Thursday, July 19, 2012
MY HUSBAND, ROCK HUDSON Phyllis Gates
Phyllis Gates tries not too successfully to convince us that her marriage to Rock Hudson was not to head off rumors about the actor but a real love match -- at first. Gates and Hudson may have had at one time a compatible friendship and the self-hating Hudson probably went to bed with her, but it is clear from Gates' story that he only made occasional stabs at being a serious husband. What Gates writes is completely at odds with her notion that they had strong romantic feelings for one another. My Husband, Rock Hudson has a dated sensibility even for the 80's -- the word "gay" is never used, for instance. Hudson never returned from Italy, where he was filming A Farewell to Arms, when Gates had to spend weeks in the hospital due to a hepatitis infection. It seems not only impossible that Gates didn't pick up on all the clues about his real interests -- she was assistant to notorious agent Henry Willson, who had Rock in his stable of clients -- but didn't know the score in the beginning. Since Gates' death, it has come out [pun intended] that she was actually a lesbian and that her "marriage" to Rock was more about money and power than anything else. Veteran writer Thomas insures that the book is smoothly written and readable, and there is some insight into what it's like being married to a self-absorbed movie star, but this self-serving memoir does little to illuminate Hudson or even Gates herself. As far as this book is concerned, being gay is still a dirty little secret. This book is an embarrassment for Doubleday.
Verdict: The cover up continues. Sadly, this sort of thing is still going on today despite all the advances in Gay Rights. **.