Sunday, 26 May, 2019

Why There's So Much Love For 'Gawjuss Gay Icon' Tab Hunter

Actor Tab Hunter 21 is shown in Hollywood Ca. in 1952 'Damn Yankees!' star Tab Hunter dead at 86
Adrian Cunningham | 10 July, 2018, 05:54

Hollywood stars are mourning the death of Tab Hunter, the Damn Yankees and Battle Cry alum, most famous for his roles in the 1950's. Hunter said he had been told by his longtime romantic partner Glaser that someone was planning to write a book about him, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Hunter had five years of intense fame. The actor was also a sometime recording star, his version of the tune "Young Love" for Dot Records in 1957 reached No. 1 and stayed there for six weeks.

In his 2005 memoir "Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star", Hunter recounted the stresses of being a love object to millions of young women when he was, in reality, gay.

The fuss over the young actor began two years later when he appeared bare-chested opposite Linda Darnell in the British-made "Island of Desire". "The dilemma, of course, was that being true to myself, and I'm talking sexually now, was impossible in 1953".

Glaser also told the Times that Hunter was a religious man who worked with paralyzed veterans and animals.

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Born Arthur Andrew Kelm, his screen tab (slang for "name" at the time) was fabricated by Henry Willson, the same talent agent who came up with the names Rock Hudson and Rory Calhoun.

"We were walking home and he collapsed in my arms in our front yard", Glaser said. "I'm very grateful for this road that I've been on - it's been a good one".

Though Hunter's blonde hair and bare torso would become enmeshed with the "beach party" genre, he in fact only ever made one of them: Ride the Wild Surf, which was filmed on location in Hawaii and co-starred Fabian, Barbara Eden and James Mitchum. He starred as Joe Hardy in the 1958 musical Damn Yankees! and was paired twice with fellow contract star Natalie Wood in The Burning Hills and The Girl He Left Behind.

At the age of 15 Hunter ran off to join the Coast Guard, but was dismissed from service after it was discovered he had lied about his age. Zachary Quinto, who is now working on a movie about Hunter's life and love with Anthony Perkins, wrote a long tribute to the actor on his Instagram account.

And Hollywood, in that strangely serendipitous way, has one final act of Hunter's life to replay: a month ago the studio Paramount announced it was developing a film from J.J. Abrams and Zachary Quinto about Hunter's relationship with Perkins. "I just didn't like any suggestions or questioning of my sexuality".