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Bob Green: Anita's ex paid dearly in the fight

Green_familySince the 1977 gay-rights referendum, life has not been good for Bob Green. Anita Bryant divorced the one-time rock 'n' roll disc jockey three years later and she left South Florida for good.

Green lives alone in a Miami Beach home a few blocks from where the famous couple lived with their four children on North Bay Road.

''I jog past the house and I say I wish I was back there in the good old days,'' said Green, 76. ``I used to jog on North Bay Road and cry all the way. I don't have any friends. I have my family and people in the neighborhood. I'm kind of like a hermit. I'm not antisocial. It's just the way I've become.

When Green and Bryant married in 1960, they had a bright future. He was a popular South Florida radio and television personality; she was a former Miss Oklahoma and runner-up to 1959 Miss America, Mary Ann Mobley.

Bryant, with a powerful singing voice, already had a hit record, Till There Was You from Broadway's The Music Man.

Green became Bryant's manager and her career took off. She performed for the troops with Bob Hope. She regularly appeared on television and at conventions. The Green family represented Coca-Cola on radio and television.

In 1969, the Florida Citrus Commission hired Bryant as its spokeswoman. She and the orange juice industry became nationally famous as she sang on TV commercials about Florida's ``Sunshine Tree.''

Bryant was among the most popular stars in the country, earning millions of dollars a year, Green said.

Also guided by theatrical agent Richard Shack, Bryant made a career of performing live at conventions. She sang The Battle Hymm of the Republic at President Lyndon Johnson's funeral in 1973 and performed it again at the Super Bowl halftime show in 1976.

But the next year, Bryant's show-biz career derailed as she led a successful vote to repeal Miami-Dade's gay-rights ordinance.

From the campaign forward, Bryant dodged death threats and protesters, Green said.

He recalls Bryant performing before 3,000 fans at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach. Gay-rights activist Bob Kunst and a few of his friends protested outside and got as much publicity as Bryant, Green said.

PieShortly after the election, Bryant took a televised pie in the face and lost a TV series to be sponsored by Singer Sewing Machine, Green said.

Convention work disappeared because of the angry gay activists who protested everywhere Bryant traveled.

The Greens launched Anita Bryant Ministries to counsel gay people and built a radio studio in Pembroke Pines for a planned Anita Bryant Christian show, he said.

In 1980, Green came home one day and Bryant was gone.

''The pressure was so great on her, I really believe that was the time she decided to get the divorce,'' he said.

The breakup caused many conservatives to also abandon Bryant, accusing her of not being a good role model.

'There were those who said, `You've written all these books about family togetherness and we're not supporting you anymore. We're not into buying your books and records anymore,' '' Green recalled.

The ministry failed and the radio show never happened, he said.

Green had trouble getting work, too.

After 1980, Green had a job doing documentaries for a U.N. relief agency. ''I did that and I did some party planning. Convention planning,'' Green said. ``As far as any holdover or spillover from Anita, I was also labeled. There were times when we made a presentation to a client and they found out who I was, it was over.''

For a year after their divorce, Green tried to get Anita back. She wasn't interested and later married Charlie Dry, a former astronaut test pilot. They live in Oklahoma and have had a series of bankruptcies and tax troubles. Bryant, 67, still performs occasional gospel concerts.

Green says that today, his ``religious beliefs are stronger by 1,000 than they ever were on a personal level, not a political level.''

''My faith has increased and I think much of that was accomplished by the trauma I suffered and having to reach out to God. For a couple of years I was really devastated,'' he said. ``Blame gay people? I do. Their stated goal was to put [Bryant] out of business and destroy her career. And that's what they did. It's unfair.''

If Green had it to over again, he wouldn't. ``No. It just wasn't worth it. It just wasn't. The trauma, the battling we all got caught up in. I don't want to ever go back to that.''


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It's a pity that Green has never taken responsibility for the misery and grief he and Anita caused in the lives of gay Floridian families.

Green is still blaming gays for his own failures, which is a sad way to get old, isn't it?

Bryant had enough sense to move away, but Green still doesn't get it -- that hating gays is wrong, and you aren't going to be rewarded for it in Miami Beach, of all places, duh.

Mr. Green, if for a chance you are reading this: what is it that you were doing with gays if not destroying not just their careers but also their lives?

I don't feel sorry for what happened to you.

I think everyone concerned has paid dearly for what happened. Anita and her second husband have filed for bankruptcy twice and owe thousands of dollars, and Mr. Green seems to have no life at all.

``Blame gay people? I do. Their stated goal was to put [Bryant] out of business and destroy her career. And that's what they did. It's unfair.''

ummm, it's "unfair" to dislike and try to reduce the credibility of someone who is trying to take away your civil rights? how so?

