Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


IDOL: ROCK HUDSON -- THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMERICAN FILM HERO. Jerry Oppenheimer and Jack Vitek. Villard; 1986.

This is a solid look at the life of Rock Hudson from his early years, to being discovered by Hollywood agent Henry Willson to his early film roles, his breakthrough in Magnificent Obsession, his performances in such films as Giant and Seconds, his successful TV series MacMillan and Wife, his stint on Dynasty, and his secret gay life and death from AIDS. The book examines many of his friendships, relationships, and bed partners, as well as his sham marriage to Phyllis Gates. The book also looks into the lawsuit filed by lover Marc Christian, who claimed neither Hudson nor anyone in his camp warned him of Hudson's illness. The book indicates that Hudson may not have wanted to tell the world of his struggles with AIDS, his homosexuality, or to become a poster boy for the disease; others may have made these decisions for him. In any case his plight engendered a new and needed interest in the terrible epidemic. Idol takes a grotesque turn when it relates how idiot Pat Boone and other members of the religious right  tried to get Hudson to "find God" as he lay helplessly dying. The book is a bit dated when it goes into the alleged "promiscuity and irresponsibility" of gay men -- what, there are no promiscuous and irresponsible straight guys? Otherwise, the book is fairly sympathetic to Hudson.

Verdict: Good, informative read. ***.

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