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Hudson in 1952
Roy Harold Scherer Jr.
November 17, 1925
Winnetka, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||October 2, 1985 (aged 59)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||AIDS-related complications|
|Monuments||Cenotaph at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Cathedral City, California|
|Other names||Roy Fitzgerald|
|Height||6 ft 5 in (196 cm)|
(m. 1955; div. 1958)
Rock Hudson (born Roy Harold Scherer Jr.; November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985) was an American actor. One of the most popular movie stars of his time, Hudson's screen career spanned four decades. A prominent heartthrob of the Golden Age of Hollywood, he achieved stardom with his role in Magnificent Obsession (1954), followed by All That Heaven Allows (1955), and Giant (1956), for which he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Hudson also found continued success with a string of romantic comedies co-starring Doris Day: Pillow Talk (1959), Lover Come Back (1961), and Send Me No Flowers (1964). During the late 1960s, his films included Seconds (1966), Tobruk (1967), and Ice Station Zebra (1968). Unhappy with the film scripts he was offered, Hudson turned to television and was a hit, starring in the popular mystery series McMillan & Wife (1971–1977). His last role was as a guest star on the fifth season (1984–1985) of the primetime ABC soap opera Dynasty, until AIDS-related illness made it impossible for him to continue.
Numerous film magazines declared Hudson Star of the Year, Favorite Leading Man, and similar titles. He appeared in nearly 70 films and starred in several television productions during a career that spanned more than four decades.
Although he was discreet regarding his sexual orientation, it was known by many in the film industry during his lifetime that he was gay. In 1984, Hudson was diagnosed with AIDS. The following year, he became one of the first celebrities to disclose his AIDS diagnosis. Hudson was the first major celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness, on October 2, 1985, at age 59, in Los Angeles, California.
Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer Jr. on November 17, 1925 in Winnetka, Illinois, the only child of Katherine (née Wood), a homemaker and later telephone operator, and Roy Harold Scherer Sr., an auto mechanic. His father was of German and Swiss descent, while his mother had English and Irish ancestry. He was raised as a Roman Catholic. During the Great Depression, Hudson's father lost his job and abandoned the family. Hudson's parents divorced when he was four years old; a few years later, in 1932, his mother married Wallace Fitzgerald, a former Marine Corps officer whom young Roy despised. Fitzgerald adopted his stepson without his consent, and his legal name then became Roy Fitzgerald. The marriage eventually ended in a bitter divorce and produced no children.
Hudson attended New Trier High School in Winnetka. At some point during his teenage years, he worked as an usher in a movie theater and developed an interest in acting. He tried out for a number of school plays, but failed to win any roles because he could not remember his lines, a problem that continued to occur through his early acting career.
He graduated from high school in 1943, and the following year enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II. After training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, he departed San Francisco aboard the troop transport SS Lew Wallace with orders to report to Aviation Repair and Overhaul Unit 2, then located on Samar, Philippines, as an aircraft mechanic. In 1946, he returned to San Francisco aboard an aircraft carrier, and was discharged the same year.
Hudson then moved to Los Angeles to live with his biological father (who had remarried) and to pursue an acting career. Initially he worked at odd jobs, including as a truck driver. He applied to the University of Southern California's dramatics program, but was rejected due to poor grades. After he sent talent scout Henry Willson a picture of himself in 1947, Willson took him on as a client and changed the young actor's name to Rock Hudson; later in life, Hudson admitted that he hated the name. The name was coined by combining the Rock of Gibraltar and the Hudson River.
Hudson was signed to a long-term contract by Universal-International. There he received coaching in acting, singing, dancing, fencing, and horseback riding, and began to be featured in film magazines where, being photogenic, he was promoted.
His first film at Universal was Undertow (1949), which gave him his first screen credit. He had small parts in Peggy (1950), Winchester '73 (1950) as an American Indian, The Desert Hawk (1950) (as an Arab), Tomahawk (1951), and Air Cadet (1951).
