Last night, which was June 10, 2013, America’s Famous News Magazine, Inside Edition, did a segment on the new HBO movie, “Behind the Candelabra”. In that segment, the relationship between Liberace and his much younger lover, Scott Thorson was exploited.
In the same show, another segment was done on Rock Hudson and Phyllis Gates. In this segment, it was revealed that Hudson’s wife, Gates, hired a private investigator, and secretly recorded a confession from the former ladies’ heart-throb that he was, in fact, a homosexual.
Even though the stories of two of the greatest entertainers in history seems the same, on the surface, they are quite different. With Liberace, everyone who knew Mr. Showmanship kind of suspected that he was gay. After all, he did not try to hide it. However, with Rock Hudson, the situation was quite different. Let me see if I can make this clearer.
First of all, I grew up watching both entertainers. I myself suspected that Liberace liked men, but as far as I was concerned, this did not take away from his being one of the best entertainers who ever lived. He was a great piano player, no doubt. His sexual preference had nothing to do with the joy he brought to many people, including myself, while he was on the stage. If he was gay, that was his business.
On the other hand, I had no idea of Rock Hudson’s sexual preference. I grew up watching his movies, and I loved the way he seduced women. I have to be honest. The man was my boyhood hero. He was Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome. He was the man I wanted to be like, little did I know. When it became public, in the mid 80’s that my hero was gay, I was devastated. I am still devastated to this day. I still enjoy watching his movies, because I want to remember him the way he was, or at least, the way I thought he was.
In case you may not remember, there were two TV movies that were shown on the lives of these two gentlemen. “Liberace” came out in 1988, starring Andrew Robinson as the great piano player. Then, in 1990, the movie, “Rock Hudson” was shown. This movie starred Thomas Ian Griffith as the once famous Ladies’ Man. What was really ironic about these two movies was that Andrew Robinson was in both. In “Liberace”, he starred as the gay performer, while in “Rock Hudson”, he was the Rock’s manager, who supposedly hated homosexuals.
I have to admit. “Liberace” was a very entertaining movie, mostly due to the fact that I knew what to expect. However, I can’t say the same thing about the movie, “Rock Hudson”. When the movie premiered, I was a teenager, living with my parents. We all watched the movie. I watched it in the living room, and my parents watched it in the den. The movie started out portraying the beginning of Mr. Hudson’s career, without any indication that he was a possible homosexual. Then, there was a scene that caught me completely by surprise. The camera was focused only on Rock. He was in bed, and was doing his usual thing, which was, sweet-talking a woman. Then, the camera zoomed out, and lying next to him, in the bed, was another man. I did something I had never done before. I left the living room, went into the den where my parents were watching the movie, and said, “GOD DAMN !” My mother laughed like I never heard her laugh before. My dad’s reaction was quite different. He said to me, “What the hell did you think this movie was going to be about, Pretty Maids All In A Row ?”