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The Rock Hudson Project in an online archive of any media related to classic Hollywood film star Rock Hudson. This includes vintage photos, video clips, magazine and newspaper articles. The Project is a collaborative effort so if you have anything to contribute or further information about something in the archive, please contact us!

 


Rock Hudson, en Cap Sa Sal


The story behind the picture : Magnificent obsession

“In August 1953, less than two weeks before shooting was scheduled to begin on Magnificent Obsession ( as it had now been retitled ), Rock and Jack Navaar went off for the weekend to Laguna, where they spent much of their time wave-riding – a potential dangerous pastime where inflated car inner-tubes were used instead of surfboards. Rock was caught by a freak wave and dashed against the rocks, fracturing his collarbone. (… )

When advised by Universal’s doctors that Rock’s shoulder would have to be set in a splint and that filming would have to be delayed for 6 weeks until he was fit again, the producer, under explicit orders from studio bosses and therefore unable to take his personal feelings into consideration, ordered Douglas Sirk (… ) to find a replacement. (… ) Rock suggested a compromise – he would have his injured shoulder strapped up during shooting, mindless of the agony this would cause him.”

Rock Hudson by David Bret

15 Aug 1953, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA — On the eye of his most important screen role to date, a starring role opposite Jane Wyman in Universal-International’s .  Young Rock Hudson broke his collar bone while swimming at Laguna Beach.  Rock Hudson was given a preliminary exmination at Laguna Beach and then rushed to St. Joseph’s hospital for further examination, the actor is shown in an ambulance enrout to the hospital, at right is Dr. RA. Guyer attending physician. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

31 Aug 1953, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA — Film star Rock Hudson forgets all about his collarbone as lovely actress Piper Laurie pays him a visit.  The young actor broke the collarbone while surfboarding near Laguna Beach, California. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

He did this movie and was proved right in the end. The movie became hugely successful.

“Magnificent Obsession cost a modest $850,000 to make, but grossed over $10 million at the box office. Rock’s performance was also singled out by Bosley Crowther, the infamously acerbic film critic with The New York Times. Thoug he was not overtly fond of the production as a whole, he wrote of its star, ‘The strapping, manly Rock Hudson gives a fine, direct account of himself – in the film’s only real surprise.’  “

Rock Hudson by David Bret


The story behind the picture : postman Rock Hudson

“Movies magazines were informed that Universal’s newest recruit was a former Los Angeles postman who had broken into films by writing a letter to a top talent scout, which he had then delivered personally, knocking the man for six with this looks, charm and tremendous acting skills.

No such thing had happened, of course,not that this prevented these publications from receiving dozens of letters from Los Angeles residents who distinctly remembered Rock delivering mail to them !”

Rock Hudson by David Bret


Rock Hudson FBI files

I have thought a lot before doing this post and more generally speaking, about how to deal with Rock’s homosexuality since it was him too and something that I don’t think shameful. Anyway I don’t want this part of him resume him. I really think he deserves to be known for the great actor and kind human being he was and not only as the “gay man” who died from AIDS.

Anyway, the following documents are a part of his history and in public domain now, that’s the reason why I thought these files would be interesting at least to understand the context he lived in during so many years.

Isa Vigy

“Please note: the content of the files in the Vault encompasses all time periods of Bureau history and do not always reflect the current views, policies, and priorities of the FBI.

The Vault is our new electronic reading room, containing more than 2,000 documents that have been scanned from paper into digital copies so you can read them in the comfort of your home or office.”

FBI electronic reading room

June 2, 1965

Memorandum recommends Los Angeles be authorized to interview  Rock Hudson for information about subject [redacted]. […]

Bureau and Los Angeles Office files contain no derogatory security-type information concerning Hudson. Los Angeles has advised that it is common knowledge in the motion picture industry that Hudson is suspected of having homosexual tendencies. […]

In view of the information about Hudson sexual tendencies, interview will be conducted by two mature experienced Special Agents. […]

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June 23, 1965

             Hudson was interviewed on June 23, 1965, and the FBI report on that meeting deals mainly with questions       about his former wife, Phyllis Gates:

Mr. Hudson made a telephone call in the presence of the SAs, FBI, and confirmed that his divorced wife is reported to be in Europe, at an unknown address, and that her alimony checks are sent to the Swafford [advertising] agency. […]

This document contains neither recommendations nor conclusions of the FBI. […]

There was also a heavily redacted report to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in February 1960 from the Hollywood Vice Squad:

Files of guests’ names were confiscated during the raid and as a result, many prominent names have reportedly been revealed as participating in these parties. Among these, according to [redacted] are the movie names [redacted], ROCK HUDSON, [redacted]. […]

October 28, 1966

This excerpt appeared in an October 28, 1966, memorandum to a special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson in response to a request for information on Hudson:

Rock Hudson has not been the subject of an FBI investigation. During 1965, however, a confidential informant reported that several years ago while he was in New York he had an “affair” with movie star Rock Hudson. The informant stated that from personal knowledge he knew that Rock Hudson was a homosexual. The belief was expressed that by “personal knowledge” the informant meant he had personally indulged in homosexual acts with Hudson or had witnessed or received the information from individuals who had done so.

July 16, 1969

On July 16, 1969, a few short weeks after the Stonewall Riots in New York, the Los Angeles bureau wrote a memo to the FBI director about Hudson and a new movie he was getting ready to film, and what the bureau found in the files on him:

There were several references to Rock Hudson, actor, alleging he was a homosexual and/or bi-sexual.

To put things into context 

Strange to think that FBI director Hoover was himself a closet case…

Homosexuality was then tied to treason and it was open season. Repression on suspected gays under arcane 1941 “sex psychopath” laws continued at least until 1971 and included castration (!), incarceration in mental hospitals and lobotomies in at least seven US states…

Hopefully, things have change…

R.I.P…


The story behind the picture : Universal City Mayor Rock Hudson

Rock Hudson gets a kiss from his shapely “campaign manager” Kathleen Hughes, as he campaigns for mayor of Universal City, home of Universal-International film studios. The tiny community, only 400 acres in total area, has its own post office, fire department, and police force.

Rock Hudson, the newly elected Mayor of Universal City, swears in his fire chief and police chief, actresses Jackie Loughery definitely a “Solid” citizen, defeated actress Marilyn Maxwell in the mayoralty campaign that rolled in 1,984 votes in the 400-acre municipality.

In typical movie fashion, Universal City, a 400 acre municipality in San Fernando Valley with its own official post office and film production as its sole industry, elected Rock Hudson, Universal-International screen star, as Mayor in a balloting that totalled 1984 votes. Mary Castle, (right) a red haired beauty from Pampa, Texas, had a badge pinned on her bathing suit as honorary police chief, and Jackie Loughery (left who was Miss United States in last year’s Miss Universe contest), won the post of fire marshal.

02 Nov 1962, Universal City, Los Angeles, California, USA — Universal City got a jump on the National elections and voted Doris Day its twenty-second mayor.  The actress, now  is shown being sworn into office by Rock Hudson, a former mayor of the 408-acre Universal City. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Universal City is a property of Universal Studios located in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County in California . It includes nowadays the theme park Universal Studios Hollywood , a recreation center ( Universal CityWalk ), Gibson Amphitheatre (concerts and other events) and the studios of the company.

A neighborhood founded in 1915 in the southeastern part of the San Fernando Valley between Glendale and Studio City. It is the location of Universal Studios, founded by movie mogul Carl Laemmle. It no longer has residents.

Administrative buildings and sound stages of Universal Studios in Universal City

Universal studios in the 1920’s

And now…