Last month, it was announced that Zachary Quinto, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright and J.J. Abrams are in the early stages of putting together a movie for Paramount about the down-low Old Hollywood love between Anthony Perkins and 1950s hunk of hotness Tab Hunter. The movie is based on Tab’s 2005 memoir, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, where he wrote about having to stay shush about being gay as Hollywood tried to turn him into a perfect(ly straight) leading man. Anthony Perkins died in 1992, and sadly, Tab Hunter isn’t going to see Jason Momoa play him and Idris Elba play Anthony Perkins (shut up about Jason and Idris not looking like Tab and Anthony, I just want to see those two hump on camera) on the big-screen, because he died at the age of 86 last night.
The announcement was made on Facebook:
Allan Glaser, Tab’s partner of more than 30 years, told The Hollywood Reporter that he died unexpectedly in Santa Barbara from a blood clot that caused a heart attack.
Tab Hunter was born Arthur Andrew Kelm, and was raised by a single mother. He was in the U.S. Coast Guard for a minute, but was discharged after they discovered his 15-year-old ass lied about his age to join. Tab’s Wikipedia page says he then met actor (later turned talent agent) Dick Clayton who said that he should join the Hollywood game and become an actor. Tab took his advice and made a few movies in the 1950s before Warner Bros. offered him a contract.
Warner Bros. put Tab in The Sea Chase, Battle Cry, and two movies with Natalie Wood: The Burning Hills and The Girl He Left Behind. WB really wanted to make WoodHunter (which strangely enough used to be one of my usernames on Grindr) happen and sent Natalie and Tab out on fake dates. At around that time, a tabloid tried to out Tab by insinuating that he got arrested in a police raid on a gay orgy. Tab later said that it wasn’t a gay orgy, it was just a regular party.
Tab got into the music world in 1957 when he crooned out the hit Young Love, which was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks. Swoon your nipples out to the sound of the real-life Ken Doll’s deep velvet crooning:
Tab then starred as Joe Hardy in the movie version of Damn Yankees, and went on to make dozens of more movies. When his Hollywood career started to die down, he did summer stock shows before moving to France in the late-60s where he acted in several spaghetti westerns. In the 70s, he starred in Curtis Hanson’s first movie Sweet Kill and acted opposite Paul Newman in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. And in the 80s, his career truly rocketed to the stars when he did three legendary cinematic masterpieces: John Waters’ Polyester, Lust in the Dust (both with Divine), and Grease 2!
Tab Hunter publicly came out in his memoirs.
Rest in peace, Tab Hunter. You are now in the great big Polo Lounge in the sky where you’re canoodling in a booth with Anthony Perkins while laughing with Natalie Wood about how she was almost your beard.