Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are evenings gathered around the television with my family watching magnificent films with great actors like Rock Hudson. I absolutely loved and admired Rock; he was one of my favorite silver screen stars. I remember when we watched ‘Please Don’t Eat the Daisies’ and Rock was not starring opposite Doris Day I was very upset, I actually cried. Rock was what people referred to as a man’s man, a brilliant actor and a true gentleman. He had a demeanor about him that spoke volumes about his character on and off screen that made him stand out amongst giants in a gentle way and infinitely profound.
Rock Hudson & Elizabeth Taylor ©Warner Brothers ∙ Giant Productions
"Rock made me laugh, I loved him"-Elizabeth Taylor
Rock Hudson ∙ Carey Grant ∙ Marlon Brando ∙ Gregory Peck ©Beltmann ∙ Corbis
Rock was greater than life, he was charming, he made me want to run to the store to buy a cowboy hat and cowboy boots and I did. When I lived in San Francisco I would see Rock out and about from time to time. Once, he was in a limousine parked on the street across the way from where Richard and I were standing. Everyone was gawking and in frenzy, “It’s Rock Hudson, its Rock Hudson.” We just stood there; the window rolled down, out came Rock’s arm and he motioned for us to come over. We looked around, pointed to ourselves, he laughed and shook his head, yes. I was so nervous I didn’t want to go but I did, he was so pleasant and sweet. Richard was hoping his interest would be in him but it wasn’t. Rock just wanted to say hello, he liked the way I was dressed. I was wearing a cowboy hat and Frye boots, short shorts that I had made myself from an old pair of button fly Levis. He especially liked my men’s white button down dress shirt. I had it tied at my waist and my red bandanna loose around my neck. Not your typical attire for San Francisco back then and especially not for a young girl. He was very gracious, kind and just had this incredible, huge, beautiful smile. I will never forget that moment it was and still is one of the highlights of my life
Rock Hudson ©Unknown
There were never any random stories about raging parties or gallivants involving Rock Hudson, not at his home or anywhere else, not in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York. Rock Hudson was not like some celebrities that skulked around the gay scene and had their drivers, body guards or personal assistant solicit companions for the evening for them. Believe me there were many that did do that and probably still do and no! I won’t name names! Everyone knew that Rock was gay but people respected his choice and right to privacy. It’s not anyone else’s place to out someone and the ramifications of doing it can be fatal for some. Back then I went out all the time to the discos and bars, I went to the rocking after hour’s parties and I never saw Rock Hudson there, if he was there it would have had to of been as the invisible man.
Rock would have been ninety years old now had he lived. I wonder if he would have wanted to go on living if he knew what would follow his death. He would have survived only to face a media circus about his whole life. The constant rhetoric hammering the public about his ‘secrets’ which were facts about his life that he chose to keep private and was under no obligation to reveal to the public. Rock wasn’t sleeping with the world and he owed everyone nothing, not about his personal life and most certainly not about his health. He made the decision to reveal the fact that he was gay and that he had AIDS to the world, it took great courage to do so. He wanted to do the right thing and penned letters to his former lovers letting them know that he had AIDS. It was unfortunate what happened to Rock but his misfortunes should not define him but how he handled them and what he learned from them and how he was able to use them to become better than he was. AIDS didn’t start with Rock Hudson he got AIDS from someone else or from tainted blood when he had his heart surgery. People assume that he got AIDS from promiscuous behavior but how he lived his life does not establish or confirm this. There was not one case brought by anyone against Rock Hudson or his estate holding him responsible for transmitting the AIDS virus to them, not while he was alive and not after his death. It took more than just great courage for Rock to come forward the way that he did it took heart and he put it to remarkable use spending some of his last days to establish a foundation for AIDS research. He achieved so much and sacrificed even more to never have been able to openly enjoy the freedom to be who he was like we do today. To not want to be remembered for a disease that slammed everything he fought so hard to keep private into the open. He devoted his life to his work and it is Rocks legacy, I don’t believe that anyone can find fault in his brilliance or stardom, as an actor or a human being. I hope that one day they will celebrate Rock Hudson by screening his greatest films worldwide. Perhaps have the heart to donate a portion of the revenue to an Aids /HIV foundation that directly helps people with the disease, I think he would like that.
Paul Fix ∙ Elizabeth Taylor ∙ Rock Hudson ©1955 Warner Brothers ∙ Giant Productions
Rock Hudson & Doris Day ©Getty ∙ Silver Screen Collection
Rock Hudson & George Nader ©Peter Gowland
Rock Hudson & Michael Butler ∙ Venice ©Unknown
Rock Hudson & Lee Garlington ∙ New Orleans 1963 ©Lee Garlington
Rock Hudson ∙ November 8, 1984 ©Wally Fong AP