Tab Hunter, iconic 1950s actor, dead at 86

Tab Hunter, iconic 1950s actor, dead at 86

Playing a WWII soldier in 1955's "Battle Cry", adapted from the Leon Uris novel of the same name, made Hunter a star and he followed with roles in films including "The Burning" and "The Girl He Left Behind", both opposite a young Natalie Wood.

Broadcaster John Fugelsang tweeted a photo of himself and Tab, saying "Tab Hunter was such a popular movie star in the 50s but spent decades fearing that he'd be outed for being gay".

Tab Hunter, the actor who rose to fame in the 1950s, died on Sunday, July 8, at the age of 86.

After living in New Mexico for a time, Hunter returned to live in a home in Montecito in Santa Barbara County with Glaser.

And Hollywood, in that strangely serendipitous way, has one final act of Hunter's life to replay: a month ago the studio Paramount announced it was developing a film from J.J. Abrams and Zachary Quinto about Hunter's relationship with Perkins.

Hunter died just three days before his 87th birthday, his death described by Glaser as "sudden and unexpected". "We'll call you Tab Hunter".

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He also enjoyed musical success with the release of "Young Love" which stayed number one atop the Billboard charts in 1957 for six weeks.

Starting in the early 1950s and lasting through the early 1990s, Tab Hunter starred in more than 70 movies and TV shows.

Since his "80s resurgence in the John Waters and Paul Bartel films costarring Divine, Hunter had relaxed into a more self-amused, even self-deprecating attitude about the vast chasm between the man born Arthur Gelien in 1931 and the teen idol manufactured and rechristened Tab Hunter by Henry Willson, the agent behind such creatively named Hollywood hunks as Rock Hudson, Dack Rambo and Troy Donahue". That was most important to him than being an actor and a recording artist.

In recent years, Hunter appeared in dinner theaters and organized film projects. He began his film career with a small role in 1950's The Lawless.

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. "And I look up there and I think I've contributed", Hunter told The Hollywood Reporter.

"I never mentioned my sexuality to Warner all, and they never mentioned it to me, thank God", Hunter revealed. And this guy said, 'Turn around Tab, this is for the next issue of Confidential magazine.' I went, 'Oh God!' and turned away.

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