He was brought up in the suburbs of Chicago. His
original name was Roy Harold Scherer Jr. He was
adopted as Roy Fitzgerald.
He went into military service in World War II.
After the war he moved to Los Angeles and worked
as a truck driver. He was discovered by a talent
agent Henry Willson who was also gay and who also
launched the careers of Troy Donahue and Tab Hunter.
Henry Willson gave Hudson his new name and carefully
fashioned his image. After acting lessons and
small parts in a number of films, Hudson's first
major success was in 'Magnificent Obsession' in
1954, after which he became an international star.
In 1985 Hudson began to show signs of serious
illness and there were rumours that he had AIDS.
In fact he had been diagnosed with AIDS on 5th.
June, 1984 but when the signs of illness became
apparent his publicity staff and doctors told
the public that he had liver cancer. It was on
25th. July 1985 when a spokesperson for Hudson
finally acknowledged that he had AIDS. This had
an enormous impact on the public perception of
AIDS. Here was the first famous white and wealthy
person who was a Republican who had been a symbol
of heterosexuality and who had been struck down
with a disease that so many people had tried to
The press still skirted around the issue of Hudson's
sexuality, with speculation about how he might
have become infected with HIV. There was also
concern expressed about the danger that the actor
Linda Evans might have been put into with her
screen kiss with Hudson in the television series
Dynasty. It was finally the San Francisco Chronicle
which published a story in which Armistead Maupin
revealed Rock Hudson's sexuality and lifestyle.
The whole public then would be shocked by the
revelation that such a stereotype of male heterosexuality
could in reality be homosexual.
With Rock Hudson's death on 2nd. October 1985
AIDS came out of the closet and a turning point
was reached with the public awareness and funding
for the disease. However, it would be two years
before Ronald Reagan, Hudson's longterm friend,
would be able to bring himself to talk publicly
Achievements: He became the first
major US screen star to acknowledge having AIDS.
Hudson became one of the world's most popular
film stars in the 1950s. He won the USA Golden
Globe film award for "Favorite Male"
in 1959, 1960, 1961, and 1963.
Relationships: Behind the scenes
he had affairs with a number of men and he could
not hide his sexuality from those who worked with
him in the film industry. But the facts were hidden
from the general public and to quell some of the
rumours Henry Willson encouraged him to court
and then marry his secretary, Phyllis Gates in
1955. They were divorced three years later.
The writer Armistead Maupin met Hudson in 1976
when he was introduced by Jack Coates who had
been Rock Hudson's lover for four or five years.
Armistead Maupin then became an occasional lover.
There was much talk about a biography of Rock
Hudson being written in which his true story would
be told, but it was apparent that it would not
be allowed to happen. In Armistead Maupin's Further
Tales of the City Michael Tolliver links up with
a closeted macho icon referred to as Blank Blank.
This has been seen as a thinly disguised representation
of Rock Hudson. In fact Armistead Maupin claims
that he changed details to avoid the character
being recognised as Hudson and that it was not
meant to be about a specific person but rather
about a type.
Hudson's last lover was Marc Christian who claimed
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