During his heyday in the 1950s as one of Hollywood’s top male stars, Tab Hunter headlined hit movies like Battle Cry and Damn Yankees, competed against James Dean and Paul Newman for roles and cavorted with more-or-less a Who’s Who of Tinseltown. He escorted Natalie Wood on studio-arranged dates and even maintained a recording career, releasing the number-one hit, “Young Love,” which eventually led to the formation of Warner Bros. Records. Often referred to referred to as “America’s Boy Next Door,” Hunter seemed to have the world on a string. He also had a secret he needed to keep hidden: he was gay.
In the new documentary Tab Hunter Confidential (adapted from the actor’s 2005 memoir), the still-charismatic 84-year-old candidly shares his fear of being outed, his love affair with Anthony Perkins and the incredible story of how he endured to become a happy, healthy survivor of Hollywood’s roller coaster. Produced by Allan Glaser, Hunter’s partner of three decades, the engaging film (in select theaters today) includes a trove of vintage footage of the heartthrob, as well as new interviews with John Waters (his Polyester director), Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner, George Takei and former gossip queen Rona Barrett.
Watch Waters and others discuss Hunter’s beauty in the exclusive clip below.