Breaking his silence on the controversy swirling around the Oscar-nominated film, A Beautiful Mind,the real-life mathematician portrayed in the movie, John Nash, has denied he was a closet homosexual and anti-Semitic.
The Princeton University Nobel laureate, whose battle with schizophrenia was dramatized in the movie, will appear in a CBS 60 Minutes interview due to air tomorrow to dispute allegations that filmmakers omitted parts of his life they found too unsavoury to depict on screen.
The most recent criticism of Nash came to light two weeks ago with the publication of a letter attacking Jews that the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician wrote in 1967.
According to 60 Minutes,Nash "vigorously denies" being anti-Semitic, although, he acknowledged he may have said things while delusional that could be construed as anti-Semitic.
The interview comes in the frenetic final days before the March 24 Academy Awards ceremony, for which A Beautiful Mind and star Russell Crowe are considered Oscar favourites for best picture and best actor despite a recent stream of negative media stories about Nash.
Nash also denied being homosexual but declined to discuss it.
Sylvia Nasar, author of the 1998 Nash biography on which the film was based, wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece Wednesday that she never doubted Nash was heterosexual. "While he had intense emotional relationships with other men in his 20s, no one I interviewed claimed, much less provided evidence, that Nash ever had sex with another man," she said.
A Beautiful Mind has been nominated for eight Oscars, but Crowe and director Ron Howard have expressed dismay at what Hollywood insiders see as an orchestrated smear campaign against the movie.
As for allegations that Nash had ignored an older son, John David Stier, who was born of a long-ago relationship not mentioned in the film, 60 Minutes reports the two are now close and that Stier even received a share of the royalties from A Beautiful Mind.
Nash's younger son, Johnny, also suffers from schizophrenia and lives at home with his parents. While the elder Nash credits his relationship with his son for his own partial recovery, he made an ironic observation about the mental illness developed by his child: "It's almost as if a demon might have passed from one host to another."