Tab Hunter, Iconic 1950s Movie Star Who Came Out As Gay, Dies At 86
Tab Hunter, a 1950s Hollywood movie star, passed away at 86-years-old. A Facebook page closely linked to Hunter revealed he died just three days before his birthday, but didn’t divulge a cause of death.
The star performed in films including 1955’s Battle Cry, 1956’s The Burning Hills and the 1958 musical Damn Yankees. He also achieved a Billboard hit with his single “Young Love,” which was released in 1956.
In 2005, his memoir Tab Hunter Confidential revealed he was a closeted gay man during his Hollywood career. Hunter also said he covered his affairs with men including Psycho star Anthony Perkins with “studio-approved” relationships with female co-stars, like Natalie Wood.
When he heard there was a book being written about him, he wanted the information they wrote to come straight from the source.
“I thought, ‘Look, get it from the horse’s mouth and not from some horse’s ass after I’m dead and gone,'” he told THR in 2015. “I didn’t want someone putting a spin on my life.”
His memoir became an award-winning documentary released in 2015.
The actor also had a 30-year relationship with director Allan Glaser.
Glaser told THR that Hunter died of a blood clot that caused a heart attack, resulting in an “unexpected and sudden” death.
Although Hunter was born as Arthur Andrew Kelm, talent agent Henry Willson decided he needed a better stage name to match his dreamy, surfer boy appearance.
“If I had come out during my acting career in the 1950s, I would not have had a career,” Hunter said in an October 2017 interview. “Not much in Hollywood has changed in 60 years. I really didn’t talk about my sexuality until I wrote my autobiography. My film career had long since been over by then. I believe one’s sexuality is one’s own business. I really don’t go around discussing it. Call me ‘old school’ on that topic.”
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