Anita Bryant Wants A Gay Best Friend

By Jeremy Kinser

Originally published on Advocate.com November 02 2011 9:29 PM ET

Anita Bryant is not only cooperating on the forthcoming HBO biopic about her life, she even met with Chad Hodge, the gay man who is writing it, reports E Online's Marc Malkin.

Bryant followed being named a Miss America runner-up with an entertainment career, even serving as a Florida orange juice spokeswoman. She became a notorious LGBT equality opponent during the 1970s, and was famously hit in the face with a pie by a protester. Malkin writes that Bryant, 71, now runs a ministry from an office she shares with her husband in Oklahoma City.

"I went to Oklahoma and spent three days with her and Charlie," Hodge revealed to Malkin at GLSEN's Respect Awards. "I was the first gay man—gay person!—she agreed to talk to in 33 years."

Hodge, who executive produced the recently-canceled LGBT-inclusive NBC series The Playboy Club, says the two were initially panicked to meet one another. "We talked about everything," Hodge tells Malkin. "Religion, homosexuality, her life, and every detail of her life. I mean, everything!"

Hodge tells Malkin that Bryant was standoffish in the beginning, but she eventually opened up and even cried to him.

"Turns out she wants a gay best friend just like everyone else," Hodge said with a smile.