Rock Hudson

November 17th Celebrates Rock Hudson

Today on Days to Remember we celebrate Roy Harold Scherer’s birthday known to world as Rock Hudson.

Who was born on November 17th 1925, in Winnetka, Illinois, the only child of telephone operator Katherine Wood (of English and Irish descent) and auto mechanic Roy Harold Scherer Senior, named after his father, according to the book, “The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson”, the original plan was to call him “Roc” but someone pointed out the possibility of confusion with the 1940s actress, Rochelle Hudson, so a “k” was added and “Roc” became “Rock”.

By the time Rock Hudson was fourteen years old he was already six feet tall. His parents divorced when he was eight years old. He failed to obtain parts in school plays because he couldn’t remember lines. After high school he was a postal employee and during WW II served as a Navy airplane mechanic. After the war he was a truck driver. His size and good looks got him into movies.

He starred in a number of bedroom comedies, many with Doris Day, and had his own popular TV series McMillan & Wife in 1971. He had a recurring role in TV’s Dynasty in 1981.

Today’s YouTube presentation brought to you by user name baryet is inside personal look of his costar Doris Day talking about her beloved friend Rock Hudson, as we celebrate Rock Hudson’s birthday today on November 17th.

He was very near-sighted and wore glasses all the time off screen. He would rarely allow himself to be photographed wearing glasses though.

Along with Cary Grant, he was regarded as one of the best-dressed male stars in Hollywood.

Hudson married Phyllis Gates, an aspiring actress, in 1955. Unbeknownst to Phyllis, the marriage was arranged by her employer, Hudson’s agent, Henry Wilson, to keep up appearances. A gay man, Hudson was not outward about his homosexuality due to the social stigma surrounding the topic at the time; he feared that publicly discussing it would be negative for his career. The marriage lasted for only three years; while Hudson was in Italy filming 1957’s A Farewell to Arms, the couple divorced.

Throughout his career, Rock Hudson’s public image remained untarnished, but his private life was somewhat torturous. He had a number of homosexual lovers, but continued to keep his sexuality a secret.

In June 1984, Hudson went to visit a doctor about an irritation on his neck. The irritation turned out to be a lesion and a sign of Kaposi sarcoma, a cancerous tumor that affects AIDS patients. Rock Hudson was diagnosed with AIDS on June 5, 1984. A year later, on Jul 25, 1985, he publicly announced that he was suffering from the disease—becoming one of the first celebrities to do so, as well as one of the first to disclose his homosexuality. His openness was a catalyst for public awareness of the worldwide epidemic.

Hudson spent the remainder of his life surrounded by friends and family. He died from AIDS-related complications on October 2, 1985, at the age of 59, in Beverly Hills, California.

He was the first major celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness. Today, Rock Hudson is remembered not only for his legacy as a talented screen actor, but for his courageous choice to go public about his AIDS diagnosis as we remember his birthday today on November 17th.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell


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