The funniest thing about this, to me, is that Anita Bryant would seem to have two potential audiences, Christians who like her wholesome image and gays who love campy woman divas like Bette, Babs, and Judy. But she managed to piss off both parts of her potential fan base, the gays with her crusade and the Christians by having a failed marriage.

The fact that Mr. Green blames gays for his woe shows you why he will die sad and alone. He should have let go of that decades ago and moved on.

I was there back then and i remember o so well.
Had Bob came out of the closet back then. None of this would have happend. His self hate fueled Annita into all this and ended up turning on him. She end up leaving him. Now hes old and bitter. Take some responsablity in what you did Bob

"A Day without human rights is like a day without Sunshine".

Jesus suffered more on the cross than you have Mr Green.Take your self pity and move on...you are pathetic.

Anita was and will always be an American hero! Anita was controlled by this guy and finally broke away. She's paid the price for it but is now very happy where she's at.

I'm not religious, but I'm glad Anita battled the sick homosexual community. Her work needs to be carried on, a million fold.

Anita is a cousin of my husband and all during that time up to now, the work green helped anita launch cost the very precious lives of lgbt youth everywhere. Their parents bought that crap and practiced that old pick and choose religion. We are Christian, I take responsibility for my faults, to claim to be a christian is to practice the teachings of christ, not all the other bull packed in the bible, pick and choose and all the lives lost by people choosing verses to persecute people of color, own slaves, deny equality to people of color, lgbt human beings. Mr Green is paying for his sins to his fellow human beings and so is Anita, broke and in a self pity mode with no empathy for those she has harmed, even her former allies. Whow! Now that is the good old type of Christians I saw here in OK and AR during the 50's and 60's. There will be a special hell for those who have acted as Anita, Green, Phelps, Dobson and so forth. Here I fail as a Christian, I do not forgive and as a heterosexual civil rights activist I will not forget!!!!

The worst out come of Antia's hate-work (and Green stood by) is that Gay and Bi people are not allowed to adopt children, not even their own blood-relatives. Florida is the only state where gay adoption is illegal! How embarrassing for Floridians.

Wow, I remember all of this like it was yesterday. Hard to believe Green could stay behind not doing what he should have done, Get the heck out and hide, like Anita did.
He created and accepted his life as it is, possibly because he knew he was WRONG?

God uses the good,and the bad use God. Bob Greene tried to use Anita and this issue to further his own career and become a bigtime Televangilist, and it blewup in his face. He was right by her side on this crusde every step of the way, getting as much publicity for himself as he could. He didn't care about children or anyone else, except himself, Anita finally realized that, and that was the major reason for their divorce. They both also put themselves on a pedestal as prefect Christians, standing in judgement of others, and thirty years later they are still paying for it. Gays didn't destroy her career, Bob Greene did, and if she was foolish enough to think she could go on a crusade like that and alienate so many people, and not just gays,and not experience a major backlash, then she deserves the problems she has today. She is a very foolish and easily led person. Hey Bob, how about being man enough to admit the truth for once in your life!

Karma can be a real stinker and it's good to see those 2 homophobes Anita Bryant and Bob Green get the misery they so rightfully deserve after they had the audacity to inflict their misguided hatred onto innocent gay people:)

Greene might be sad and lonely now, but his standing for truth will get him a mansion in heaven!!Unlike gays and Anita according to the Bible gays and those that divorce and remarry will not inherit the kingdom og Heaven!! My prayer is that all gays and divorced remarrieds repent before it's forever to late!!Gay people everywhere need our prayers! O how sickening they are....Remember it's the Bible not me saying this.

Hi Bobby,
This is Jerry Millman.m Age 80 living in Colorado. If you readthis Get in touch.
E-Mail me at jermillman7@aol.com

Glad he's gone. Glad her career was ruined. You try to destroy innocent lives; you pay. Bryant is worthless filth. And unlike gay people, she chose it.


I had met Bob and Anita several times, had been to their home, visited Anita Bryant Ministries, and saw Anita in concert several times. She is very talented. Both she and Bob remembered names of people. Anita, especially had a way of making a person feel important to her. I think most people who had the opportunity to come into contact with them, know how much more these was than what the press reported. I choose to remember the positive things I have known about them outside of the public eye.

I have always admired Anita Bryant for her standing up for her beliefs.She was a very brave person to do so in the face of so many being against her.I feel very sad that the religious community didn't support her.I think they will have to take some of the blame for her misfortunes as well as the gays.I pray for her and her family to have better days ahead.

Sad story, I would prefer to have read that he came to know and love gay people, to have repented of his own religiosity, like the rax collecter who met Jesus and gave away all of his ill gotten wealth. That would have been inspiring.

Amazing how these people who are willing to go out there and destroy our inherent rights to equality cry foul and suddenly become the victims.

If you ask my source - Green was gay himself and Anita knew it. Caught his ass with cutie boy - what else made her leave? I mean it had to have been THAT BAD - right?

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