He’s affectionately portrayed by Simon Helberg in the 2016 Meryl Streep film, Florence Foster Jenkins – a light-hearted, but fairly innocuous biopic about the New York socialite, Florence Foster Jenkins whose passion for singing despite her inability to it, led her to a sold-out performance at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York, along with her pianist, Cosmé McMoon.
However, what do we know about him?
Was he married, was Cosmé McMoon gay, straight or even bisexual? We do some digging to find out.
Not much is written about McMoon’s personal life. Times are different now compared to then – where as being someone’s sidekick nowadays can bring about a huge spotlight on your life (think Nicole Richie to Paris Hilton or Michelle Visage to RuPaul) back then the gossip pages of the tabloids were only really fixated on the super rich and super famous. Florence Foster-Jenkins really was neither of these things, although she was rich, she certainly wasn’t Rockefeller – so McMoon, her humble accompanist was really just a side-note in the papers, if featured at all.
However there is a little bit of info, mainly that he was never married or had kids – and apparently took interest in “body building” and judging body building contests – one could read between the lines that perhaps, maybe, he took interest in the male form – alluding to homosexuality.
However we must also look at how difficult it would have been for someone like McMoon to have come out as gay. For much of his life, he was born in 1901 and died in 1980, at the age of 79. In context, homosexuality was actually illegal in the United States. Homosexuality was only and partially decriminalised in the States from 1962. He was also the son of religious parents, who were of Irish and Mexican extraction.
Was the film accurate about Cosmé McMoon?
However, it’s interesting that McMoon’s portrayal in the Meryl Street film, shows him to be of a certain campness and gives a nod to his homosexuality – such as a brief, but knowing (and longing) look at a man at an afterparty at the homes of Foster Jenkin’s partner, St. Clair Bayfield.
There are very few interviews with Cosmé and so little written about him after the death of Foster Jenkins in the 1944, so we have to assume that the directors and producers of the film did a certain amount of homework on the character, but also allowed for artistic license when it comes to the portrayal of McMoon.