DAMN YANKEES Star Tab Hunter Dies at 86


Tab Hunter, the 1950s epitome of the blond Hollywood heartthrob and teen icon pin-up, whose career included early A-list fare like Damn Yankees! and Battle Cry to later (much later) cult classics Polyester, Lust in the Dust and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, has died.

Meanwhile, his longtime love Glaser produced a 2015 documentary about Hunter entitled Tab Hunter Confidential, in which the actor discussed being a closeted gay man in Hollywood while simultaneously being seen as one of its biggest hunks. In addition to his hit movies, his recording of "Young Love" topped the Billboard pop chart in 1957. But as he later revealed in his 2005 memoir, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, he was actually carrying on a long-term relationship with "Psycho" actor Anthony Perkins. According to reports, he died at 86-years-old from a blood clot in his leg which triggered cardiac arrest.

Hunter began his career as a young actor of unlimited good looks but decidedly limited talent. He also starred in two films with drag queen Divine. "The dilemma, of course, was that being true to myself, and I'm talking sexually now, was impossible in 1953".

"I had my fling, and I was very fortunate", he said.

Hunter was born Arthur Andrew Kelm on July 11, 1931, in New York City, but later moved to California when he was young. Glaser also shared with THR that Hunter's passing was "unexpected and sudden".

He joined the U.S. Coast Guard at age 15, but eventually was discharged when the service discovered his age.

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"I believed, wholeheartedly - still do - that a person's happiness depends on being true to themselves", he said.

Hunter's failure to win the role of Tony in the film adaptation of West Side Story (1961) prompted him to agree to star in a weekly television sitcom.

It was Willson who gave him his stage name of "Tab Hunter" and he soon signed with Warner Bros., which is now owned by CNN's parent company AT&T.

"I never mentioned my sexuality to Warner Bros.at all and they never mentioned it to me, thank God", Hunter told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015.

Over the years, he also had small roles in "The Loved One", "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" and "Grease 2". J.J. Abrams, Hunter's husband and producing partner Allan Glaser and Neil Koenigsberg are working on on a movie about the star for Paramount titled Hunter, with Zachary Quinto set to star.