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Gay History, Gay Celebrities, Gay Icons

Gay History celebrates the lives of famous gay men, gay celebrities and gay icons from the worlds of Film/TV, Art, Design, Music, Literature, Business and Politics. 200+ Intimate Profiles - Tchaikovsky to George Michael, Oscar Wilde to Truman Capote, Salvador Dali to David Hockney, Yves St Laurent to Gianni Versace, Rock Hudson to Stephen Fry to name but a few - they form a vast and exciting part of gay history.
Rock Hudson

Life Span: Born 17th November 1925; Died 2nd October 1985

Star Sign: Scorpio
Famous As: US Actor

Childhood: He was brought up in the suburbs of Chicago. His original name was Roy Harold Scherer Jr. He was adopted as Roy Fitzgerald.

Work: 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 ignore.
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 about AIDS.

Greatest 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.

Friends & 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 his inheritance.

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