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A compendium of queer people in the 19th and 20th centuries // Drawn and researched by Michele Rosenthal

Rock  Hudson

Rock Hudson 1925to –1985

American actor, and one of the most popular leading men of his time. A product of the Hollywood star system, he got his start playing dramatic roles in films such as All That Heaven Allows and Giant. His popularity grew when he began appearing in romantic comedies opposite Doris Day. Their first was Pillow Talk, with the memorable scene of Hudson’s character “pretending” to be gay in order to win the girl. Hudson’s actual homosexuality was a carefully kept secret, though well-known among his friends, and by the 70s he could sometimes be spotted amidst California’s gay scene. When it was announced in 1985 that he had AIDS, he became the most beloved celebrity associated with the disease, and his death shortly thereafter was a turning point in raising awareness and lessening its stigma.

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