The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson

The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson

Book - 2005
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Henry Willson started off as a talent scout under powerhouse mogul David O. Selznick, for whom Willson procured women. The starmaker-to-be was therefore on the lookout for promising newcomers--as actors, lovers and sometimes both--when he received an unsolicited photograph from a movie star hopeful named Roy Scherer. Unbeknownst to Willson, the photograph of the handsome young man with bad teeth would have not only a career-defining impact for himself but, more importantly, redefineHollywood's concept of the male heartthrob. Roy Scherer became Rock Hudson and for the next twenty-five years Henry Wilson became the man behind movie "beefcake." The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson delves into Willson's life in explicit, unsparing detail. Variety reporter Robert Hofler deftly chronicles Willson's maneuvers to sidestep the FBI's investigation into Hudson's sex life; the starmaker's use of off-duty L.A.P.D. cops and Mob ties to scare off Hudson's blackmailers; Hudson's "arranged" marriage to Willson's secretary, Phyllis Gates; as well as Hudson's affair with a Universal Pictures vice-president to help secure starring roles in Magnificent Obsession and Giant. Additionally, the book digs into Willson's other star clients, including Robert Wagner, Troy Donahue, Tab Hunter, and John Derek.
Publisher: New York : Carroll & Graf, 2005.
Edition: First Carroll and Graf edition.
ISBN: 9780786716074
Branch Call Number: 791.43092 W686
Characteristics: xii, 468 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Nov 09, 2011

Fascinating look at Henry Wilson, a mega-agent from the golden years of Hollywood. Henry, a republican and closeted homosexual had a knack for finding handsome, strapping men that the camera loved. Who cared if they could act? He got them rolls, and frequently they rewarded him. The list of his discoveries is a veritable who's who of handsome, actors from the time. Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, Troy Donahue, Mike Conners.

The book is at time a fascinating look at the lengths Wilson and his clients went to hide their sexuality in a time and place that didn't want to know. At other times, it is a hundred pages too long, as the list of people and activities began to blur together.

Only for the real Hollywood aficionado.


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