Hollywood leading man, icon, and legend Rock Hudson is going to be back in a major way as the subject of Mark Griffin’s new biography, All That Heaven Allows, which is being published in early December, as well as the film version announced that will be directed by Greg Berlanti, who had previously helmed Love Simon.
Born Nov. 17, 1925, in Winnetka, IL, Rock began his rise to the top in the 1950s with films like Magnificent Obsession, All That Heaven Allows, and Giant (which garnered him an Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Supporting Actor). In the ’60s, he made the transition over to romantic comedies, co-starring with Doris Day in Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, and Send Me No Flowers. Changing yet again for another decade, he shifted into television with the mystery series McMillan & Wife and Dynasty. Truly an amazing career, but not one that told the full story.
“The icon worshipped by moviegoers and beloved by his colleagues appeared to have it all,” notes All That Heaven Allow‘s official description. “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, IL, 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,” the publisher continues, “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.”
It seems that Mark Griffin’s research into this biography is impeccable, culled from over 100 interviews with family members, co-stars, and former companions combined with access to private journals and personal correspondence among other things.
All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson will be published on Dec. 4. No word on a production schedule for the film.