Films, Books, Musings-With the Glamour of Old Hollywood and the Flair of the Retro

On This Day- Rock Hudson.

In Movie Stars on October 2, 2012 at 10:14 am


On this day, October 2nd 1985, actor Rock Hudson died of AIDS. He was the first public figure to announce he had the disease, though his publicity department and doctors told the press he had liver cancer at first. He searched worlwide for a cure, which included travelling to France at a stage when he could barely move. His search for a cure and his disclosure of contracting the AIDS virus gave the disease worldwide attention and gained support from other celebrities, such as Doris Day and Elizabeth Taylor, as advocates for AIDS awareness and research. His biographer, was told by a friend that it was possible Rock had contracted AIDS via blood transfusion during his quadruple bypass surgery in 1981. When he found out he contracted the disease in 1984 he told his doctor that he hoped he would die of a heart attack before the public found out he had AIDS. Obviously there was a lot of stigma surrounding AIDS and homosexuality and he had often denied being a homosexual in reaction to rumours and questioning. When he was dying he decided to tell his true life story to biographer, Sara Davidson, and revealed his lifestyle to her which is documented in the book Sara Davidson, “Rock Hudson: His Story” (1986).

“I’ve always been a private person. I’ve never wanted to write a book, I’ve never let my house be photographed, and I’ve never let the public know what I really think. Now that’s changed–there’s a lot I want to say and not too much time left. I want the truth to be told, because it sure as hell hasn’t been told before. So I’ve asked those who know me best–my real friends–to work with Sara Davidson in telling my story.” Rock Hudson

Vital Statistics

Date of Birth
17 November 1925, Winnetka, Illinois, USA

Date of Death
2 October 1985, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA (AIDS)

Birth Name
Roy Harold Scherer Jr.

Five Facts

1/. Talent scout ‘Henry Willson (II)’ coined the stage name “Rock Hudson” by combining the Rock of Gibraltar and the Hudson River.

2/. His favorite performances were in Giant (1956) and Seconds (1966).

3/. Along with Cary Grant, he was regarded as one of the best-dressed male stars in Hollywood.

4/. He was very near-sighted and wore glasses all the time off screen. He would rarely allow himself to be photographed wearing glasses though.

5/. He was Universal Studio’s first choice to play Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), but was rejected as being too young at 36.


I welcome my birthdays. Relish them, as a matter of fact. I have confidence now and can look forward to trying new things. I don’t think fifty was a crucial age. Forty was, and thirty-nine because I was facing forty. But lately everything has fallen into place. (1983)


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