Hudson was billed third in The Fat Man (1951), but back down the cast list for Bright Victory (1951). He had a good part as a boxer in Iron Man (1951), starring Jeff Chandler, and as a gambler in Bend of the River (1952). He supported the Nelson family in Here Come the Nelsons (1951).
Hudson was promoted to leading man for Scarlet Angel (1952), opposite Yvonne De Carlo, who had been in Desert Hawk and Tomahawk. He co-starred with Piper Laurie in a comedy, Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952), the first of his films directed by Douglas Sirk.
In Horizons West (1952) Hudson supported Robert Ryan, but he was star again for a pair of Westerns, The Lawless Breed (1953) and Seminole (1953). In 1953 he appeared in a Camel commercial which showed him on the set of Seminole.
He and De Carlo were borrowed by RKO for Sea Devils (1953), an adventure set during the Napoleonic Wars. Back at Universal he played Harun al-Rashid in an "Eastern", The Golden Blade (1953). There was Gun Fury (1953), a Western, and Back to God's Country (1953). Hudson had the title role in Taza, Son of Cochise (1954), directed by Sirk and produced by Ross Hunter.
Magnificent Obsession and stardom
Hudson was by now firmly established as a leading man in adventure films. What turned him into a star was the romantic drama Magnificent Obsession (1954), co-starring Jane Wyman, produced by Hunter and directed by Sirk. The film received positive reviews, with Modern Screen Magazine citing Hudson as the most popular actor of the year. It made over $5 million at the box-office.
Hudson returned to adventure films with Bengal Brigade (1954), set during the Indian Mutiny, and Captain Lightfoot (1955), produced by Hunter and directed by Sirk. In 1954, exhibitors voted Hudson the 17th most popular star in the country.
Hudson's popularity soared with George Stevens' film Giant (1956). Hudson and his co-star James Dean were both nominated for Oscars in the Best Actor category. Another hit was Written on the Wind (1957), directed by Sirk and produced by Albert Zugsmith. Sirk also directed Hudson in Battle Hymn (1957), produced by Hudson, playing Dean Hess. These films propelled Hudson to be voted the most popular actor in American cinemas in 1957. He stayed in the "top ten" until 1964.
Hudson was borrowed by MGM to appear in Richard Brooks' Something of Value (1957), a box-office disappointment. So too was his next film, a remake of A Farewell to Arms (1957). To make A Farewell to Arms, he reportedly turned down Marlon Brando's role in Sayonara, William Holden's role in The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Charlton Heston's role in Ben-Hur. A Farewell to Arms received negative reviews, failed at the box office and became the last production by David O. Selznick. Hudson was reunited with the producer, director and two stars of Written on the Wind in The Tarnished Angels (1958), at Universal. He then made an adventure story, Twilight for the Gods (1958). This Earth Is Mine (1959) was a melodrama.
Romantic comedy star
Ross Hunter teamed Hudson with Doris Day in a romantic comedy, Pillow Talk (1959), which was a massive hit. Hudson was voted the most popular star in the country for 1959, and would be the second most popular for the next three years.
Less popular was a Western, The Last Sunset (1961), co-starring Kirk Douglas. Hudson then made two hugely popular comedies: Come September (1961) with Gina Lollobrigida, Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin, directed by Robert Mulligan; and Lover Come Back (1961) with Day.
He made two dramas: The Spiral Road (1962) was a medical adventure story, directed by Mulligan, and A Gathering of Eagles (1963), a military story, directed by Delbert Mann. Nonetheless, Hudson was still voted the third most popular star in 1963. Hudson went back to comedy for Man's Favorite Sport? (1964), directed by Howard Hawks and, more popularly, Send Me No Flowers (1964), this third and final film with Day. Along with Cary Grant, Hudson was regarded as one of the best-dressed male stars in Hollywood, and received Top 10 Stars of the Year a record-setting eight times from 1957 to 1964.
Decline as a star
Strange Bedfellows (1965), with Gina Lollobrigida, was a box office disappointment. So too was A Very Special Favor (1965), despite having the same writer and director as Pillow Talk. That year he was voted the 11th most popular star in the country, and he would never beat that rank again.
