All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson

October 12, 2019 - Comment

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE The definitive biography of the deeply complex and widely misunderstood matinee idol of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Devastatingly handsome, broad-shouldered and clean-cut, Rock Hudson was the ultimate movie star. The embodiment of romantic masculinity in American film throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, Hudson reigned supreme as the king of

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

The definitive biography of the deeply complex and widely misunderstood matinee idol of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Devastatingly handsome, broad-shouldered and clean-cut, Rock Hudson was the ultimate movie star. The embodiment of romantic masculinity in American film throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, Hudson reigned supreme as the king of Hollywood.

As an Oscar-nominated leading man, Hudson won acclaim for his performances in glossy melodramas (Magnificent Obsession), western epics (Giant) and blockbuster bedroom farces (Pillow Talk). In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Hudson successfully transitioned to television; his long-running series McMillan & Wife and a recurring role on Dynasty introduced him to a whole new generation of fans.

The icon worshipped by moviegoers and beloved by his colleagues appeared to have it all. Yet beneath the suave and commanding star persona, there was an insecure, deeply conflicted, and all too vulnerable human being. Growing up poor in Winnetka, Illinois, Hudson was abandoned by his biological father, abused by an alcoholic stepfather, and controlled by his domineering mother.

Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Hudson was determined to become an actor at all costs. After signing with the powerful but predatory agent Henry Willson, the young hopeful was transformed from a clumsy, tongue-tied truck driver into Universal Studio’s resident Adonis. In a more conservative era, Hudson’s wholesome, straight arrow screen image was at odds with his closeted homosexuality.

As a result of his gay relationships and clandestine affairs, Hudson was continually threatened with public exposure, not only by scandal sheets like Confidential but by a number of his own partners. For years, Hudson dodged questions concerning his private life, but in 1985 the public learned that the actor was battling AIDS. The disclosure that such a revered public figure had contracted the illness focused worldwide attention on the epidemic.

Drawing on more than 100 interviews with co-stars, family members and former companions, All That Heaven Allows finally delivers a complete and nuanced portrait of one of the most fascinating stars in cinema history.

Author Mark Griffin provides new details concerning Hudson’s troubled relationships with wife Phyllis Gates and boyfriend Marc Christian. And here, for the first time, is an in-depth exploration of Hudson’s classic films, including Written on the Wind, A Farewell to Arms, and the cult favorite Seconds. With unprecedented access to private journals, personal correspondence, and production files, Griffin pays homage to the idol whose life and death had a lasting impact on American culture.

Comments

Anonymous says:

A dispassionate biography I’ve read hundreds of celebrity biographies. Many’s the time I’ve been disappointed because the author skipped over or treated lightly the one movie or play the subject wrote or starred in that was my favorite, and I craved to know more. Biographer Mark Griffin, with All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson, cannot be accused of leaving anything out. Meticulously, he makes sure we know of each and every performance Hudson ever gave, complete with some anecdotes and critical…

Anonymous says:

ok biography I have to agree with many of the other reviewers. Im not sorry I bought the book, I learned a few more details of Hudson s life but I didnt come away feeling like I really knew Rock Hudson much better than before I started reading. I have read 4 previous biographies of Hudson. Maybe a little of that not really knowing Hudson at the end of the book stems from the fact that Rock Hudson in real life was a different personality for each person he knew and wore many masks. The author eluded to…

Anonymous says:

Respectful of the star The first biography of the star that isn’t cruel or whitewashed.

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