DS Icon: Rock Hudson
This week we are looking at Rock Hudson, another true gay icon, and although he may just seem like another star of the Hollywood golden age, he truly did have a huge impact on gay life, as we know it now.
With a career that spanned over four decades Hudson truly was one of the greatest stars that ever lived, he appeared in over 70 films and made appearance on numerous television shows. He is probably most well known for a number of romantic comedies he made during the 50s and 60s with Hollywood sweetheart Doris Day.
As the years have by on many things have been written about Hudson that have concentrated on his personal life. The man was a closeted homosexual during a time when homosexuality was still illegal throughout the world and considered to be a mental disability. But where as he may have seemed closeted to the outside world, due to the media not publicising it during the height of his fame, even though they tried, Hudson was in fact very comfortable with who he was and it was apparently known throughout the inner workings of Hollywood that he was in fact gay.
The only problem today is people only tend to remember him because of this, but the fact of the matter is he really was a great actor, I mean he was a gay man pretending to be straight and in a number of his films he was a gay man playing a straight actor who would then play gay to get a woman in a film, sounds confusing right? Well imagine how difficult it was for him. He also had three Golden Globes under his belt along with numerous other acting awards and even has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. These achievements however seem to be overlooked due to what happened at the end of his life.
In July 1985 after appearing to be extremely unwell after an appearance on a show hosted by Doris Day the media exploded with rumours about what was wrong with Hudson. He had in fact been diagnosed with the HIV virus back in 1984 and had been telling people he had incurable liver cancer, no doubt due to the scrutiny that still surrounded homosexuals and the HIV virus. However after the appearance with Doris Day and after receiving treatment in Paris it was announced to the public that Hudson was dying of AIDS.
This shocking and saddening announcement made Hudson the first high profile person known to be suffering from the virus and helped to bring it to a much higher platform in order for it to be tackled. Comedienne Joan Rivers said about it 1985, “Two years ago, when I hosted a benefit for AIDS, I couldn’t get one major star to turn out. … Rock’s admission is a horrendous way to bring AIDS to the attention of the American public, but by doing so, Rock, in his life, has helped millions in the process. What Rock has done takes true courage.”
She was right it took a lot of courage for Hudson to announce that he was dying of this horrific illness and because of that he opened doors for people to research the disease to help the millions who have suffered and are suffering from it now. Thanks to Rock Hudson there is hope for people suffering from HIV and AIDS and hopefully one day there will be a cure, and that is why he is a true Gay Icon.