Renowned Hollywood actor Tab Hunter dies

Ruben Ruiz
July 10, 2018

Hollywood stars are mourning the death of Tab Hunter, the Damn Yankees and Battle Cry alum, most famous for his roles in the 1950's.

He also was the subject of speculation that he was gay, a fact he would confirm later in his 2005 autobiography "Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star".

"Please honour his memory boy saying a prayer on his behalf. He would have liked that".

"So sad to wake up to the news of the passing of tab hunter. i was honored to get to know him in the past year and am so grateful to have experienced his sheer joy and love of life. and what a life! such a rich experience. such a vital and generous nature. and such a pioneer of self-acceptance and moving through this world with authenticity as his guide. he will be missed greatly. may he rest in peace".

"The dilemma, of course, was that being true to myself - and I'm talking sexually now - was impossible in 1953".

But at the height of his popularity, he was dogged by rumors that he was gay, a potentially career-ending rumor during that culturally conservative era.

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It was Willson who gave him his stage name of "Tab Hunter" and he soon signed with Warner Bros., which is now owned by CNN's parent company AT&T.

Hunter was born Arthur Andrew Kelm on July 11, 1931, in New York City. "I'm very old-fashioned", he said in a 2015 interview. Noted for his All-American looks, Mr. Hunter became one of the studio's most popular star, paired with fellow Warner Bros. favorite Natalie Wood in such films as The Burning Hills and The Girl He Left Behind.

One of the first Hollywood stars to cross over into pop music, Hunter recorded a song in 1957, Young Love, which shot to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; it went on to sell over one million copies.

His highest profile role was Joe Hardy, the baseball player who makes a pact with the Devil in 1958 musical Damn Yankees! The film had originally been a Broadway show, but Hunter was the only one in the film version who had not appeared in the original cast. Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, the film was produced by Hunter's life partner Allan Glaser, who survives him and is developing, with J.J. Abrams, Zachary Quinto and playwright Doug Wright, a feature film based on the section in Hunter's memoir about his affair with Perkins. His slide followed the classic pattern: to a television series ("The Tab Hunter Show", on NBC, 1960-62); European films ("The Golden Arrow") and cheap kid flicks ("Ride the Wild Surf.") In his memoir, he took pains to note that "Ride the Wild Surf" was his only beach-party movie; his "Operation Bikini", despite its title, was "yet another war movie".

"I believed, wholeheartedly - still do - that a person's happiness depends on being true to themselves", he said.

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