Tab Hunter Dead: 'Damn Yankees!' Heartthrob Dies at 86

Actor Tab Hunter arrives at The Hollywood Reporter's Academy Awards Nominees Night at Spago on Monday

Actor Tab Hunter arrives at The Hollywood Reporter's Academy Awards Nominees Night at Spago on Monday

In 1955, Hunter was almost outed by the magazine Confidential when it highlighted his five-year-old arrest for disorderly conduct at a "pajama party" attended by a number of gay people.

One of the first Hollywood stars to cross over into pop music, Hunter recored a song in 1957, Young Love, which shot to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; it went on to sell over one million copies.

In 2005, he released a memoir, Tab Hunter Confidential, in which he revealed that he had been a closeted gay man throughout his acting career. RIP, Tab Hunter. This news was previously reported by Variety. He rose to fame in 1955 with a starring role in Track of the Cat and would later cement himself as a true star and heartthrob in movies such as Battle Cry and The Burning Hills.

A list of Hunter's co-stars reads like a who's who of Hollywood, and includs John Wayne, Lana Turner, Natalie Wood, Gary Cooper, Rita Hayworth, Sophia Loren, Fred Astaire, Debbie Reynolds, Vincent Price, Divine and many others.

The actor came fully clean in his autobiography and confessed to a relationship with "Psycho" star Anthony Perkins.

"I believed, wholeheartedly - still do - that a person's happiness depends on being true to themselves", he wrote. William Shatner, The Star Trek alum, wrote, "So sad, to wake up to the news of the passing of Tab Hunter".

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Born Arthur Andrew Kelm, Hunter's screen tab - the slang at the time for "name" - was fabricated by Henry Willson, the same talent agent who came up with the names Rock Hudson and Rory Calhoun, among the slew of Hollywood stars in those days with manufactured names.

A career revival of sorts was triggered by his casting in Polyester, the hitherto-underground John Water's 1981 paean to all things cheesy-50s; Hunter starred alongside Waters regulars Divine and Mink Stole.

The pair also co-produced Dark Horse in 1992, about a young girl who, with her beloved horse, is injured and must find the courage to ride again; the film starred Hunter, Ed Begley Jr, Mimi Rogers and Natalie Wood's daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner.

"We were walking home and he collapsed in my arms in our front yard", Glaser said. J.J. Abrams, Hunter's husband and producing partner Allan Glaser and Neil Koenigsberg are working on on a movie about the star for Paramount titled Hunter, with Zachary Quinto set to star. His slide followed the classic pattern: to a television series ("The Tab Hunter Show", on NBC, 1960-62); European films ("The Golden Arrow") and cheap kid flicks ("Ride the Wild Surf.") In his memoir, he took pains to note that "Ride the Wild Surf" was his only beach-party movie; his "Operation Bikini", despite its title, was "yet another war movie".

Glaser said he wanted people to know "what a good man" Hunter was. "I never mentioned my sexuality to Warner all and they never mentioned it to me, thank God", the actor recalled to THR in 2015.

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