Saturday, 22 September, 2018

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

US actor Tab Hunter has died aged 86 US actor Tab Hunter has died aged 86
Freda Brock | 10 July, 2018, 18:14

Onetime teen heartthrob Tab Hunter, who starred in films like "Damn Yankees!" and "The Burning Hills", who later became a gay icon has died.

Writing in his memoir, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, which was published in 2005, Hunter spoke openly of his struggle with his public and private lives. Hunter was also an accomplished musical artist, scoring a number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1956 with his song Young Love. According to reports, he died at 86-years-old from a blood clot in his leg which triggered cardiac arrest.

Hunter's memoir was adapted into a critically acclaimed documentary of the same name, released in 2015. His vocal abilities and film success led to his being cast as Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees; Mr. Hunter is the only principal player in the film that did not originate his role in the original Broadway cast. Glaser called the death was "sudden and unexpected".

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.

He was even a double threat, topping the pop charts as a singer with "Young Love". TV proved a fertile environment, with The Tab Hunter Show premiering in 1960 followed by a string of TV movies.

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In 1964, Mr. Hunter made his sole Broadway appearance in a short-lived revival of Tennessee Williams' The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, starring as Christopher Flanders opposite Tallulah Bankhead's Mrs. Goforth. Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, the film was produced by Hunter's life partner Allan Glaser, who survives him and is developing, with J.J. Abrams, Zachary Quinto and playwright Doug Wright, a feature film based on the section in Hunter's memoir about his affair with Perkins.

He joined the U.S. Coast Guard at age 15, but eventually was discharged when the service discovered his age.

"I believed, wholeheartedly - still do - that a person's happiness depends on being true to themselves", Hunter said.

"We were walking home and he collapsed in my arms in our front yard", Glaser said. "And I look up there and I think I've contributed", Hunter told The Hollywood Reporter.

"I just have never been comfortable talking about my sexuality", Hunter said. And this guy said, 'Turn around Tab, this is for the next issue of Confidential magazine.' I went, 'Oh God!' and turned away.

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