Hollywood, the new Ryan Murphy miniseries set in the golden age of Tinseltown, is finally streaming on Netflix. And all eyes are on Jake Picking, the hottie who plays the devilishly handsome actor Rock Hudson. That square jaw! Those dimples! He had us the moment he first drove up to Golden Tip Gasoline and shyly asked Archie to take him to Dreamland.
Murphy rewrote history when he made this series; it imagines an alternate Golden Age of Hollywood where diversity was celebrated, sexual orientation wasn’t questioned, and people used their power to do the right thing. But many of the people and events in the show are based on real people—Rock Hudson included.
What was Rock Hudson’s real name?
Rock Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer Jr. (We hate to break it to you, but there’s no relation to Kate Hudson.) He started acting in the ‘40s and is revered as one of the biggest stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. By the time of his death in 1985, he’d appeared in over 70 movies.
What movies was Rock Hudson in?
Hudson was best known for playing the heartthrob in the ‘50s and ‘60s alongside actresses like Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Day, Mia Farrow, and Julie Andrews. His IMDb page goes on and on, but the essential list of Rock Hudson movies includes Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, Send Me No Flowers, and Giant, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. In the ‘70s and ‘80s he transitioned to television, starring in the series McMillan & Wife and appearing in the soap opera Dynasty.
Was Rock Hudson really gay?
Hudson never commented about his sexuality publicly, but he was widely believed to be gay. He was private about his sexuality when he was alive, though many in his circles and in Hollywood knew his secret. Hudson married Phyllis Gates, his agent Henry Willson’s secretary, in 1955 to throw the tabloids off the scent. She filed for divorce three years later.
Who was Rock Hudson’s talent agent?
Just like in Hollywood, Henry Willson was Hudson’s agent—and yes, he’s the one who came up with the moniker Rock Hudson. And, just like in the series, Willson was known for taking advantage of his clients in exchange for roles, publicity, and protection. Unfortunately, he never came around in the same way Jim Parson’s portrayal of him did.
How did Rock Hudson die?
Hudson was diagnosed with HIV in 1984 and died of AIDS-related complications in 1985 at age 59. He hid his illness for as long as possible, but months before his death he revealed the truth, becoming the first big celeb to make his AIDS diagnosis public. The stigma was strong at the time, but his death forced people to pay attention to AIDS, increased funding for AIDS research, and gave a voice to many who were struggling in silence.
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