Hudson next appeared in a thriller, Blindfold (1966). Then, working outside his usual range, he starred in the science-fiction thriller Seconds (1966), directed by John Frankenheimer. The film may contain Hudson's best ever performance.
He also tried his hand in the action genre with Tobruk (1967), a World War Two film directed by Arthur Hiller. After the comedy A Fine Pair (1968) with Claudia Cardinale, he starred in the action thriller Ice Station Zebra (1968) at MGM, a role which he had actively sought and remained his personal favorite. The film was a hit but struggled to recoup its large cost.
Hudson dabbled in westerns, appearing opposite John Wayne in The Undefeated (1969). He co-starred opposite Julie Andrews in the Blake Edwards musical Darling Lili (1970), which was reasonably popular but it became notorious for its huge cost.
During the 1970's and 1980's, he starred in a number of TV movies and series. His most successful television series was McMillan & Wife opposite Susan Saint James, which ran from 1971 to 1977. Hudson played police commissioner Stewart "Mac" McMillan, with Saint James as his wife, Sally, and their on-screen chemistry helped make the show a hit.
During the series, Rock Hudson appeared in Showdown (1973), a western with Dean Martin, and Embryo (1976), a science-fiction film. Hudson took a risk and surprised many by making a successful foray into live theater late in his career, the best received of his efforts being I Do! I Do! in 1974.
After McMillan ended, Hudson made a disaster movie for New World Pictures, Avalanche (1978), and two miniseries, Wheels (1978) and The Martian Chronicles (1980). He was one of several faded stars in The Mirror Crack'd (1980) and co-starred in The Beatrice Arthur Special (1980).
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In the early 1980's, following years of heavy drinking and smoking, Hudson began having health problems which resulted in a heart attack in November 1981. Emergency quintuple heart bypass surgery sidelined Hudson and his new TV show The Devlin Connection for a year, and the show was canceled in December 1982 soon after it had first aired.
Hudson recovered from the heart surgery but continued to smoke. He nevertheless continued to work with appearances in several TV movies such as World War III (1982). He was in ill health while filming the action-drama film The Ambassador in Israel during the winter months from late 1983 to early 1984. He reportedly did not get along with his co-star Robert Mitchum, who had a serious drinking problem and often clashed off-camera with Hudson and other cast and crew members.
From December 1984 to April 1985, Hudson appeared in a recurring role on the ABC prime time soap opera Dynasty as Daniel Reece, a wealthy horse breeder and a potential love interest for Krystle Carrington (played by Linda Evans), as well as the biological father of the character Sammy Jo Carrington (Heather Locklear). While Hudson had long been known to have difficulty memorizing lines, which resulted in his use of cue cards, it was his speech itself that began to visibly deteriorate on Dynasty. He was originally slated to appear for the duration of the show's second half of its fifth season; however, because of his progressing ill health, his character was abruptly written out of the show and died off-screen.
While his career developed, Hudson and his agent Henry Willson kept the actor's personal life out of the headlines. In 1955, Confidential magazine threatened to publish an exposé about Hudson's secret homosexuality. Willson stalled this by disclosing information about two of his other clients. Willson provided information about Rory Calhoun's years in prison and the arrest of Tab Hunter at a party in 1950. According to some colleagues, Hudson's homosexual activity was well known in Hollywood throughout his career, and former co-stars Julie Andrews, Mia Farrow, Elizabeth Taylor, and Susan Saint James claimed that they knew of his homosexuality, as did Carol Burnett.
Soon after the Confidential incident, Hudson married Willson's secretary Phyllis Gates. Gates later wrote that she dated Hudson for several months, lived with him for two months before his surprise marriage proposal, and married Hudson out of love and not (as it was later reported) to prevent an exposé of Hudson's sexual past. Press coverage of the wedding quoted Hudson as saying: "When I count my blessings, my marriage tops the list." Gates filed for divorce after three years in April 1958, citing mental cruelty. Hudson did not contest the divorce and Gates received alimony of $250 a week for 10 years. Gates never remarried.
