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He Played Blanche's Gay Brother on "The Golden Girls." See Monte Markham Now.

The actor starred in two memorable episodes of the classic sitcom.

In 1988 and 1991, The Golden Girls aired groundbreaking episodes that focused on a gay character at a time when few TV shows were offering any LGBTQ representation. Veteran actor Monte Markham played Blanche's brother, Clayton Hollingsworth. In the first episode, Clayton comes out to Blanche (Rue McClanahan), and in the second, he introduces her to his fiancé (Michael Ayr), as Blanche struggles to accept that her brother wants to marry a man. As Brett White wrote of the storyline for Decider, "Whereas most sitcoms have a gay-of-the-week episode and that's it, we actually get to see Blanche really reckon her homophobia."

But while Markham is part of LGBTQ television history thanks to his role as Clayton, The Golden Girls is not the only show he's known for. Markham, now 86, had been acting for years before the hit comedy and continues to act to this day. He's also known for another aspect of his entertainment career: producing TV documentaries. Read on to learn more about Markham and to see what he looks like now.

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Monte Markham had been acting for years before The Golden Girls.

The cast of "Irene" in 1972: Debbie Reynolds, Patsy Kelly, Ruth Warwick, Monte Markham, and George S. Irving
Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Markham started his acting career over 20 years before he ever appeared on The Golden Girls. He had major roles on series like The Second Hundred Years, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, The New Perry Mason, and Dallas. He also acted on Broadway, including in Irene alongside Debbie Reynolds.

"I went to Hollywood in 1965 and got a great agent, who immediately got me roles in four films, and my own television series, The Second Hundred Years, where I played a father and my own son," Markham told Wonderland: The Ultimate Wonder Woman Site in 2003. (He worked with Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter in 1982's Hotline.)

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And he's still acting today.

Phillip Solomon and Monte Markham at a screening of "Hero Mode" in June 2021
Rick Kern/Getty Images

Around the time that he appeared on The Golden Girls, Markham was also starring as Captain Don Thorpe on Baywatch. He appeared on the shows Melrose Place, Murder, She Wrote, and Cold Case. Some of his more recent projects include the comedy series I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson and the movies Hero Mode, Butter, and Acquitted by Faith.

Markham started making documentaries in the '90s.

Monte Markham and another guest at the premiere of "A Dark Foe" in February 2020
Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for A Dark Foe

Markham began producing TV documentaries in the early '90s and started his own production company, Perpetual Motion Production. "In 1992, I formed a production company and since that time I've done over 150 hours of documentary programming all over the world and that was the beginning of cable television: The History Channel, A&E, Discovery," he told Grigware Interviews in 2010. "It was a great time … the journey has been beyond belief." Markham has also been the narrator for some of the documentaries he's produced.

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And he's proud of his impressive career.

Monte Markham and Chris Roe at the 2019 Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival in February 2019
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

In the interview with Grigware, Markham was asked to sum up his career. He responded, "I can say categorically that there's very little that I haven't done, pursuing every possible way of acting and doing, leading then to directing and producing … I did very well."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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