Sunday, 22 July, 2018


'Damn Yankees!' star Tab Hunter dead at 86

American actor Tab Hunter in about 1955 American actor Tab Hunter in about 1955
Hannah Rogers | 10 July, 2018, 07:48

Tab Hunter, the blond teenage heartthrob in the 1950s who made his name with such films as "Battle Cry" and "Damn Yankees!", has died at age 86.

During his life, actor Tab Hunter was the definitive posterboy for the fiction of Hollywood's golden age: adored by millions of women around the world, he was, in his private life a gay man, and known to the world as Tab Hunter, he was in fact born Arthur Andrew Kelm. Hunter's response: "I ride horses".

The fuss over the young actor began two years later when he appeared bare-chested opposite Linda Darnell in the British-made "Island of Desire". Allan Glaser, Hunter's romantic partner for more than 30 years, confirmed his death of a heart attack caused by a blood clot, calling his passing "unexpected and sudden", per the Hollywood Reporter.

Tab Hunter with actress Tuesday Weld at a dinner reception in Los Angeles.

He was working as a stable boy when he was discovered, and his first film was a minor part in The Lawless in 1950. Warner Brothers, with which he had a multiyear contract, dubbed him "The Sigh Guy".

In a report from The New York Times, Tab Hunter supposedly had a romance with Natalie Wood and Debbie Reynolds, but these relationships were merely studio-created conjecture.

Those two films framed Hunter in one of Hollywood's oldest lies: a false romance with Wood, meant to create a protective smoke screen in front of his homosexuality.

Over the years, he also played small roles in "The Loved One", "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" and "Grease 2".

Hunter appeared on Broadway in 1964 in Tennessee Williams' "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" opposite the formidable Tallulah Bankhead.

Starting in the early 1950s and lasting through the early 1990s, Tab Hunter starred in more than 70 movies and TV shows.

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

Mr. Hunter continued to appear in films through the 1980s, including two memorable screen performances opposite drag legend Divine. I grew up full of denial. "But this was very hard for me".

"I just have never been comfortable talking about my sexuality", Hunter said.

For a short time in the late 1960s, after several seasons of starring in summer stock and dinner theater in shows such as Bye Bye Birdie, The Tender Trap, Under the Yum Yum Tree and West Side Story with some of the NY cast, Hunter settled in the south of France, where he acted in spaghetti westerns, including Vengeance Is My Forgiveness (1968), The Last Chance (1968) and Bridge over the Elbe (1969).

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