According to the biography Rock Hudson: His Story (1986) by Hudson and Sara Davidson, Hudson was good friends with novelist Armistead Maupin. The book also names certain of Hudson's lovers, including Jack Coates; Tom Clark (who published a memoir about Hudson, Rock Hudson: Friend of Mine); actor and stockbroker Lee Garlington; and Marc Christian (born Marc Christian MacGinnis), who later won a suit against the Hudson estate.
In 2005, Bob Hofler published a biography of Hudson's agent, Henry Willson, titled The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson. He told The Village Voice that Phyllis Gates attempted to blackmail Hudson about his homosexual activities. The LGBT news magazine The Advocate published an article by Hofler, who claimed that Gates was actually a lesbian who believed from the beginning of their relationship that Hudson was gay.
An urban legend states that Hudson married Jim Nabors in the early 1970s. Not only was same-sex marriage not recognized under the laws of any American state at the time, but, at least publicly, Hudson and Nabors were nothing more than friends. According to Hudson, the legend originated with a group of "middle-aged homosexuals who live in Huntington Beach" who sent out joke invitations for their annual get-together. One year, the group invited its members to witness "the marriage of Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors", at which Hudson would take the surname of Nabors' character, Gomer Pyle, becoming Rock Pyle.
The joke was evidently already in the mainstream by this time. In the October 1972 edition of MAD magazine (issue no. 154), an article entitled "When Watching Television, You Can be Sure of Seeing...", gossip columnist 'Rona Boring' states: "And there isn't a grain of truth to the vicious rumor that movie and TV star Rock Heman and singer Jim Nelly were secretly married! Rock and Jim are just good buddies! I repeat, they are not married! They are not even going steady!" Those who failed to get the joke spread the rumor and as a result, Hudson and Nabors (then still in the closet) never spoke to each other again.
Although he was raised Roman Catholic, Hudson later identified as an atheist. A week before Hudson died, his publicist Tom Clark asked a priest to visit. Hudson made a confession, received communion, and was administered last rites. Hudson was also visited by a Pentecostal prayer group, which included Pat and Shirley Boone.
Illness and death
Unknown to the public, Hudson was diagnosed with HIV on June 5, 1984, just three years after the emergence of the first cluster of symptomatic patients in the U.S., and only one year after the initial identification by scientists of the HIV virus that causes AIDS. Over the next several months, Hudson kept his illness a secret and continued to work while, at the same time, traveling to France and other countries seeking a cure – or at least treatment to slow the progress of the disease.
On July 16, 1985, Hudson joined his old friend Doris Day for a Hollywood press conference announcing the launch of her new TV cable show Doris Day's Best Friends in which Hudson was videotaped visiting Day's ranch in Carmel, California, a few days earlier. He appeared gaunt and his speech was nearly incoherent; during the segment, Hudson did very little speaking, with most of it consisting of Day and Hudson walking around as Day's recording of "My Buddy" played in the background, with Hudson noting he had quickly tired out. His appearance was enough of a shock that the reunion was broadcast repeatedly over national news shows that night and for days to come. Media outlets speculated on Hudson's health. Day later acknowledged: "He was very sick. But I just brushed that off and I came out and put my arms around him and said, 'Am I glad to see you.
Two days later, Hudson traveled to Paris, France, for another round of treatment. After Hudson collapsed in his room at the Ritz Hotel in Paris on July 21, his publicist, Dale Olson, released a statement claiming that Hudson had inoperable liver cancer. Olson denied reports that Hudson had AIDS and would say only that he was undergoing tests for "everything" at the American Hospital of Paris. But, four days later, July 25, 1985, Hudson's French publicist Yanou Collart confirmed that Hudson did, in fact, have AIDS. He was among the first mainstream celebrities to have been diagnosed with the disease.
Hudson flew back to Los Angeles on July 30. He was so weak that he was removed by stretcher from the Air France Boeing 747 he had chartered, and, on which, he and his medical attendants were the only passengers. He was flown by helicopter to UCLA Medical Center, where he spent nearly a month undergoing further treatment. He was released from the hospital in late August 1985 and returned to his home, "The Castle", in Beverly Crest, Los Angeles, just north of Beverly Hills, for private hospice care.
