Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In Memoriam: Rock Hudson

It's a long way from Winnetka, Illinois, to Hollywood - in fact, it's almost as great a distance as it is from Roy Scherer to Rock Hudson (only one of whom was born on this day in 1925); while many have taken journeys as long or longer than the former, few have travelled as far, done so much, and come to the greatness that the latter did...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketFrom B-movie stud and (frankly) awful actor, Hudson rode the ludicrous name given to him by his agent, Henry Willson, to an enduring career and popularity that he never should have had as a bad actor with a stupid name. Clearly, though, something about him clicked with the public, and kept clicking for more than 30 years.

What it comes down to is his basic decency: he was never a diva on set, soft-spoken onscreen and off, casually masculine in a way that comforted rather than frightened; he worked hard at his acting, and it's possible in his earlier movies to actually see him improving from film to film. Of course, he took a lot of crap from studio bosses to keep his big secret, but even the voracious celebrity press of the 1950s stayed away from Hudson because behind closed doors Hudson was both private and well-behaved.

Early death doesn't always equate to longevity in the public's memory, unless the death is sensational, which his was. Yet even then, when Hudson died of AIDS in October 1985 it was with the same qualities he'd held dear in his life: dignity, gentleness, and good nature.
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