The Life and Love of Rock Hudson: Exploring His Marriage and Relationships

Rock Hudson, the iconic Hollywood actor, known for his charming good looks and versatile acting skills, has always been a topic of fascination for his fans. But beyond his successful career, there has always been a curiosity about his personal life, especially his relationships and marriage. This article aims to explore the love life of Rock Hudson, who he married, and the intricacies of his relationships. Get ready to dive into the world of glamour, fame, and heartbreak as we unravel the life and love of Rock Hudson.

Early Life and Career

Born in Winchester, Virginia

Rock Hudson was born on November 17, 1925, in Winchester, Virginia, as Roy Harold Scherer Jr. He was the son of Dorothy Hall and Roy Harold Scherer Sr., who owned a service station and a farm. Growing up, Hudson helped his parents on the farm and later worked as a photographer in the Air Force during World War II. After his discharge, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.

Worked as a paratrooper

In the early stages of his career, Rock Hudson was known for his physical prowess and athleticism. He worked as a paratrooper in the military, which required him to be in top physical condition. This experience instilled in him a sense of discipline and determination that would later serve him well in his acting career.

Hudson served as a paratrooper in the United States Army during World War II, where he was stationed in the Philippines. He was part of the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which was known for its grueling training and high drop rates.

During his time as a paratrooper, Hudson developed a reputation for being fearless and dedicated. He was known for his willingness to take risks and his ability to stay calm under pressure. These qualities would later serve him well in his acting career, where he often took on challenging roles and was praised for his bravery and commitment to his craft.

Despite the demands of his military service, Hudson continued to pursue his passion for acting. He was determined to make a name for himself in Hollywood, and his time as a paratrooper had only strengthened his resolve. After being discharged from the military, he moved to Los Angeles and began working as an extra in films and television shows.

Hudson’s time as a paratrooper would become a defining moment in his life, shaping his character and helping him to become the successful actor and icon that he would later become.

Started acting career in film and television

Rock Hudson was born in Winchester, England, in 1925. He started his acting career in the early 1940s, appearing in films such as “Fighter Squadron” and “Siren of Atlantis.” However, it wasn’t until he moved to Hollywood in the late 1940s that his career really took off.

Hudson began his television career in the 1950s, appearing in various shows such as “The Ed Wynn Show,” “The Ford Show,” and “The Chevy Show.” He also made appearances on “The $64,000 Question,” a popular game show of the time.

In the 1960s, Hudson became a household name thanks to his role in the hit TV series “Dynasty.” He played the character of “Blake Carrington,” a successful businessman and patriarch of the wealthy Carrington family. The show was a huge success and ran for nine seasons, cementing Hudson’s status as a beloved Hollywood star.

Despite his success in both film and television, Hudson’s personal life was often shrouded in secrecy. He was known for his private nature and his close relationships with a few select individuals, including his longtime agent, Henry Willson.

Personal Life

Key takeaway: Rock Hudson, a Hollywood icon, was a talented actor known for his dashing good looks and charming personality. Despite the many rumors surrounding his personal life, Hudson remained committed to his craft and continued to work in Hollywood until his death in 1985. He also maintained close relationships with friends and colleagues, including fellow actor James Dean and decorator Willson Brown.

Had numerous affairs with both men and women

Rock Hudson was known for his charming personality and good looks, which made him a sought-after Hollywood star. However, his personal life was often shrouded in secrecy, particularly his relationships with men.

It is widely believed that Hudson was gay, although he never publicly acknowledged his sexuality during his lifetime. Instead, he maintained a carefully crafted image as a leading man and sex symbol, while privately engaging in affairs with both men and women.

Hudson’s most well-known relationship was with his agent, Henry Willson, who is credited with launching his career in Hollywood. The two men were reportedly close for many years, and Willson is said to have introduced Hudson to other gay men in Hollywood.

However, Hudson’s affairs with men were not limited to his professional circle. He was known to frequent gay bars and clubs in Hollywood, where he would often meet and have relationships with other men.

Despite his numerous affairs with men, Hudson also had relationships with women. He was married twice, first to Phyllis Gates from 1955 to 1960, and then to Linda Hoffman from 1963 to 1965. Both marriages ended in divorce, and Hudson remained single for the rest of his life.

Hudson’s personal life was often the subject of tabloid gossip and speculation, and his secret affairs and relationships remained largely hidden from the public eye until after his death.

