Tab Hunter was a Hollywood heartthrob whose career skyrocketed after he landed a role in the 1955’s Battle Cry. He was adored by millions and his stunning looks charmed many.
When he was 15, he lied about his age so that he could get enlisted in the United States Coast Guard where he earned the nickname Hollywood because of his infatuation with movies. At 17, Hunter was discovered by legendary agent Henry Willson who had previously found male superstars like Robert Wagner and Rock Hudson.
“Acting skill was secondary to chiseled features and a fine physique,” Hunter revealed in his book Tab Hunter Confidential.
And he was so right, because it was mostly his ”Malibu beach boy looks” that helped him become part of Hollywood in the first place. ”I was sort of a product of. I was thrown into it, and kind of wondered where does one serve one’s apprenticeship. I was one of those people who had to learn while doing. I learned on the job,” he said.
As his career progressed and more and more people fell for his looks and acting, Hunter dealt with personal issues. In fact, he was a homosexual, but speaking about it openly in then-controversial America was not an option. He knew that if he revealed his sexuality, his career would suffer. Sadly, he was forced to pursue his relationships in the shadows and out of the public eye.
While Hunter dated fellow star Anthony Perkins, people started talking around.
Speaking of their relationship, the actor said, ”We just chatted and got on and soon we were starting to see each other But it was difficult; we couldn’t just go out for dinner together or go see a movie because we were both getting so popular back then. I didn’t talk about my personal life to anyone back then at all. The way I saw it it was nobody’s damn business.”
At one point, Hunter was told that someone was intending to write a book about him, and he was certain things about his sexuality would be revealed in there so he finally decided to tell the truth himself. He explained to The Hollywood Reporter that it was best to “get it from the horse’s mouth.”
Before he came out of the closet, Hunter was believed to be dating his Burning Hills costar, Natalie Wood. Warner Bros, the studio that offered Hunter a seven-year contract, placed the two young stars together. They pretended to be dating and attended numerous award shows and ceremonies together. At one point, he was also very close to star Debbie Reynolds. As everyone believed he was a straight man, Hunter received endless amounts of mail from female fans.
He eventually married the man he was in love with for a long time, Allan Glaser. The two lived a quiet life away from the public eye in a small cottage in a town on the outskirts of Santa Barbara.
Tab Hunter passed away at 86 from a heart attack after a blood clot entered his lungs. He has had quite a career.
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