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Rock Hudson’s ‘True Love’ Couldn’t Say His Last Goodbye to Him - Inside Actor’s Final Days

Olawale Ogunjimi
Nov 07, 2021
01:40 P.M.
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Rock Hudson was a notable celebrity with a peculiar story. Hudson, one of America's most famous TV stars in the 1950s, died after contracting a sexually transmitted disease, failing to bid his "true love" farewell. Here are facts about his last days.

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Rock Hudson from the classic hit films "Pillow Talk" and "Giant" was a handsome man whose charms were hard to miss. His height, masculinity, and stunning looks, perfectly swayed his lady fans.

Hudson's appearance and talent worked magic, and it was nearly impossible for any other male actor to compete with his fame at the time of his reign. The man's career stretched for more than three decades until his untimely death at 59.

American actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985), circa 1960.  | Photo: Getty Images

American actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985), circa 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

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During his lifetime, he established some relationships with many people. It included professional, and on personal grounds—sexual. The actor, who married a woman, was rumored to be a homosexual, a scandalous story that, thankfully, made waves years after his death.

Sources confirmed that he was in a relationship with a male partner, who happened to be his "true love," but never had the chance to say goodbye before closing his eyes forever.

Movie Star Rock Hudson  on the April 01,1967 | Photo: Getty Images

Movie Star Rock Hudson on the April 01,1967 | Photo: Getty Images

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ROCK HUDSON'S EARLY YEARS

Hudson was born in Illinois into an unpleasant family setting. His dad left his mother to cater to the family. She eventually settled down with a man named Wallace Fitzgerald, who was everything but a loving father and a patient man.

Fitzgerald was an abusive parent, and Hudson revealed that he never supported his dreams of pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.

American actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985) with Phyllis Gates (1925 - 2006), on their wedding day, Santa Barbara, California, 9th November 1955.| Source: Getty Images

American actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985) with Phyllis Gates (1925 - 2006), on their wedding day, Santa Barbara, California, 9th November 1955.| Source: Getty Images

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THE SECRET LIFE OF ROCK HUDSON

Hudson managed to live a seemingly balanced life expected of most celebrities. He was responsible for stealing the hearts of many fans, both male and female.

At the time, many thought that his preference was for women. After all, he was a good-looking man, had fame, and everything money could afford, and he married Phyllis Gate until 1958.

This truth became disputed after his death; Hudson was romantically involved with other men. However, the actor knew how to internalize his affairs. He had the best experts that helped him sort things out at his disposal.

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American Actor Rock Hudson on the set of "Dynasty" - "Circumstantial Evidence" on February 13th, 1985  | Photo: Getty Images

American Actor Rock Hudson on the set of "Dynasty" - "Circumstantial Evidence" on February 13th, 1985 | Photo: Getty Images

The actor's one-time lover Lee Garlington explained that at the time, admittance or revelation about one's homosexuality was a taboo in Hollywood, and it could damage a lifetime of hard work.

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More than a decade after Hudson's death, a discovery about his sexuality emerged. Of course, it could have been easy for anyone to fake a story about his love for men, to suit the rumors, but not his ex-wife, Gate (their brief marriage turned out to be a facade to keep scandals at arm's length).

American actor Rock Hudson in 1982 | Photo: Getty Images

American actor Rock Hudson in 1982 | Photo: Getty Images

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At the time, Gate had employed Fred Otash, a skilled PI and former law enforcement agent, famous for trailing popular figures like JFK and Marilyn Monroe; she wanted to know her husband's true sexuality.

Hudson was later confronted by his former wife, who inquired about his revelations during a Rorschach test. She admitted that she did not condemn his choices but wanted him to recognize that he had a problem that needed fixing.

American actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985), circa 1955. | Photo: Getty Images

American actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985), circa 1955. | Photo: Getty Images

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THE "TRUE LOVE" WHO NEVER BADE HIM FAREWELL

In Hudson's biography, he referred to only one man, Garlington, as his "true love." The celebrity confessed that his former lover and mom were the two people he ever really loved.

His words meant a lot to Garlington, who did not see the actor before his demise. The pair became estranged for a few years after being together from 1962 to 1965—during this time, they attended events but brought other dates to keep the gossip mill out of their business.

Still, they kept a cordial relationship after things fell apart, and Garlington called when he heard about his ex-lover's ill health. Sadly, he was told a visit would not be worth the trouble because Hudson would not have recognized him.

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American actors Doris Day (1922 - 2019) and Rock Hudson (1925 – 1985) in a scene from the Universal-International comedy 'Pillow Talk,' 1959. | Photo: Getty Images

American actors Doris Day (1922 - 2019) and Rock Hudson (1925 – 1985) in a scene from the Universal-International comedy 'Pillow Talk,' 1959. | Photo: Getty Images

HIS ILL HEALTH

Sadly, Hudson did not only deal with hiding his true nature, but he also contracted AIDs, a sexually transmitted disease that was uncommon to many, including doctors.

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The "Giant" star was diagnosed by an immunologist named Michael Gottlieb. Towards the end of his life, he looked frail and lost so much weight but kept the news to himself and a few friends.

Dr. Gottlieb was not familiar with the disease but introduced his patient to some French AIDS researchers who presented diverse modes of treatment.

American actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985), circa 1954. | Photo: Getty Images

American actor Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985), circa 1954. | Photo: Getty Images

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During one of his trips to Paris, he collapsed in his suite, and a French publicist, Yanou Collart, was called in to handle the indigenous press. At first, he was told that the celebrity suffered liver cancer but soon realized that it was AIDS after Hudson's secretary broke the news.

HUDSON'S ACTIONS AFTER HIS DIAGNOSIS

Hudson's diagnosis struck at a time when the disease was strange and antivirals were absent. It left him drained; he tried not to make public appearances, let alone perform.

However, he knew that it was contracted through sex and wanted to ensure his former sexual partners knew of the possible danger. So he asked a friend, George Nader, to write a letter to about four former lovers.

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Actor Rock Hudson and his wife Phyllis Gates pose at home in Los Angeles, California. Circa 1955:  | Photo: Getty Images

Actor Rock Hudson and his wife Phyllis Gates pose at home in Los Angeles, California. Circa 1955: | Photo: Getty Images

The letters were mailed from Palm Springs, and only one man named Tony wrote back. He was a 22-year-old who discovered his health status sooner but chose to sell his story to the media, earning a few bucks. Tony was from New York, and he had a brief affair with Hudson. Six months after his diagnosis, he passed away.

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HOW ANOTHER LOVER REACTED

Hudson appeared to have been involved with a few men during his lifetime, all of whom acted a certain way after his demise. Another man who confidently spoke of his relationship with the actor was Marc Christian.

Rock Hudson and Phyllis Gates pose at home on 01 January, 1955 | Photo: Getty Images

Rock Hudson and Phyllis Gates pose at home on 01 January, 1955 | Photo: Getty Images

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Christian was unaware of his former partner's disease until his death. However, Hudson had instructed his secretary to take care of the younger lover because he might have contracted the disease.

The actor's ex-partner decided to sue the Hudson Estate for $11million. According to the plaintiff, the deceased knew about his diagnosis but continued to have a sexual relationship while lying that he was battling anorexia.

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