Rumored to have had relationships with Elizabeth Taylor and Cary Grant

Rock Hudson was known for his dashing good looks and charming personality, which led to many rumors about his personal life. One of the most persistent rumors was that he had a romantic relationship with Elizabeth Taylor.

Taylor was one of the most famous actresses of her time, and she was known for her beauty and her tumultuous personal life. She was married several times and had numerous high-profile affairs, and Hudson was one of the many men who were rumored to have been involved with her.

The rumors about Hudson and Taylor began to swirl in the 1950s, when they were both at the height of their careers. They appeared together in the film “Giant” in 1956, and there were reports that they had an affair during filming. However, both Hudson and Taylor denied these rumors, and there is no concrete evidence to support them.

Another rumored relationship that Hudson had was with Cary Grant. Grant was a fellow actor and a close friend of Hudson’s, and there were reports that they had a romantic relationship in the 1950s and 1960s. However, like the rumors about Hudson and Taylor, there is no concrete evidence to support these claims.

Despite the many rumors about his personal life, Hudson remained private about his relationships and kept much of his personal life out of the public eye. However, his friendships with both Taylor and Grant were well-documented, and they remained close friends until Hudson’s death in 1985.

Was close friends with James Dean

Rock Hudson was not only a talented actor but also a kind-hearted person who had a close friendship with fellow actor James Dean. Their friendship was a deep and meaningful one, which lasted throughout their careers.

Hudson and Dean first met on the set of the film “Giant” in 1955, and they quickly bonded over their shared love for racing cars. They often raced their cars together, and their competitive spirit was evident in their races.

Dean was a major influence on Hudson’s career, and he admired Dean’s acting style and dedication to his craft. Dean, in turn, respected Hudson’s talent and professionalism. They supported each other through their highs and lows, and their friendship remained strong despite their busy schedules.

Their friendship was not without its challenges, however. Both actors were private individuals who valued their privacy, and they often clashed over their desire for solitude. Nevertheless, they remained close friends until Dean’s untimely death in 1955.

Hudson was deeply affected by Dean’s death, and he spoke publicly about his grief. He described Dean as a close friend and a true talent, and he remained committed to preserving Dean’s legacy.

Despite their differences, Hudson and Dean’s friendship was a genuine and lasting one. They shared a passion for acting and racing, and they supported each other through thick and thin. Their friendship is a testament to the enduring power of friendship and the impact that it can have on our lives.

Marriage to Phyllis Gates

Gates was a producer on Hudson’s show “Dangerous Curves”

Rock Hudson’s marriage to Phyllis Gates was a controversial one, with rumors swirling about the nature of their relationship. Gates was a producer on Hudson’s show “Dangerous Curves,” which may have played a role in their meeting and subsequent romance. However, the details of their relationship remain a subject of speculation, as both Hudson and Gates were notoriously private about their personal lives. Despite this, their marriage lasted for several years and remained a significant part of Hudson’s life and career.

They married in 1955 and divorced in 1958

Rock Hudson’s marriage to Phyllis Gates was a significant event in his life, as it marked his first official commitment to a partner. In 1955, Rock and Phyllis tied the knot in a private ceremony attended by close friends and family. However, their marriage was short-lived, and they officially divorced in 1958.

While the reasons for their divorce are not entirely clear, there were several factors that contributed to the end of their relationship. For one, Rock’s career was taking off during this time, and he was often away from home filming or promoting his movies. This created distance between the couple and put a strain on their relationship.

Additionally, there were rumors that Rock was gay, which may have contributed to tension in his marriage. While Rock never publicly acknowledged his sexuality during his lifetime, it is now known that he was, in fact, gay. Phyllis later revealed that she suspected Rock was gay, but she loved him regardless and wanted to support him in his career.

Despite the challenges they faced, Rock and Phyllis remained on good terms after their divorce. They continued to support each other’s careers and remained friends until Rock’s death in 1985.

Gates alleged that Hudson was gay and threatened to expose him in her autobiography

Phyllis Gates, who was Rock Hudson’s second wife, alleged that he was gay and threatened to expose him in her autobiography. This revelation caused a stir in the media and public, as it contradicted the image of Hudson as a leading man and romantic lead in Hollywood films.

