Tab Hunter

Remembering Tab Hunter

One of the biggest heartthrobs of the 1950s and '60s has died.

Tab Hunter, the 1950s heartthrob whose movies ranged from musicals ("Damn Yankees") to war dramas ("Battle Cry") to wild John Waters cult flicks ("Polyester"), died at home in Santa Barbara on July 8, three days short of his 87th birthday. Here, a look back at his rangy career, including the personal story that, in his later years, gave him new relevance.

SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS WITH DEBBIE REYNOLDS, 1953 Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS WITH DEBBIE REYNOLDS, 1953 During his time as a Warner Bros. heartthrob, Hunter was often paired with popular actresses like Reynolds and, for publicity, expected to put on a show of dating. "It was the early 1950s; there was no discussion about being gay back then," Reynolds wrote in "Unsinkable," her 2013 memoir. "But I knew that Tab was, and that I felt friendship for him, not romance." AT THE PREMIERE OF 'THE GLENN MILLER STORY,' 1953 Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images AT THE PREMIERE OF 'THE GLENN MILLER STORY,' 1953

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GAINING A PROFILE OPPOSITE SOPHIA LOREN IN 'THAT KIND OF WOMAN,' 1954 Mondadori Portfolio/Mondadori via Getty Images GAINING A PROFILE OPPOSITE SOPHIA LOREN IN 'THAT KIND OF WOMAN,' 1954 Three years before Loren won the Academy Award for Best Actress, Hunter wooed her on screen in this drama directed by Sidney Lumet. A BREAKTHROUGH IN 'BATTLE CRY,' 1955 Archive Photos/Getty Images A BREAKTHROUGH IN 'BATTLE CRY,' 1955 Hunter beat out the likes of James Dean and Paul Newman for this war movie, which helped him become a more serious and respected actor. WITH NATALIE WOOD IN 'THE GIRL HE LEFT BEHIND,' 1956... Warner Bros./Getty Images WITH NATALIE WOOD IN 'THE GIRL HE LEFT BEHIND,' 1956... ...AND WITH HER AGAIN THAT SAME YEAR, FOR 'THE BURNING HILLS' John Springer Collection/Corbis via Getty Images ...AND WITH HER AGAIN THAT SAME YEAR, FOR 'THE BURNING HILLS' As Hunter recalled in the documentary "Tab Hunter Confidential," he and Wood were good friends, dancing and flirting publicly at functions together while privately carrying on their own secret romances — her with Dennis Hopper, him with Anthony Perkins. ON 'AMERICAN BANDSTAND,' 1959 ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images ON 'AMERICAN BANDSTAND,' 1959 Also a recording artist, Hunter had a huge hit with 1957's "Young Love" — it spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. EQUESTRIAN Archive Photos/Getty Images EQUESTRIAN Hunter holds a pair of stirrups, circa 1960. Horse-riding remained a passion from the actor throughout his life. IN 'THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN,' 1972 Archive Photos/Getty Images IN 'THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN,' 1972 TV MOVIES NBC/NBC via Getty Images TV MOVIES With Kim Basinger in a 1978 promotional photo for "Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold." MELLOW YELLOW Donaldson Collection/Getty Images MELLOW YELLOW Posing for a portrait in 1979. In the 1980s, Hunter revived his career working in cult and B-movies. WITH LARRY DAVID ABC Photo Archives/ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images WITH LARRY DAVID On the late-night comedy show "Fridays," 1982. THE CONFESSIONAL 'CONFIDENTIAL' Michael Tran Archive/FilmMagic THE CONFESSIONAL 'CONFIDENTIAL' In 2006, Hunter signs copies of his autobiography, in which he confirmed that he was gay. His story was also the subject of a documentary of the same name. WITH 'THE BOYS IN THE BAND' Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic WITH 'THE BOYS IN THE BAND' In June 2008, Hunter (back row, center) visits the cast of the Broadway play — including Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, and Zachary Quinto, who is producing a biopic about Tab Hunter's secret affair with Anthony Perkins. PARTNERS IN LIFE AND WORK David Livingston/Getty Images PARTNERS IN LIFE AND WORK With longtime love Allan Glaser, who also produced the documentary "Tab Hunter Confidential," and was with Hunter when he collapsed following a cardiac arrest tied to deep vein thrombosis. "I want people to know what a good man he was," Glaser told the Los Angeles Times of his late partner. "It was more important that Tab was known for being a good human being. That was more important to him than being an actor and a recording artist." http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-tab-hunter-20180709-story.html TAB HUNTER: 1931-2018 Al Seib/LA Times via Getty Images TAB HUNTER: 1931-2018



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