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Henry Willson, famous and infamous agent and creator of stars, named Tab Hunter. He also tagged Rock Hudson, Rory Calhoun, and other young sex symbols. Not all of them were gay, but they came to be known as Harry Willson's boys. (Another book about this time and subject is The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson by Robert Hofler.) Tab Hunter was completely manufactured. He even speaks of himself in the third person in the book.
Before he was 26, Hunter had hit the trifecta: he was a movie star, had a hit single in "Young Love," and was on the first live production of Playhouse 90 on television. His future success looked assured, but such was not the case. It was either feast of famine for the next few years. He was never a solid A-list leading man, but had his share of famous co-stars and leading ladies nevertheless.
While he was struggling with his true identity and trying to stay afloat financially, his mother had a complete breakdown and he was forced to hospitalize her in less than ideal conditions. This also had to be a secret from the fans. His friendships, both intimate and platonic, kept him going, as well as his deep faith in Catholicism. Yes, Catholicism. Tab Hunter has his own unique pact with God.
The book is filled with many pictures of Tab and his friends and with anecdotes about the stars: Tallulah Bankhead on her last legs, fuzzy and outrageous; Linda Darnell's kindness; John Wayne's macho strutting; Fred Astaire's humility; Van Heflin's professionalism, and on and on. This is sheer heaven for any movie fan. His relationship with Tony Perkins is noted, as is his liaison with Olympic figure skater Ronnie Robertson. (Tab, in addition to being an actor, singer and horseman was also an accomplished figure skater.) When the good parts disappeared after he left Warner Brothers, he went on tour with the Everly Brothers. Much later, now fully "out" he joined Divine in two John Waters movies: Polyester and Lust in the Dust, both cult classics. After suffering a stroke and a heart attack, he is now enjoying life in Santa Barbara with his longtime companion, Allan Glaser. As Tab succinctly puts it regarding his story: "Better to get it from the horse's mouth, I decided, and not from some horse's ass." --Valerie Ryan
Basically Tab is saying, "I was always out. It was Tony who was in the closet."
The sad thing is I never bought the book for myself, but did give it as a birthday present to a good friend who loved these guys as much as I did.
I found this book very honest and informative of the times - a nice ride down memory lane.
What a Life --- especially for a small town boy come to Lotus Land. He doesn't have a Mean Streak or the Gossip Gene, but he does not shy away from telling you whom he slept with... Read morePublished 19 days ago by david
Surprisingly beautiful tale wonderfully interspersed with personal photos. Touchingly written and done with great modesty.Published 1 month ago by Michael J. Brittain
A great look back through the workings of Hollywood.
Mr. Hunter has a great way of telling His Story!
The book is well-written and interesting. He was such a handsome man and down to earth. I was impressed with his humility.
Too bad he chose the wrong life style.
I never knew much about this wonderful person. He once had the fame and fortune that most of us think we want, but lets the reader know that it still comes with a price. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Robert N. Daugherty
I haven't even finished this book yet, but I love it. Will always remember him as a teenager ...Published 3 months ago by Sunshine5714