Thursday, April 28, 2022

Whatever Happened to Ted Starkowski (1927-1977)

There is no better example of the intertwined nature of post World War II gay cultural life in New York than Ted Starkowski.  The son of Polish immigrants and one of six brothers, he was born  in Hartford, Connecticut in 1927 and grew up there.  Ted's 1945 draft registration card is below:

Ted only made it through three years of high school and was working at a Catholic seminary when 
he registered.  (That job must have presented some interesting opportunities to a guy like Ted.)  
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in the dying days of World War II, and when he finished his 
hitch he initially moved back in with his mother in Hartford.  Shortly thereafter, however, he 
went to New York to live with Bernard Perlin whom he met while in the Army.  (More about that 
later.)  Before long, he was hobnobbing with George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Jared French, 
Margaret Hoening, Carl van Vechten, the aforementioned Bernard Perlin, and no doubt others.  When his live-in affair with Perlin didn't go well, he moved out and took up hustling tricks in Manhattan.

As you will see, there are a lot of unanswered questions about this remarkable
 man's life.  Today we look at whatever happened to Ted Starkowski, 
and this photo by Lynes sort of sums up his enigmatic nature.



  1. Kinda fun to Google map the addresses on his draft card. Looks like 146 Front gave way to downtown development. 144 Lawrence is still there, a 2 story duplex. Neighborhood's a bit rundown. In 1945 it may have been nice.

    1. Thanks for the very interesting follow-up on the address. Ted's parents were first generation immigrants, so it probably wasn't too posh even back then.

  2. Damn, Jerry. Great photos, lovely art, superb text. You're a first round draft pick.