1724 N Sierra Bonita Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Michael's Pub, 3 E 48th St, New York, NY 10017
Michael's Pub, 211 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022
The Running Footman, 133 E 61st St, New York, NY 10065
Mortimer's, 1057 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10021
Wally Findlay Galleries, 165 Worth Ave, Palm Beach, FL 33480
Michael Tennall Pearman (May 25, 1911 - June 8, 1998) was an actor and restaurateur who founded Michael's Pub in New York. Though Cole Porter was happily married and generally considered closeted in his professional life, he was surprisingly revealing in private communiqués. To a young lover: "Oh Boris, write me and tell me that you love me as much as I love you. You can't say it too often, because you are so far from me and it makes me so miserable." Letters to his close friend Sam Stark also refer frankly to his homosexuality. Editors Cliff Eisen & Dominic McHugh note, "He refers to a lover (Michael Pearman) and mentions Gore Vidal''s gay novel 'The City and the Pillar' (1948). Here is confirmation that although Porter kept this part of his life private, he was sexually active, promiscuous, and apparently not particularly repressed about his sexuality."
Michael Tennall Pearman was born in Birmingham, Englad. He moved to the United States as a young man and pursued a theatrical career. Michael Pearman, close with Cole Porter and George Cukor, recalled coming to Hollywood in 1929 for a party at William Haines' showplace home on North Stanley Drive and seeing Anderson Lawler and Gary Cooper there together. Other friends corroborate, recalling the stories Haines would tell of the It Boy mixing with his crowd. Certainly Cooper wasn't blind to the impression he was creating by consorting with Lawler. "Andy Lawler was probably the best-known homosexual in Hollywood during that time," said Robert Wheaton, who knew Lawler through Cukor.
In 1935, he was cast in Jubilee, a musical by Moss Hart and Cole Porter, who later became his close friend. He moved to Hollywood and became a theatrical agent, joining the firm of Feldman-Blum. With the backing of several friends in show business, Pearman returned to New York and opened Michael's Pub on East 48th Street; it became a popular gathering spot for the theater crowd. He later sold the pub, now located on East 55th Street, and opened another called The Running Footman. He also served as a consultant to New York restaurateurs. "Michael was a big factor in the success of Mortimer's restaurant in New York," said Herbert Swope, a longtime friend of Pearman. "He worked with Glenn Birnbaum on the decor, the menu and the quality of the place."
Pearman moved to Palm Beach in the mid-1960s and opened an old-fashioned general store on Peruvian Avenue, selling soap, brass polish, rubber boots and the like from open barrels surrounding a pot-bellied stove. He hosted a popular radio show with society writer Connie Woodward. He later joined the Wally Findlay Galleries sales staff, retiring after several years.
In the mid-1980s, he was a contributor to the food pages of the Palm Beach Daily News. "He was a civilized and knowledgeable gentleman," said longtime friend George Stinchfield. "And very funny. I remember he said he was going to write a book about Palm Beach and call it 'Oh Say Can You See and when I asked him why, he said, 'Because everybody's showing off.' "
Michael Pearman died on June 8, 1998, at his West Palm Beach home after a long illness. He was 87.
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