Rock Hudson

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Rock Hudson

Rock Hudson (November 17, 1925October 2, 1985) was an American actor, famous for his rugged good looks. He was the first major American celebrity known to have died from AIDS - related cancer of the lymph glands, and the announcement of his death from the disease at the age of 59 brought it wider public attention in the United States.

Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer Jr. in Winnetka, Illinois. He served in the United States Navy during World War II as an airplane mechanic. His good looks and strapping size got him a Hollywood audition; capped teeth and a name change got him a small part in the 1948 film Fighter Squadron. In 1956 he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and two years later, Look Magazine named him Star of the Year.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Hudson was known for several fluff comedies, co-starring Doris Day. The two made Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers together. After his death, fans would note the irony in that fact that in many of these light comedies Hudson played a straight man that would pose as gay in order to get a woman into bed.

Many consider his performance as the elderly New York City banker Arthur Hamilton turned young Malibu painter Tony Wilson in the 1966 science fiction film by director John Frankenheimer, Seconds, as the finest of his career. From 1971 to 1978, Hudson starred opposite Susan St. James in the popular American television series McMillan and Wife that aired on NBC.

Hudson married studio employee Phyllis Gates in 1955, and the news was made known by all the major gossip magazines. The couple divorced in 1958. It is thought the studio used this sham marriage in order to cover Hudson's homosexuality, which at the time would have been a liability at the box office if it were made known. Hudson remained in the closet until his sexual orientation became known toward the end of his life.

Following Hudson's death, his live-in lover Marc Christian filed a palimony lawsuit against his estate and won.

Hudson has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6104 Hollywood Boulevard.


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