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WATCH: Rock Hudson’s former boyfriends & colleagues reflect on the life of the closeted movie star

Rock Hudson in a swimsuit, emerging from a pool
Image Credit: ‘Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed,’ Max

Rock Hudson. His name has become synonymous with Hollywood itself.

Whether it was sweeping dramas like All That Heaven Allows, epic Westerns like Giant, beloved rom-coms like Pillow Talk, or tense thrillers like Seconds, he was an actor who could do it all. He was one of the brightest stars to ever grace the silver screen—an icon that women wanted to be with and men wanted to be.

He was also deeply closeted.

Yes, for all the fame and success, Hudson’s story is also one of pain, shame, and fear. He was a gay man, but forced to live a double life. It wasn’t until he died from AIDS in 1985 that the wider world knew about his truth.

Everyone knows Rock Hudson, Movie Star—but who was he, really? And what did it take for one of the most famous men in America to live a life in secret?

These questions are at the heart of the eye-opening new documentary Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed, from filmmaker Stephen Kijak (We Are X, the LGBTQ+ history docuseries Equal).

Through archival footage, film clips, and interviews with those that knew Hudson personally, the doc aims to paint a full portrait of a man we thought we all knew, offering glimpses into his world when the cameras weren’t rolling.

Rock Hudson and a friend in swimsuits, on a cliff ooverlooking the ocean
Image Credit: ‘Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed,’ Max

His public image was one of careful construction—he’s often considered to be one of the last great stars of the Old Hollywood studio system—with every aspect of his so-called “private life” built by others. But All That Heaven Allowed tells his story through the people that knew the real him, including the gay men who were told to never even take a photo with him, lest anyone find out the truth.

The doc will also explore the significance of Hudson’s death in relation to the broader AIDS epidemic in America. At a time when the disease was so heavily stigmatized by the media, the actor was one of the first mainstream figures to be diagnosed with HIV, and it’s said that his passing changed “the course of history around AIDS.”

The beloved All-American movie star forced to hide who he really was right up until his tragic, untimely passing? Well, that right there is the All-American story.

Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed will make its world premiere this weekend, June 11, at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, and then heads to San Francisco for Frameline47 on June 22. But it won’t be long until you can watch it no matter where you are, as the doc drops June 28 on Max—a perfect Pride Month watch.

Check out the brand-new trailer for Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed below: