Culture

Tab Hunter Dies: ‘Damn Yankees’ Hollywood Heartthrob Was 86

Tab Hunter Dies: ‘Damn Yankees’ Hollywood Heartthrob Was 86”

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.

The film star released his autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star in 2005, in which Mr. Hunter came out as a gay man after years of industry rumors.

1950s heartthrob Tab Hunter is dead at age 86, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

'Please honor his memory by saying a prayer on his behalf. "He would have liked that". Thank God! I know that when Tony Perkins and I were seeing each other, Paramount told him they didn't want him to see me anymore.

"The dilemma, of course, was that being true to myself - and I'm talking sexually now - was impossible in 1953".

Since his "80s resurgence in the John Waters and Paul Bartel films costarring Divine, Hunter had relaxed into a more self-amused, even self-deprecating attitude about the vast chasm between the man born Arthur Gelien in 1931 and the teen idol manufactured and rechristened Tab Hunter by Henry Willson, the agent behind such creatively named Hollywood hunks as Rock Hudson, Dack Rambo and Troy Donahue". "I'm very grateful for this road that I've been on - it's been a good one".

Starting in the early 1950s and lasting through the early 1990s, Tab Hunter starred in more than 70 movies and TV shows.

A highlight was the 1958 "Damn Yankees!", an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical with Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston in their Tony-winning NY roles and the original director, George Abbott, sharing direction with Stanley Donen. He reportedly had relationships with "Psycho" star Anthony Perkins, figure skater Ronnie Robertson, and his partner for more than three decades, producer Allan Glaser.

Having made an impression in his swimming trunks in Island of Desire, Hunter became one of the last studio contract players, after signing a seven year deal with Warner Bros.

Writing the book was hard, he told The Associated Press in 2005, "because I'm a really private person". His 1957 single "Young Love" made number one on Billboard's Hot 100 List and later received gold certification from the RIAA. The film helped introduce Hunter to a younger audience, some of whom were unfamiliar with his pin-up past. Stevenson said Hunter, who came to Santa Fe in 2015 to introduce a double-bill screening of Tab Hunter Confidential and Lust in the Dust, was planning to return in July for the upcoming Hipico horse show.



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