Partner Carlos McClendon

Queer Places:
125 T St, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Casa Castellana, 14 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014

Richard Clifford "Dick" Keate (December 14, 1922 - April 3, 2012) was born in Los Angeles, CA. In the 1940s the family lived in Salt Lake City.

He was an American pilot and furniture designer. Keate flew B-17s for the air force during World War II and afterwards became a flying instructor in northern California. From there he often visited Santa Monica Canyon and sometimes took trips with Christopher Isherwood and Carlos McClendon to John Goodwin's ranch and to the bullfights in Tijuana. In the late 1940s he was a pilot for Air Services of India (now Air India) and lived in India. When he returned to California, he attended the American School of Dance on the GI Bill and worked as a dancer. In 1956 he moved to New York, planning to take up acting, but instead studied Flamenco guitar; his studies took him to Spain where he became interested in furniture, and he began to import Spanish furniture to New York and then to design and manufacture his own furniture. He opened a shop, Casa Castellana, in Greenwich Village in 1964 and was successful for many years.

According to Isherwood: Carlos McClendon and Dick Keate were the season’s most attractive pair of lovers; both sweetly pretty boys. Carlos, though a blond, was partly Mexican and had a lot of Latin charm . Dick had been a major (I think) in the air force and had flown many missions over Germany. (Christopher used to call him “The Angel of Death.”) There was a story about his demobilization: Dick, while still in uniform, used to frequent the bar of the Biltmore Hotel, downtown, and was accustomed to be treated by the bartenders with the respect due to his rank and his combat ribbons. A short while after leaving the service, Dick returned to that same bar, wearing the clothes which expressed his fun-loving peacetime personality. One of the bartenders, not recognizing him, exclaimed, “Get that kid out of here!” and Dick was refused a drink. Carlos and Dick were then very much in love—Carlos perhaps even more so than Dick—and they simply couldn’t keep their hands off each other for long. At a party, they were inseparable.

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