At around 9:00 a.m. on the morning of October 2, 1985, Hudson died in his sleep from AIDS-related complications at his home in Beverly Crest at age 59, less than seven weeks before what would have been his 60th birthday. Hudson requested that no funeral be held. His body was cremated hours after his death and a cenotaph was later established at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California. His ashes were scattered in the channel between Wilmington and Santa Catalina Island.
The disclosure of Hudson's AIDS diagnosis provoked widespread public discussion of his homosexual identity. In Logical Family: A Memoir, gay author Armistead Maupin, who was a friend of Hudson's, writes that he was the first person to confirm to the press that Hudson was gay in 1985, effectively outing him. Maupin explains that he said it to Randy Shilts of the San Francisco Chronicle, and that he was annoyed that producer Ross Hunter, who was gay himself, denied it. In its August 15, 1985, issue, People magazine published a story that discussed his disease in the context of his sexuality. The largely sympathetic article featured comments from show business colleagues such as Angie Dickinson, Robert Stack, and Mamie Van Doren, who claimed they knew about Hudson's homosexuality and expressed their support for him. At that time, People had a circulation of more than 2.8 million, and, as a result of this and other stories, Hudson's homosexuality became fully public. Hudson's revelation had an immediate impact on the visibility of AIDS, and on the funding of medical research related to the disease.
Shortly after Hudson's press release disclosing his infection, William M. Hoffman, the author of As Is, a play about AIDS that appeared on Broadway in 1985, stated: "If Rock Hudson can have it, nice people can have it. It's just a disease, not a moral affliction." At the same time, Joan Rivers was quoted as saying: "Two years ago, when I hosted a benefit for AIDS, I couldn't get one major star to turn out. ... Rock's admission is a horrendous way to bring AIDS to the attention of the American public, but by doing so, Rock, in his life, has helped millions in the process. What Rock has done takes true courage." Morgan Fairchild said that "Rock Hudson's death gave AIDS a face." In a telegram Hudson sent to a September 1985 Hollywood AIDS benefit, Commitment to Life, which he was too ill to attend in person, Hudson said: "I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth."
Shortly after his death, People reported: "Since Hudson made his announcement, more than $1.8 million in private contributions (more than double the amount collected in 1984) has been raised to support AIDS research and to care for AIDS victims (5,523 reported in 1985 alone). A few days after Hudson died, Congress set aside $221 million to develop a cure for AIDS." Organizers of the Hollywood AIDS benefit, Commitment to Life, reported after Hudson's announcement that he was suffering from the disease, it was necessary to move the event to a larger venue to accommodate the increased attendance. Shortly before his death Hudson made the first direct contribution, $250,000, to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, helping launch the non-profit organization dedicated to AIDS/HIV research and prevention; it was formed by a merger of a Los Angeles organization founded by Dr. Michael S. Gottlieb, Hudson's physician, and Elizabeth Taylor, his friend and onetime co-star, and a New York-based group.
However, Hudson's revelation did not immediately dispel the stigma of AIDS. Although then-president Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy were friends of Hudson, Reagan made no public statement concerning Hudson's condition. However, Reagan did in fact phone Hudson privately in his Paris hospital room where he was being treated in July 1985 and released a condolence statement after his death.
After Hudson revealed his diagnosis, a controversy arose concerning his participation in a scene in the television drama Dynasty in which he shared a long and repeated kiss with actress Linda Evans in one episode (first aired in February 1985). When filming the scene, Hudson was aware that he had AIDS, but did not inform Evans. Some felt that he should have disclosed his condition to her beforehand. At the time, it was thought that the virus was present in low quantities in saliva and tears (it is not), but there had been no reported cases of transmission by kissing. Nevertheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had warned against exchanging saliva with members of groups perceived to be at high risk for AIDS.
