Culture&Arts

Tab Hunter, 1950s Gay Hollywood Icon, Dies At Age 86

Tab Hunter, 1950s Gay Hollywood Icon, Dies At Age 86

Tab Hunter, the actor who rose to fame in the 1950s, died on Sunday, July 8, at the age of 86. "It was sudden and unexpected", Glaser said to the Los Angeles Times.

Hunter, the chiseled 1950s heartthrob who portrayed Joe Hardy in the Damn Yankees! died in Santa Barbara from a blood clot that caused a heart attack.

A Facebook page for the star announced his death and asked fans to "honor his memory by saying a prayer on his behalf". "He would have liked that". After that, Warner Bros. picked up his option and signed him to a seven-year contract, and he appeared in The Girl He Left Behind (1956) and Burning Hills (1956), according to THR.

Willson notably turned Roy Scherer into Rock Hudson, Orison Whipple Hungerford Jr into Ty Hardin and Arthur Gelien into Tab Hunter.

Meanwhile, his longtime love Glaser produced a 2015 documentary about Hunter entitled Tab Hunter Confidential, in which the actor discussed being a closeted gay man in Hollywood while simultaneously being seen as one of its biggest hunks.

During that era, Hunter also was, briefly, a pop singer, hitting No. 1 with a cover version of "Young Love" that even he, in his later years, was hard-pressed to describe as anything but a cash-in.

He was known in the 50's for his films, including "Battle Cry", "Damn Yankees!", and his song "Young Love" which topped charts in 1957.




George Takei tweeted "Tab Hunter was so much more than a teen heartthrob - he was a celebrated actor, trailblazer and an icon for the LGBTQ community".

Huffington Post movie critic Matt Jacobs tweeted photos of Tab with Anthony Perkins, detailing the lengths the couple had to go to to hide their relationship: "Tab Hunter and Anthony Perkins: Hollywood's sexiest not-so-secret relationship".

In the press, Hunter was linked to famous stars like Natalie Wood and Debbie Reynolds during his heyday.

His career slowed down in the '60s and '70s but revived again when he starred in the John Waters film "Polyester" (1981), opposite legendary drag queen Divine.

He joined the U.S. Coast Guard at age 15, but eventually was discharged when the service discovered his age.

"I thought, 'Look, get it from the horse's mouth and not from some horse's ass after I'm dead and gone, '" he told the Reporter in 2015. Thank God! I know that when Tony Perkins and I were seeing each other, Paramount told him they didn't want him to see me anymore.