Actor Rock Hudson lived during an era when many of the things that are greatly accepted today were considered taboo.
When he was ten, his mom divorced his father and he ended up living with her and his step-father who often mocked him for wanting to become an actor. Sadly, this, together with his inability to remember long lines as a youngster, prevented him from pursuing a career from early age.
As he grew older, Hudson worked for the post office and then joined the WWII war effort as an airplane mechanic. Following the war, he worked as a truck driver and passed out his headshot and information at studio lots. Luckily, Henry Willson, a talent scout who later turned his manager, noticed Hudson and offered to help him find his place under the Hollywood sky. It was Hudson’s good looks that helped him land a role which turned into a big breakthrough, that in Fighter Squadron.
Hudson became a well-known name in the world of film and roles started coming one after another. He found success, but it was his personal life that he experienced troubles with.
At one point of his life, at the peak of his career, Confidential magazine threatened to expose his sexuality, something he tried hiding from the rest of the world.
Hudson was a homosexual, and that wasn’t something people approved of at the time.
In order to stop people from talking, he decided to marry his agent’s secretary, Phyllis Gates. The two claimed they were much in love, but divorced some three years later with Gates claiming she experienced mental cruelty. Hudson agreed to pay her alimony for he next ten years and Gates never remarried.
As of Hudson, he dated Lee Garlington from 1962 to 1965 but it wasn’t until Hudson’s biography was released that Garlington understood he was the actor’s “true love.”
“I’d sneak out at 6 am in my Chevy Nova and coast down the street without turning on the engine so the neighbors wouldn’t hear. We thought we were being so clever,” Garlington said. However, Hudson decided to call the relationship quits after a fan broke into his home to find evidence of his sexuality.
One of the most significant relationships Hudson had been involved in was that with Christian, a 28-year-old actor who had gained fame for his roles in films such as 1988’s Deadly Addiction, and who was twice the age younger than Hudson. The two met at a political fundraiser and clicked right away, and just as they were the happiest they had ever been, Hudson started experiencing strange symptoms such as body sores, weight loss, and extreme sweating bouts. These symptoms were due to AIDS, a disease little was known of back in the day.
Hudson was hesitant whether to go public with the diagnosis because he was aware AIDS was closely connected to homosexuality so he decided to stay silent for some time. He even hid the condition from his partner.
Eventually, the actor went public via a statement, and that was how his lover Christian learned Hudson had AIDS.
Following Hudson’s passing in 1985, Christian sued him for hiding the truth about the disease from him, citing emotional distress and fear of infection.
After considering his case, the jury awarded Christian 21.7 million dollars, but the amount was later cut down to 5.5 million dollars.
Rock Hudson was a great actor with a turbulent private life. He was, however, loved and adored by many, including his close friends Elizabeth Taylor and Doris Day, who were protecting him during his life.
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