ROCK HUDSON by David Bret


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A superficial biography of a major film star and icon.

Rock Hudson’s acting was nearly always wooden, though some make a case for his work in the cult film Seconds. He reigned, nevertheless, as a box-office champ for at least two decades, his handsome face and brawny chest drawing sighs on in movie palaces. Behind the Hudson phenomenon stood Henry Willson, the lecherous gay agent whose nearly evil machinations Robert Hofler reveals in The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson (2005). Bret has little to add to this or any other account of Hudson’s famous life. It’s now well known that Hudson struck poses outside the gate of Universal Pictures, eventually winning bit parts, even though he fluffed lines and blew takes from day one forward—even after he became a major star in Magnificent Obsession and Giant. Hudson’s death from AIDS also capped rumors swirling for years that he was gay. Like a summer-stock actor, Bret obsesses over sleeping arrangements, the one aspect of his account that may add new but not surprising or significant details to the Hudson legacy. Rock, it seems, made out with buff blond extras who worked his films, eventually demanding them as one of his perks. Hudson also liaised with other famous, closeted actors, some of them—Troy Donahue, for example—named here, accurately or not, for the first time. On this matter and others, Bret’s sourcing is frustratingly vague. As primary sources, he lists several previously published books and some unpublished articles. He cites no references in the text and apparently did no interviews for the book. Those who enjoy seeing what someone else saw through the keyhole may not care who peeped.

Empty pillow talk.

Pub Date: March 15th, 2006
ISBN: 1-86105-855-1
Page count: 306pp
Publisher: Robson Books/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2006


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