According to comments given in August 1985 by Ed Asner, then president of the Screen Actors Guild, Hudson's revelation caused incipient "panic" within the film and television industry. Asner said that he was aware of scripts being rewritten to eliminate kissing scenes. Later in the same year, the Guild issued rules requiring that actors be notified in advance of any "open-mouth" kissing scenes, and provided that they could refuse to participate in such scenes without penalty. Linda Evans herself appears not to have been angry at Hudson, and asked to introduce the segment of the 1985 Commitment to Life benefit that was dedicated to Hudson.
Researchers including journalist Torsten Engelbrecht have questioned Hudson's HIV diagnosis. Hudson's male lover, Amistad Maupin, is HIV negative  and officially Hudson tested positive on July 5, 1984. The American HIV screening test had only been patented in April. The patent had not yet been licensed by the NIH, and the competing French test had not entered into production. At the time of testing, the confirmatory "Western Blot" had yet to be developed, and the first generation experimental HIV screening test was known to have up to 70% false positives without the confirmatory test. The test only entered industrial production in December 1984, approved by the FDA on March 2, 1985 and was highly rationed through 1986. There is no plausible mechanism of action against HV for the chemotherapy HPA-23 for which Hudson traveled to Paris in 1984, but its use makes sense as a treatment for liver cancer, which was the original rumor to explain his apparent ill-health after he started taking the drug, which like many chemotherapies creates clinical symptoms similar to AIDS. Hudson was a personal friend of Mathlide Krim, president of what became AMFAR and he left $250,000 to a foundation being established by his other friend Elizabeth Taylor that would be merged into AMFAR. Taylor had co-organized a "Commitment for Life" dinner in Los Angeles scheduled for September 5, 1985 to raise funds for AIDS research but had only sold 200 tickets, but after Hudson's AIDS announcement in July, she sold 2500 and received a greeting from President Reagan.. Engelbrecht suggests that Hudson in fact had terminal liver cancer but let it be known to the world he had AIDS in order to raise public awareness of the disease and use his publicity to enhance public support for his seed bequest for AIDS research
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Hudson was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (located at 6116 Hollywood Blvd). Following his death, Elizabeth Taylor, his co-star in the film Giant, purchased a bronze plaque for Hudson on the West Hollywood Memorial Walk. In 2002, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.
Following Hudson's death, Marc Christian, Hudson's former lover, sued his estate on grounds of "intentional infliction of emotional distress".
Christian claimed Hudson continued having sex with him until February 1985, more than eight months after Hudson knew that he had HIV. Although he repeatedly tested negative for HIV, Christian claimed that he suffered from "severe emotional distress" after learning from a July 25, 1985 newscast that Hudson had been diagnosed with AIDS. Christian also sued Hudson's personal secretary, Mark Miller, for $10 million because Miller allegedly lied to him about Hudson's illness. In 1989, a jury awarded Christian $21.75 million in damages, later reduced to $5.5 million. Christian later defended Hudson's reputation in not telling him he was infected: "You can't dismiss a man's whole life with a single act. This thing about AIDS was totally out of character for him", he stated in an interview.
In 1990, Hudson's live-in publicist, Tom Clark, and publicist Dick Kleiner published Rock Hudson, Friend of Mine. In the book Clark said he believed Hudson acquired HIV from blood transfusions during quintuple bypass open-heart surgery in 1981; never acknowledged that their relationship went beyond being roommates; and characterized Christian as disreputable. Christian filed a $22 million libel suit against the authors and publisher, charging that he had been labelled "a criminal, a thief, an unclean person, a blackmailer, a psychotic, an extortionist, a forger, a perjurer, a liar, a whore, an arsonist and a squatter".
