He was manly, he was handsome and oh my goodness he was fabulous to watch on screen. Of course I’m talking about Rock Hudson, this week’s classic Hollywood throwback Thursday.
I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Hudson, mostly cause I remember being a kid and thinking that “Rock” was a hilarious name. But then, does he look like a Roy Harold Scherer Jr. to you? Cause that was his real name.
So let’s get to know the man a bit shall we?
Rock started his acting career in 1948 with a bit part in the Fighter Squadron. Despite the fact that it took him 38 takes to get his one line right, the studio clearly saw potential in the actor (I mean, have you looked at him?) and gave him acting lessons until he finally hit it big with 1954′s Magnificent Obsession.
The film Giant, co-starring Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean, followed in 1956, and earned Rock his first–and only–Oscar nomination. He continued to make fairly serious films in the last 1950s, a stark contrast to his period of romantic comedies in the 1960s.
That’s really where I learned to love him. Rock and his partner in crime Doris Day (think of them as classic Hollywood’s Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) starred together in Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers, and were basically the toast of Hollywood’s romantic comedies.
His career in films began to fade in the 1970s, which sent him to TV. He had a major hit with McMillan & Wife from 1971 to 1977, and even popped up on the soap opera Dynasty for 9 episodes from 1984 to 1985.
Rock’s personal life was also very fascinating. Thanks to the Hollywood’s tight publicity system during that era, the public never officially knew that Rock was gay. When the tabloid magazine Confidential threatening to reveal it in 1955, Rock immediately married his agent’s secretary, Phyllis Gates, although they divorced three years later. He was able to keep both his relationships and his sexual orientation a secret until after his death.
Sadly, Rock was diagnosed with HIV in June of 1984. His team kept it a secret until July of 1985, when they claimed he contracted it from a bad blood transfusion. Rock passed away in his sleep on October 2, 1985 from AIDS-related complications. Lucky for us, we’ll always have his work to keep his memory alive. So what should you watch this weekend? Giant, Pillow Talk, then all of McMillan & Wife (it’s on Netflix instant!).