Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

'Damn Yankees!' star Tab Hunter dead at 86

American actor Tab Hunter in about 1955 American actor Tab Hunter in about 1955
Stacy Diaz | 10 July, 2018, 18:14

Damn Yankees star and 1950s heartthrob Tab Hunter died yesterday as a result of a blood clot that caused a heart attack, according to Hunter's partner, Allan Glaser.

He finally confirmed his status as a gay icon by coming out in a 2005 autobiography, "Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star".

Hunter appeared in television shows such as his own sitcom The Tab Hunter Show which lasted for one season, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Forever Fernwood, The Virginian, The Six Million Dollar Man, Ellery Queen, and The Love Boat.

The fuss over the young actor began two years later when he appeared bare-chested opposite Linda Darnell in the British-made "Island of Desire".

Hunter developed into a respected horseman and kept several horses in Santa Fe, where he lived for some time in the mid-to-late 1980s after he co-produced and starred in the locally filmed Western parody Lust in the Dust.

Huffington Post movie critic Matt Jacobs tweeted photos of Tab with Anthony Perkins, detailing the lengths the couple had to go to to hide their relationship: "Tab Hunter and Anthony Perkins: Hollywood's sexiest not-so-secret relationship".

Those two films framed Hunter in one of Hollywood's oldest lies: a false romance with Wood, meant to create a protective smoke screen in front of his homosexuality. TV proved a fertile environment, with The Tab Hunter Show premiering in 1960 followed by a string of TV movies. (1958), among others. He also kicked off a short-lived yet successful music career with his single "Young Love", which Billboard named the number four song of 1957.

"We were walking home and he collapsed in my arms in our front yard", Glaser said. Young Arthur Gelien grew up in San Francisco and Long Beach, Calif., and joined the Coast Guard at 15, lying about his age.

"I want people to know what a good man he was", said Glaser.

The following year he enjoyed another star turn as Joe Hardy in the film adaptation of the musical "Damn Yankees!". "I'm very old-fashioned", he said in a 2015 interview.

Many who were touched by Hunter's legacy paid tribute to the late actor on social media ― including Andrew Rannells, Harvey Fierstein and Zachary Quinto, who is set to produce a film with J.J. Abrams about Hunter's romance with Perkins. But Jack Warner pulled me back and said, 'Just remember this, today's headlines, tomorrow's toilet paper.' I'll never forget that.