In 2010, Robert Park Mills, the attorney who represented the Hudson estate against Christian in court, released a book titled Between Rock and a Hard Place: In Defense of Rock Hudson. In the book, Mills discusses details of the trial and also questions Christian's allegations against Hudson.
|1949||Undertow||Detective||Credited as Roc Hudson|
|1950||Peggy||Johnny "Scat" Mitchell|
|1950||Winchester '73||Young Bull|
|1950||The Desert Hawk||Captain Ras|
|1951||Air Cadet||Upper classman|
|1951||The Fat Man||Roy Clark|
|1951||Iron Man||Tommy "Speed" O'Keefe (Kosco)|
|1952||Bend of the River||Trey Wilson|
|1952||Here Come the Nelsons||Charles E. "Charlie" Jones|
|1952||Scarlet Angel||Frank Truscott (Panama)|
|1952||Has Anybody Seen My Gal?||Dan Stebbins|
|1952||Horizons West||Neil Hammond|
|1953||The Lawless Breed||John Wesley Hardin|
|1953||The Golden Blade||Harun|
|1953||Gun Fury||Ben Warren|
|1953||Back to God's Country||Peter Keith|
|1954||Taza, Son of Cochise||Taza|
|1954||Magnificent Obsession||Bob Merrick|
|1954||Bengal Brigade||Capt. Jeffrey Claybourne|
|1955||Captain Lightfoot||Michael Martin|
|1955||One Desire||Clint Saunders|
|1955||All That Heaven Allows||Ron Kirby|
|1956||Never Say Goodbye||Dr. Michael Parker|
|1956||Giant||Jordan "Bick" Benedict Jr.||Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor|
|1956||Written on the Wind||Mitch Wayne|
|1957||Battle Hymn||Col. Dean Hess|
|1957||Something of Value||Peter|
|1957||The Tarnished Angels||Burke Devlin|
|1957||A Farewell to Arms||Lt. Frederick Henry|
|1958||Twilight for the Gods||Captain David Bell|
|1959||This Earth Is Mine||John Rambeau|
|1959||Pillow Talk||Brad Allen|
|1961||The Last Sunset||Dana Stribling|
|1961||Come September||Robert L. Talbot|
|1961||Lover Come Back||Jerry Webster|
|1962||The Spiral Road||Dr. Anton Drager|
|1963||A Gathering of Eagles||Col. Jim Caldwell|
|1964||Man's Favorite Sport?||Roger Willoughby|
|1964||Send Me No Flowers||George|
|1965||Strange Bedfellows||Carter Harrison|
|1965||A Very Special Favor||Paul Chadwick|
|1966||Blindfold||Dr. Bartholomew Snow|
|1966||Seconds||Antiochus "Tony" Wilson|
|1967||Tobruk||Maj. Donald Craig|
|1968||A Fine Pair||Capt. Mike Harmon|
|1968||Ice Station Zebra||Cdr. James Ferraday|
|1969||The Undefeated||Col. James Langdon|
|1970||Darling Lili||Major William Larrabee|
|1970||Hornets' Nest||Captain Turner|
|1971||Pretty Maids All in a Row||Michael "Tiger" McDrew|
|1976||Embryo||Dr. Paul Holliston|
|1980||The Mirror Crack'd||Jason Rudd|
|1981||The Star Maker||Danny Youngblood||made-for-television|
|1982||World War III||President Thomas McKenna||made-for-television|
|1984||The Ambassador||Frank Stevenson|
|1984||The Vegas Strip War||Neil Chaine||made-for-television|
|1954–1955||The Colgate Comedy Hour||Himself||2 episodes|
|1955||I Love Lucy||Himself||Episode: "In Palm Springs"|
|1962||The Jack Benny Program||Himself||Episode: "Rock Hudson Show"|
|1968–1969||Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In||Himself||3 episodes|
|1970||The Jim Nabors Hour||Himself||1 episode|
|1971–1977||McMillan & Wife||Police Commissioner Stewart "Mac" McMillan||40 episodes|
|1975–1977||The Carol Burnett Show||Himself||3 episodes|
|1980||The Martian Chronicles||Col. John Wilder||Miniseries|
|1980||The Beatrice Arthur Special||Himself||TV special|
|1982||The Devlin Connection||Brian Devlin||13 episodes|
|1984–1985||Dynasty||Daniel Reece||9 episodes; Final role|
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|1956||Photoplay Awards||Most Popular Male Star||Himself|
|1957||Photoplay Awards||Most Popular Male Star||Himself|
|1958||Laurel Awards||Top Male Star||Himself|
|1959||Bambi Awards||Best Actor – International||This Earth is Mine|
|1959||Golden Globe Award||World Film Favorite – Male||Himself|
|1959||Laurel Awards||Top Male Star||Himself|
