, Jack Fontan [discovered by talent scouts in a gym Jack Fontan was given a role as a sailor in the Broadway musical South Pacific in 1948]. Jack had a small but prominent part in "South Pacific", which had opened in New York the previous April. The character Jack played was called Staff Sergeant Thomas Hassinger on the program, but he was already known to hundreds of queers as "The Naked Sailor"

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In 1950, Jack Fontan met his long-time partner Ray Unger, a II World War veteran. Ray Unger, artist and astrologer, was also known for his beauty - he was a male nude model for Pat Milo and John Reis.

After leaving New York City together, Ray and Jack in 1956 settled to Laguna Beach, California; it was a little seaside village of about 8,000 people. They worked there as collage artists.

Residents of Canyon Acres, they barely escaped with their lives when their house at the far end of the road slipped off its foundations and was broken in two by a slide of mud and rocks during the flood of February 1969. In 1994 their house was, again, destroyed by the widespread fire which devastated the area, and they resettled at 1050 Deepak Road, Snow Creek, Coachella Valley, Riverside County, Palm Springs, CA

Ray Unger
Ray Unger, photo by John Reis, 1955
Ray Unger
Ray Unger, photo by Pat Milo

The pair worked as professional astrologers during the 1970s and afterward owned and managed a gym.  They were the owners of the Laguna Health Club, a place that acquired notoriety when in summer 1989 Bette Midler decided to join. A parade of cars inched past the picture window for weeks, straining for a glimpse of the star, said Ray Unger.

"It used to make us furious," Unger said. "The phones were ringing off the hook. They'd call up (and ask), 'Is Bette there?' " Jack said he thought it was some kind of a joke when he first got a telephone call from a man, claiming to be Midler's trainer, asking if a celebrity could work out at the club "without being bothered."

"I figured he was some kind of a jerk and I said, "How am I to assure you that your celebrity won't be bothered at my gym?'. " When Midler arrived, bundled in a thick sweat suit, no one knew who she was, Unger said. "The boy at the desk thought she was some housewife. When she signed her name, he said it was funny that she had the same name as Bette Midler," Unger said.

"Then when she took off her sweat suit he said, 'Oh my God, it's Bette Midler' when he saw her hair." Long after Midler had stopped working out at the club, it continued to get phone callers asking if she was there, Unger said. 

Jack Fontan spent 53 years with his companion.

Jack Fontan
Jack Fontan in White T-shirt and Shorts - c. 1954
by George Platt Lynes
Gelatin print - 22,8 x 19 cm - Private collection
Jack Fontan
Jack Fontan lying on a mattress - c. 1950
by George Platt Lynes
Gelatin print - size N/A - Private collection

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Sources : https://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/

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