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tomcruise2.jpg - 24.08 K Tom Cruise Says He'll Sue the Gaysayers

Legal Team Poised to Prosecute Publisher

Some Recall Successful Suit by Liberace

By John Long

According to legal sources quoted in Variety actor Tom Cruise "does not disapprove of people who live a homosexual lifestyle" but he and his lawyers are poised to sue William Morrow & Co. publishers if its forthcoming book, Open Secret: Gay Hollywood 1928-1998 dares to insinuate or, emphatically to state that Mr. Cruise himself is gay.

liberace.jpg - 24.35 K Liberace fought rumors he was a "poof" A libel suit was successfully undertaken in the 1950s by the pianist Liberace as his response to rumors that he too was a "poof". Asked by the media how those rumors had affected him following his win in court, Liberace replied with a quip that is now considered vintage Americana: "I cried all the way to the bank," he said.

William Morrow & Co. denies that its contracted author, David Ehrenstein, treats Mr. Cruise as gay or that he questions the star's heterosexual status.

Cruise's legal threats became public when supermarket tabloids placed his name alongside those of other male stars, including Richard Gere, John Travolta and Alec Baldwin, all of whom are said to be discussed in Open Secret as having been subjected to Hollywood's gayest rumors.

According to a William Morrow spokesperson, Open Secret states emphatically that "Mr. Cruise is not a homosexual." The book "in no way defames Mr. Cruise," according to the publisher.

Cruise's legal team will not comment on its strategy until it has had an opportunity to read Open Secret and to see what Ehrenstein has actually said. The lawyers admit that the primary sources that have been causing Mr. Cruise such distress have been the tabloids. tomcruise3.jpg - 24.23 K Tom Cruise gets physical in "Top Gun"

If tabloid interpretations of Open Secret are in error, they concede, there will be no need to haul William Morrow & Co. or author Ehrenstein into the courts.

Open Secret will be published in October. Cruise's lawyers may have to wait until then to satisfy themselves that Mr. Cruise has no basis for a case.

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