Rock Hudson was the first major celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness, on October 2,1985, at age 59.
61 Facts About Rock Hudson
Rock Hudson's father was of German and Swiss descent, while his mother had English and Irish ancestry.
Rock Hudson's parents divorced when he was four years old; a few years later, in 1932, his mother married Wallace Fitzgerald, a former Marine Corps officer whom young Roy despised.
Rock Hudson tried out for a number of school plays, but failed to win any roles because he could not remember his lines, a problem that continued to occur through his early acting career.
Rock Hudson graduated from high school in 1943, and the following year enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II.
Rock Hudson then moved to Los Angeles to live with his biological father and to pursue an acting career.
Rock Hudson applied to the University of Southern California's dramatics program, but was rejected due to poor grades.
Rock Hudson later named his independent film production company Gibraltar Productions.
Politically, Rock Hudson was a conservative Republican; he campaigned and voted for Barry Goldwater in the 1964 United States presidential election.
Rock Hudson made his acting debut with a small part in the Warner Bros.
Rock Hudson had small parts in Peggy, Winchester '73 as an American Indian, The Desert Hawk, Tomahawk, and Air Cadet.
Rock Hudson was billed third in The Fat Man, but back down the cast list for Bright Victory.
Rock Hudson had good parts as a boxer in Iron Man and as a gambler in Bend of the River.
Rock Hudson supported the Nelson family in Here Come the Nelsons.
Rock Hudson was promoted to leading man for Scarlet Angel, opposite Yvonne De Carlo, who had been in Desert Hawk and Tomahawk.
In Horizons West Rock Hudson supported Robert Ryan, but he was star again for The Lawless Breed and Seminole.
Rock Hudson had the title role in Taza, Son of Cochise, directed by Sirk and produced by Ross Hunter.
Rock Hudson was by now firmly established as a leading man in adventure films.
Rock Hudson returned to adventure films with Bengal Brigade, set during the Indian Mutiny, and Captain Lightfoot, produced by Hunter and directed by Sirk.
Rock Hudson was borrowed by MGM to appear in Richard Brooks' Something of Value, a box-office disappointment.
Rock Hudson was reunited with the producer, director and two stars of Written on the Wind in The Tarnished Angels, at Universal.
Rock Hudson then made Twilight for the Gods and This Earth Is Mine.
Ross Hunter teamed Rock Hudson with Doris Day in the romantic comedy Pillow Talk, which was a massive hit.
Rock Hudson was voted the most popular star in the country for 1959 and was the second most popular for the next three years.
Rock Hudson made two dramas: The Spiral Road, directed by Mulligan, and A Gathering of Eagles, directed by Delbert Mann.
Rock Hudson still was voted the third most popular star in 1963.
Rock Hudson tried his hand in the action genre with Tobruk, directed by Arthur Hiller.
Rock Hudson dabbled in westerns, appearing opposite John Wayne in The Undefeated.
Rock Hudson played police commissioner Stewart "Mac" McMillan, with Saint James as his wife Sally, and their on-screen chemistry helped make the show a hit.
Rock Hudson was one of several stars in The Mirror Crack'd and co-starred in The Beatrice Arthur Special.
Rock Hudson recovered from the heart surgery but continued to smoke.
Rock Hudson nevertheless continued to work with appearances in several TV movies such as World War III.
Rock Hudson was in ill health while filming the action-drama film The Ambassador in Israel during the winter months from late 1983 to early 1984.
Rock Hudson reportedly did not get along with his co-star Robert Mitchum, who had a serious drinking problem and often clashed off-camera with Hudson and other cast and crew members.
From December 1984 to April 1985, Rock Hudson appeared in a recurring role on the prime time soap opera Dynasty as Daniel Reece, a wealthy horse breeder and a potential love interest for Krystle Carrington, as well as the biological father of the character Sammy Jo Carrington.
Rock Hudson was slated to appear for the duration of the show's second half of its fifth season; however, because of his progressing ill health, his character was abruptly written out of the show and died off-screen.
Rock Hudson did not contest the divorce and Gates received alimony of $250 per week for 10 years.
Rock Hudson told The Village Voice that Phyllis Gates attempted to blackmail Hudson about his homosexual activities.
An urban legend states that Rock Hudson married Jim Nabors in the early 1970s.
Rock Hudson made a confession, received communion, and was administered last rites.
Unknown to the public, Rock Hudson was diagnosed with HIV on June 5,1984, three years after the emergence of the first cluster of symptomatic patients in the US, and only one year after the initial conclusion by scientists that HIV causes AIDS.
On July 16,1985, Rock Hudson joined his old friend Doris Day for a Hollywood press conference, announcing the launch of her new TV cable show Doris Day's Best Friends, in which Rock Hudson was videotaped visiting Day's ranch in Carmel, California, a few days earlier.
Rock Hudson appeared gaunt and did very little speaking during the segment, with most of it consisting of Day and Hudson walking around as Day's recording of "My Buddy" played in the background, with Hudson noting he had quickly tired.
Rock Hudson's appearance was enough of a shock that the reunion was broadcast repeatedly over national news shows that night and for days to come.
Two days later, Rock Hudson traveled to Paris, France, for another round of treatment.
Olson denied reports that Rock Hudson had AIDS and only said that he was undergoing tests for "everything" at the American Hospital of Paris.
Rock Hudson was among the earliest mainstream celebrities to have been diagnosed with the disease.
Rock Hudson was so weak that he was removed by stretcher from the Air France Boeing 747 he had chartered, on which he and his medical attendants were the only passengers.
Rock Hudson was flown by helicopter to UCLA Medical Center, where he spent nearly a month undergoing further treatment.
Rock Hudson was released from the hospital in late August 1985 and returned to his home in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles for private hospice care.
Rock Hudson's body was cremated hours after his death and a cenotaph later was established at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California.
Rock Hudson's ashes were scattered in the channel between Wilmington, Los Angeles and Santa Catalina Island.
In Logical Family: A Memoir, gay author Armistead Maupin, who was a friend of Rock Hudson, writes that he was the first person to confirm to the press that Rock Hudson was gay in 1985.
At that time, People had a circulation of more than 2.8 million, and, as a result of this and other stories, Rock Hudson's homosexuality became public.
Rock Hudson's revelation had an immediate impact on the visibility of AIDS and on the funding of medical research related to the disease.
Rock Hudson's admission is a horrendous way to bring AIDS to the attention of the American public, but by doing so, Rock Hudson, in his life, has helped millions in the process.
However, Rock Hudson's revelation did not immediately dispel the stigma of AIDS.
When filming the scene, Rock Hudson was aware that he had AIDS but did not inform Evans.
Linda Evans appears not to have been angry at Rock Hudson, and asked to introduce the segment of the 1985 Commitment to Life benefit that was dedicated to Rock Hudson.
The story of Hudson's marriage was depicted in the 1990 TV film Rock Hudson, starring Daphne Ashbrook as Gates and Thomas Ian Griffith as Hudson.
Rock Hudson is portrayed by Jake Picking in the 2020 miniseries Hollywood, a revisionist tale of post-World War II Hollywood.