Tab Hunter, Iconic 1950s Actor, Dead at 86

Hollywood star Tab Hunter has died aged 86

Hunter, the chiseled 1950s heartthrob who portrayed Joe Hardy in the Damn Yankees! died in Santa Barbara from a blood clot that caused a heart attack.

In 1955, Hunter was almost outed by the magazine Confidential when it highlighted his five-year-old arrest for disorderly conduct at a "pajama party" attended by a number of gay people. The actor was also a sometime recording star, his version of the tune "Young Love" for Dot Records in 1957 reached No. 1 and stayed there for six weeks.

But in his 2005 memoir, "Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star", Hunter recounted the stresses of being a love object to millions of young women when he was, in reality, a gay man. "He was athletic, more like a 60-year-old not an 86-year-old".

Hunter began his career as a young actor of unlimited good looks but decidedly limited talent.

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Playing a WWII soldier in 1955's "Battle Cry", adapted from the Leon Uris novel of the same name, made Hunter a star and he followed with roles in films including "The Burning" and "The Girl He Left Behind", both opposite a young Natalie Wood. "The dilemma, of course, that was being true to myself - and I'm talking sexually now - was impossible in 1953".

Hunter died just three days before his 87th birthday, his death described by Glaser as "sudden and unexpected". This story was made possible by generous people like you. "I'm very old-fashioned", he said in a 2015 interview.

Willson notably turned Roy Scherer into Rock Hudson, Orison Whipple Hungerford Jr into Ty Hardin and Arthur Gelien into Tab Hunter. With no dramatic training, he was cast in a minor role in the 1950 drama "The Lawless".

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.

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One particular photo shows a bank of TVs, every one of them playing something else quite significant from that decade. Thank you @ GalGadot . #ForTheKids'. "1984" is filming in the Washington, D.C. area, which is close to Inova.


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

He joined the U.S. Coast Guard at age 15, but eventually was discharged when the service discovered his age.

"I believed, wholeheartedly - still do - that a person's happiness depends on being true to themselves", he wrote. I grew up full of denial. "I never mentioned my sexuality to Warner Bros.at all and they never mentioned it to me, thank God", the actor recalled to THR in 2015.

In recent years, Hunter appeared in dinner theaters and organized film projects.

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