Culture&Arts

1950s Teen Heartthrob, Gay Icon Tab Hunter Dies At 86

1950s Teen Heartthrob, Gay Icon Tab Hunter Dies At 86

In 1955, Hunter was almost outed by the magazine Confidential when it highlighted his five-year-old arrest for disorderly conduct at a "pajama party" attended by a number of gay people.

"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. After years of innuendo and gossip column speculation - including a notorious story in scandal sheet Confidential magazine that he had attended a "pajama party" - he came out in his 2005 autobiography Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star. He also scored a chart-topping pop hit in 1957 with "Young Love".

Express.co.uk has contacted a representative for Tab Hunter asking for comment.

A Facebook page to promote the 2015 documentary on his life, Tab Hunter Confidential, also confirmed Hunter's death alongside two photos. Hunter was the studios number one grossing star from 1955-1959 appearing in films such as The Sea Chase alongside John Wayne, World War II drama Battle Cry and opposite Natalie Wood in The Burning Hills and The Girl He Left Behind. His vocal abilities and film success led to his being cast as Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees; Mr. Hunter is the only principal player in the film that did not originate his role in the original Broadway cast. He began his film career with a small role in 1950's The Lawless.

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.

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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.

The switch carried him through to roles on several shows during the 1970s, including "Hawaii Five-O", "The Love Boat", and "The Six Million Dollar Man". "And I look up there and I think I've contributed", Hunter told The Hollywood Reporter.

In fact, as his star was soaring in Hollywood, Hunter was involved romantically with actor Anthony Perkins and champion figure skater Ronnie Robertson.

In June it was announced that JJ Abrams and Zachary Quinto are producing the movie "Tab & Tony" about the secret love affair. It will be produced by Glaser, Quinto and J.J.

The actor told Slant Magazine at the time that he still wasn't entirely comfortable discussing being gay. "I never mentioned my sexuality to Warner Bros.at all and they never mentioned it to me, thank God", the actor recalled to THR in 2015. I was just brought up that way.


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