Throughout Hollywood history few stars have become bigger than Rock Hudson. He's a silver screen legend, despite only having a handful of roles. His straight-shooting but emotionally available characters made women across the country swoon. His tall frame and broad shoulders made him a shoo-in for almost any role he wanted, but as much as we know his iconic look there's a lot you probably don't know about Rock Hudson.
Rock Hudson wasn't born Rock Hudson, that part you probably put together yourself. His real name doesn't quite roll off the tongue the same way. Meet Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. That was only his name at birth. His father left the family and his mother remarried to a man named Wallace Fitzgerald. Hudson changed his legal name to Fitzgerald before moving to Hollywood and finally assuming the name we all know today.
Bonus fact: his name was created by talent scout Harvey Willson and is a combination of the Rock of Gibraltar and the Hudson River.
Like a lot of stars from the era Rock Hudson was also a World War 2 veteran. He was a mechanic for the US Navy during the war, but never saw action overseas.
Rock Hudson is one of the biggest stars to have served during the war, but he's far from the only one. Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, Charles Bronson and Jimmy Stewart, among others, all served as well. Stewart was awarded several medals and went on over 20 combat missions before the war was finally over.
Famous High School
Okay maybe the high school isn't famous, but there must be something in the water there. New Trier Township High School East hardly sounds like a star-maker, but it's tough to argue with the resume. Ann-Margret, Charlton Heston, Bruce Dern, Virginia Madsen and, of course, Rock Hudson all attended the small school near Winnetka, Illinois.
Hudson was always in love with acting and movies in particular. He worked as an usher at the local theater and tried out for school plays. You might think an Oscar-nominated film star probably got any role he wanted in high school, you'd be wrong. He failed to win any roles in school because he couldn't remember any of his lines.
His acting struggles would continue, but as his star grew he put more and more work into becoming a legitimate actor.