Queer Places:
144 Lawrence St, Hartford, CT 06106
Mount Saint Benedict Cemetery Bloomfield, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA

Theodore Francis "Ted" Starkowski (April 4, 1927 - 1977) was a favorite model for George Platt Lynes and his circle of artist friends that included Paul Cadmus, Jared French, and Bernard Perlin.

Theodore Francis Starkowski  was born in Hartford, Connecticut on April 4, 1927, as the eighth child to Polish immigrants. His Army registration in September of 1945 indicates that he had attended three years of high school and was working at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. Starkowski was in the U.S. military briefly before relocating to New York and eventually meeting Lynes and his circle. Nearly every collection of Lynes work today features photos of Starkowski's tall, slender body and alluring cat-like face. His nude images are featured on the covers of several collections of Lynes’ work – in solo shots or posed with Mel Fellini.

According to David Leddick, Ted Starkowski worked the streets. Hustling by night, he regaled Bernard Perlin and George Platt Lynes with his adventures while he posed for them during the day.

Another model who posed for many of the same artists was fellow ex-military man Chuck Howard, George Platt Lynes’ live-in boyfriend. After their split in January, 1951, Howard and Starkowski became involved in what David Leddick described as “a tempestuous affair.” The couple were photographed together on Fire Island while vacationing with Paul Cadmus, Jared and Margaret French: artists who called their collective photography work PaJaMa, an acronym of the first letters of their first names.

The year after George Platt Lynes’ death, Starkowski was photographed by Carl Van Vechten.

Mel Fillini and Teodor Starkowski, 1954, by George Platt-Lynes

George Platt Lynes photographed Ted Starkowski flanked by Bernard Perlin’s sketches.

Ted Starkowski by Jared French

Ted Starkowski as drawn by Paul Cadmus (Male Nude, TS5, 1954)

Ted Starkowski and Chuck Howard by PaJaMa

by Carl Van Vechten

Thanks to a wealthy benefactor, Starkowski traveled extensively in the second half of the 1950’s. Leddick relays a story of Starkowski showing off his new diamond ring – a gift from his wealthy friend. He asked artist George Tooker if he thought it was too big. Tooker replied “Yes, it is too large for a woman to wear.”

On Friday May 13, 1977, Ted Starkowski was leaving a New York City bar when he was struck and killed by a car. He was 50 years old. He was buried in Mount Saint Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

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