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Movie Heartthrob Tab Hunter Remembers His Closeted Years And Fear Of Being Outed

With his wholesome blond good looks, Tab Hunter became a top box office star in the 1950s, headlining hit movies like Battle Cry and Damn Yankees. He even launched a successful singing career and his song “Young Love” became a number one hit. He seemed to have everything and was often referred to as “America’s Boy Next Door.” However, Hunter 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 now 83-year-old shares his fear of being outed during his hey day, 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. The film will premiere March 15 at the SXSW film festival in Austin, Texas.

Watch the trailer below.

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  • MacAdvisor

    Tab was, from all accounts, a nice guy who worked hard and did his best. His mother had to be institutionalized and he supported her until her death. He joined the Coast Guard at 15 to help out at home and served well and honorably. He was teased by his shipmates for watching movies rather than going to bars and drinking. He was once accused of animal cruelty, but was found not guilty when the neighbor who brought the complaint was shown to have lied because he rejected a dinner invitation. Tab settled down with a romantic partner for 30 years. Given he is 80-years old now, I am glad he is able to come out and be at peace with his sexuality.
    All told, I wish I’d had the honor to meet him.

  • dhmonarch89

    I’d say Damn Yankees was his biggest film- should have that instead of Battle Cry above. I read the book- it was good, recommend reading.

  • DDstar1me

    Now that was a dam good looking man!

    The camera really loved this man.

    Just beautiful. So pretty!

  • M K

    This is by no means a new revelation… there has been a book, under this same name, for years. This is just a movie version of the book… for those too lazy to read. And now that celebrities coming out is being mainstream, the idea of a movie is just a money maker.

  • GayEGO

    Ah….. I remember back in the day, it was a difficult time for us, especially when I was a musician in the Navy and I played the flute! :>)

  • Sammy Schlipshit

    Good for him.

    I would like to say I hope I look that good at his age but hells bells, I don’t look that good now.
    What an incredibly handsome/beautiful man.

    There were careers made and destroyed instantly back in those days over men and women’s sexual orientation.
    It was then as now that whomever could generate the most revenue for the studios got to keep their secrets.
    Somewhat still the case these days although the situation is far, far more accepting….for some actors.
    Not the SUPER STARS.

    I once had the pleasure of meeting George Nader. He was sacrificed so Rock Hudson could keep his career.
    As the story goes, a tabloid magazine of the day was determined to expose some queer….er…. closeted gay man.
    This was in the days when the term queer was still all about being a derogatory word.
    Still is as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care what the young’uns think. They have no memories of the horror of those days….because of us old farts fighting so they could escape all of that crap.

    The expose’ was negotiated.
    George was to be exposed all because the powers that be saw Rock as a more money generating movie star.

    For some type of payback, Rock employed George and his lover to assist in both his career and regular life.

    That’s the way it was done back then…..but these days we still have personalities such as Travolta living the not so down low life.

    I hope I live long enough to see the day when the gender someone sleeps with and whom they are attracted to with resulting in hullabaloo at all.

    Hurry. I’m old…not quite Tab Hunter old but smack in the middle of my ‘golden years’.

  • natriley

    Tab Hunter was only half in the closet. Growing up in the 1950s I knew he was gay, but he was sweet and I liked him as opposed to the sultry James Dean who was an instant erection. In the dark theater anything was possible and sex was normal. Tab was subject to nasty gossip and the viciousness that becomes transparent in “Rock Hudson’s Home Movies” must also have directed at Tab Hunter. In those days we called it dropping “bobby pins” little inside jokes that only the queer friendly understood. Like Elizabeth Taylor, Tab Hunter managed to stay on the right side of history. I’ll see this picture.

  • nicebut50

    I saw Tab Hunter at the World Premiere of Spirit of St. Louis at Radio City Music Hall. He was surrounded by screaming young girls. He saw me , an admiring teenager, and he winked at me. It made my day and later that night when I kept thinking about this gorgeous hunk of man. It was the first time I thought I might be bi or even gay. Thank you Tab for that wonderful awakening. Think of him winking at me often. What a guy !

  • TampaBayTed

    I’d hump Tab back when and I’d hump him now. Still sexy after all these years,

  • dhmonarch89

    @M K: Documentaries RARELY make money!

  • MikeInTX

    @M K:

    Why so negative? I’d be willing to bet the filmmaker read the book and was inspired to get Tab to tell his story, in person, illustrated with clips of what made him so sexy on screen. It’s not a sign of laziness at all, and it sure as hell isn’t about the money. @dhmonarch89 is right: docs rarely make money, and that’s only if you can sell to a big distributor. This will be lucky to play the festival circuit and maybe end up on Netflix, which again – not a lot of cash to be made there.

  • cajuninvegas

    I wish I look that good at 83 years old!!!!

  • winemaker

    I remember hearing that Tab Hunter was gay and very closeted. I also remember ‘the Tab Hunter show’ his television show in the very early 60’s, on a Sunday night. Check You Tube, Tab Hunter show, it might have a few episodes, although his show was short lived and produced over 50 years ago.

  • Sluggo2007

    I read Tab’s book when it was released about 10 years ago. Good read and nice guy. All the best to him.

  • da90027

    This is proof kiddies if you are a nice person you can still look hot at 80…good for him hes a great guy not a gossipy bitch like so many and deserves what he has accomplished…he also has a great sense of humor which goes a long way.

  • mikespurts

    I remember first seeing him on TV in a movie with Sophia Loren titled “That Kind of Woman” (1959). They were both gorgeous. All these years later he is still one handsome man.

  • casey

    Still hot looking.

  • airbnb302006

    I’m looking forward to seeing this documentary film later this month at the Cleveland International Film Festival. Come to Cleveland to see it. It’s a great festival. #CIFF39

  • scotshot

    @M K: Is it a bad thing to want more people to hear his story?

  • Daggerman

    …I read his auto-biography and loved it he appeared to be a very sound person, comfortable in his own skin and very amiable. Plus extremely handsome which sent me over the edge….it’s no surprise he made many women and men swoon!

  • [email protected]

    I was videoed for this documentary, but my worshipful gushing was edited out. Maybe it will be in the DVD out-takes. Tab was my surrogate boyfriend during my early youth in New Mexico when I couldn’t have boyfriends openly.

  • Sluggo2007

    Tab’s book was very good. I highly recommend it.

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