Split Image, The Life of Anthony Perkins by Charles Winecoff ’78. Split Image is a remarkably researched and compellingly written story of an actor we think we know – after all, he’s very famous and we’ve all seen him in Psycho – but whose life turns out to be charged with complexity. Meant to be the next James Dean, Tony Perkins veers away from the sexy rebel image to the tic ridden psychopath, especially after his enormous success as Norman Bates. Many career moves aimed toward a break with this type, but somehow they repeatedly led back to the Bates Motel. Charles’s research for this book left no stone unturned. We have a sense that we have a privileged view of an amazingly talented actor and director held back from even greater achievements partly by his own neurotic constraints and partly by a judgmental social order. Central to his story is his coming of age in a society rife with homophobia. Particularly in that era, an actor could not succeed without a pretty girl on his arm. Gay actors like Perkins found themselves at war with themselves if they wanted to be stars. Perkins did marry a woman, one whom he seems to have deeply loved. He wanted a family and had two children with his wife. Though their marriage endured, it could not change who he was and whom he desired. Split Image is an apt title.
top of page
bottom of page