|1959||Photoplay Awards||Most Popular Male Star||Himself|
|1960||Bambi Awards||Best Actor – International||Pillow Talk|
|1960||Golden Globe Award||World Film Favorite – Male||Himself|
|1960||Laurel Awards||Top Male Star||Himself|
|1961||Bambi Awards||Best Actor – International||Come September|
|1961||Golden Globe Award||World Film Favorite – Male||Himself|
|1962||Bambi Awards||Best Actor – International||The Spiral Road|
|1963||Golden Globe Award||World Film Favorite – Male||Himself|
|1963||Laurel Awards||Top Male Star||Himself|
|1964||Bambi Awards||Best Actor – International||Man's Favorite Sport?|
|1967||Bambi Awards||Best Actor – International||Seconds|
|1977||TP de Oro||Best Foreign Actor (Mejor Actor Extranjero)||McMillan & Wife|
Box office rankings
For a number of years exhibitors voted Hudson as among the most popular stars in the country:
- 1954 – 17th (US)
- 1955 – 24th (US), 9th (UK)
- 1956 – 11th (US)
- 1957 – 1st (US), 4th (UK)
- 1958 – 5th (US)
- 1959 – 1st (US)
- 1960 – 2nd (US)
- 1961 – 2nd (US)
- 1962 – 2nd (US)
- 1963 – 3rd (US)
- 1964 – 3rd (US)
- 1965 – 11th (US)
- 1966 – 18th (US)
In popular culture
Hudson has been the subject of three plays: Rock (2008), starring Michael Xavier as Hudson, For Roy (2010), starring Richard Henzel as Hudson, and Hollywood Valhalla (2011), starring Patrick Byrnes as Hudson.
British band Big Audio Dynamite's debut album, This Is Big Audio Dynamite, contains a song about the AIDS crisis titled "Stone Thames." The phrase was derived from "Rock Hudson" by replacing "Rock" with "Stone," and "Hudson" (also the name of a river) with "Thames."
- "Magnificent Obsession (1954) - Articles - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- "Overview for Rock Hudson". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- |title=Biography for Rock Hudson |publisher=Turner Classic Movies Database. tcmdb.com |access-date=December 4, 2012 |url-status=dead |archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20090330041810/http://www.tcmdb.com/participant.jsp?participantId=90260%7C133734&afiPersonalNameId=null |archive-date=March 30, 2009 }}
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Rock Hudson's house, just north of the Beverly Hills city limit, where the actor lived for about 20 years before he died last October, has been put on the market for $2.95 million.
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- See: Hofler, Robert. The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005, pp. 248–50; Oppenheimer, Jerry and Vitek, Jack. Idol Rock Hudson: The True Story of an American Film Hero. New York: Villard Books, 1986, p. 55.
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Ms.Day said, "He was very sick. But I just brushed that off and I came out and put my arms around him and said, 'Am I glad to see you.'
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When the Chronicle reporter called, I kept it simple: I said yes of course, Rock was widely known in the industry to be gay, so there was no scandal at all here beyond the fact that it had taken this horrendous disease to demolish the charade that had made Rock's life miserable for so long.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rock Hudson.|
- Rock Hudson on IMDb
- Rock Hudson at the TCM Movie Database
- Transcript of CNN Larry King, 7 June 2001, Special on Rock Hudson offscreen with Dale Olson
- Transcript of CNN Larry King, 1 October 2003, 18th anniversary of Hudson's death
- FBI Records: The Vault – Rock Hudson at vault.fbi.gov
- Image of Rock Hudson, Gene Roddenberry, and Roger Vadim posing with women cast members for motion picture "Pretty Maids All in a Row," California, 1970. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive (Collection 1429). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.