Most modern readers are probably unfamiliar with many aspects of Rock Hudson's life. Most people might know that he was a homosexual, and that he was one of the first public figures to publically announce that he was infected with AIDS, but Rock Hudson was also a great movie star in his time. Starring in hit films such as "Giant" with Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean, "A Farewell to Arms" with Jennifer Jones, and a string of romantic comedies such as "Pillow Talk" with Doris Day. In the 1970s Hudson acted in the hit television show "McMillan and Wife" with Susan St. James, and at the end of his life, starring in "Dynasty".
Rock Hudson was born Leroy Harold Scherer Jr., on November 17, 1925 in Winnetka, Illinois. The father abandoned Rock and his mother during the Great Depression, and after his mother remarried, Rock was adopted by his step-father, and his last name was changed to Fitzgerald. Hudson served in the Philippines as an aircraft mechanic during World War 2, and after the war moved to Los Angeles in order to become an actor. A chance meeting with a powerful agent named Henry Willson gave Hudson his start in the business. It was Willson who invented the name "Rock Hudson", and that is the name people would know him by for the rest of his life.
If the public had been aware of Hudson's homosexuality at this time, he would have been ruined in Hollywood. He entered into a sham marriage with his agent's secretary, Phyillis Gates in 1955, and they remained married for three years. In 1984 Hudson was diagnosed with the HIV-virus, and his doctors initially told the media that he was suffering from liver cancer, but in 1985 Hudson revealed the truth to the public.
This report prepared by Nathaniel Ford