Rock Hudson was the biggest male star in Hollywood during the 1950s and 1960s. He was considered the biggest "heartthrob" of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and it helped him land some massive movie roles in films such as: Magnificent Obsession, All That Heaven Allows, and Giant. He also starred in three films alongside Doris Day that would set the tone for what we now know as romantic comedies: Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, and Send Me No Flowers.
Hudson was a Hollywood trailblazer, and his legacy will be forever felt, not just for what he did on screen, but also because of what he chose to do with the rest of his life.
Here are 15 facts about Rock Hudson that will have your jaw hitting the floor.
1. He went to the same school as Charlton Heston in Winnetka, Illinois.
2. He was a conservative republican who helped campaign for Barry Goldwater when he ran for president in 1964.
3. He worked as a truck driver when he first ended up in Los Angeles. He would spend his off time parked outside of studios sending producers pictures of himself.
4. He was the first major Hollywood star to die from the HIV/AIDS virus. It shocked the nation.
5. He never once came out publicly as gay, but he authorized a biographical book which discussed his personal life in great detail.
6. His real name was Roy Scherer, but his talent agent gave him the name Rock Hudson by combining the Rock of Gibraltar and the Hudson River.
7. He served in the military during World War 2.
8. He announced that he had been diagnosed with AIDS in July 1985. He was overwhelmed with support from a large number of Hollywood big shots.
9. It took 38 takes to get his first line in his first film, Fighter Squadron, done correctly.
10. He was chosen by Empire Magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History, #28.
11. His remains were cremated and he had his ashes spread out at sea. He had a well known love of the ocean.
12. He had to go through a quintuple heart bypass surgery in 1981, and he started smoking again right there in the hospital recovery room.
13. He was named one of the "Top 10 Stars of the Year" eight times in a row between 1957 and 1964.
14. He had a secret "love child" whom he never got to know. The boy's name was Richard, and Hudson admitted while on his deathbed that his biggest life regret was not getting to know him.
15. He stayed in the White House as a guest of President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan during May of 1984.
A bonus piece of Rock Hudson trivia:
The term "beefcake" was coined especially for him.
What was your favorite Rock Hudson movie? Let us know in the comments.