Monday, 23 July, 2018

Tab Hunter, 'Damn Yankees!' Actor, Dead At 86

Actor Tab Hunter arrives at The Hollywood Reporter's Academy Awards Nominees Night at Spago on Monday 'Damn Yankees!' star Tab Hunter dead at 86
Herman Weaver | 10 July, 2018, 18:16

The blonde hair, blue-eyed Hunter quickly became one of Hollywood's top leading men in the 1950's and '60s landing roles in movies like "Damn Yankees!" and "Battle Cry".

Hunter came out as gay in his 2005 memoir "Tab Hunter Confidential", where he detailed his experience of being a closeted actor in Hollywood. The Damn Yankees! actor was 86-years-old and died on Sunday, July 8 as noted by The Hollywood Reporter. He also starred in two films with drag queen Divine.

Hunter's memoir was adapted into a critically acclaimed documentary of the same name, released in 2015.

Those two films framed Hunter in one of Hollywood's oldest lies: a false romance with Wood, meant to create a protective smoke screen in front of his homosexuality. According to his partner Glaser, whom he had been with since 1983, Hunter's death was "sudden and unexpected".

George Takei tweeted "Tab Hunter was so much more than a teen heartthrob - he was a celebrated actor, trailblazer and an icon for the LGBTQ community".

Born Arthur Andrew Kelm in New York City, Hunter was raised in California.

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A highlight was the 1958 "Damn Yankees!", an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical with Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston in their Tony-winning NY roles and the original director, George Abbott, sharing direction with Stanley Donen. In addition to his hit movies, he tried his hand at singing and his recording of "Young Love" shot to No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart in 1957.

In 1964, Mr. Hunter made his sole Broadway appearance in a short-lived revival of Tennessee Williams' The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, starring as Christopher Flanders opposite Tallulah Bankhead's Mrs. Goforth.

At the age of 15 Hunter ran off to join the Coast Guard, but was dismissed from service after it was discovered he had lied about his age. Zachary Quinto, who is now working on a movie about Hunter's life and love with Anthony Perkins, wrote a long tribute to the actor on his Instagram account.

"I believed, wholeheartedly - still do - that a person's happiness depends on being true to themselves", Hunter said. "I'm very old-fashioned", he said in a 2015 interview.

"He collapsed in my arms in the front lawn and I called 911 and we raced him to the hospital", Glaser told The Los Angeles Times; Hunter later died at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. "I just didn't like any suggestions or questioning of my sexuality".

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