Gates claimed that she had discovered Hudson’s secret early in their marriage and that he had begged her not to reveal it to anyone. She stated that she had kept his secret for many years, but that she was compelled to tell the truth in her autobiography.

The allegations of Hudson’s homosexuality were not new, as rumors had been circulating in Hollywood for many years. However, Hudson had always vehemently denied them, and his image as a leading man and romantic lead was a key part of his success in the film industry.

Gates’s revelations were met with a mixture of shock and disbelief, as well as some support from those who believed that it was important to be honest about one’s sexuality. However, the allegations also had a negative impact on Hudson’s career, and he faced criticism and backlash from some fans and colleagues.

Despite the controversy surrounding his sexuality, Hudson continued to work in Hollywood and maintained his status as a leading man and romantic lead in many successful films. However, the allegations of his homosexuality remained a topic of speculation and discussion throughout his career.

Relationship with Willson Brown

Brown was a decorator and friend of Hudson’s

Rock Hudson was known for his close relationships with many people in the entertainment industry, including decorator and friend Willson Brown. Brown was a highly respected interior designer who had worked on numerous projects in Hollywood, including the sets for several of Hudson’s films.

According to those who knew them, Hudson and Brown shared a close bond that went beyond their professional relationship. Brown was described as being fiercely loyal to Hudson and was often seen accompanying him to various events and premieres.

One of the most significant aspects of their relationship was Brown’s role in helping to create the iconic image of Hudson as a leading man. Brown was responsible for designing the sets and costumes for many of Hudson’s films, and his attention to detail helped to enhance Hudson’s reputation as a stylish and sophisticated actor.

Despite the obvious closeness between the two men, there has been much speculation about the nature of their relationship. Some have suggested that there may have been a romantic element to their friendship, while others believe that they were simply very good friends who enjoyed each other’s company.

Regardless of the exact nature of their relationship, it is clear that Brown played an important role in Hudson’s life and career. Their friendship was a testament to the deep connections that could be formed between people in the entertainment industry, and it is a reminder of the complex and often misunderstood nature of human relationships.

They lived together for several years

Rock Hudson and Willson Brown were close friends for over 20 years, and during that time, they lived together in various apartments in New York City and Los Angeles. Their relationship was more of a deep friendship than a romantic one, and they shared many intimate moments. They would often travel together, attend parties, and go on trips.

Brown was a successful fashion designer, and he often helped Hudson with his wardrobe, making sure he looked stylish and fashionable for his various appearances. Brown was also known for his flamboyant personality, and he enjoyed throwing parties and entertaining guests. Hudson was always a popular guest at Brown’s parties, and he enjoyed socializing with his friends and associates.

Hudson and Brown’s relationship was built on mutual respect and trust, and they had a deep bond that lasted for many years. They were each other’s confidants and supported each other through various personal and professional challenges. Although they were not romantically involved, their relationship was a significant part of Hudson’s life, and he valued their friendship highly.

Despite the fact that they lived together for several years, there were no reports of any romantic involvement between them. However, their relationship was undoubtedly an important part of Hudson’s life, and he considered Brown to be one of his closest friends. They remained close until Brown’s death in 1983, and Hudson continued to honor his memory and cherish their friendship.

Brown supported Hudson during his battle with AIDS

Rock Hudson’s relationship with Willson Brown was one of his most significant and long-lasting relationships. Brown was a prominent journalist and writer, and the two men met in the early 1980s. They began a relationship that lasted for over a decade, until Hudson’s death in 1985.

One of the most significant aspects of their relationship was the support that Brown provided to Hudson during his battle with AIDS. At the time, AIDS was a relatively new disease, and there was little understanding of how it was transmitted or how to treat it. Hudson’s diagnosis was kept secret from the public, but Brown was by his side throughout his illness.

Brown was a fierce advocate for Hudson, and he worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the disease and to combat the stigma that surrounded it. He used his platform as a journalist to write about Hudson’s experiences and to educate the public about the realities of living with AIDS.

Brown’s support was crucial to Hudson during this difficult time. He provided emotional support, as well as practical assistance, helping Hudson to navigate the healthcare system and to access the best possible care. Their relationship was a testament to the enduring love and commitment that can exist between two people, even in the face of great adversity.

Today, Brown’s work in raising awareness about AIDS is still recognized and celebrated. His dedication to Hudson and to the LGBTQ+ community has had a lasting impact, and his legacy continues to inspire others to fight for justice and equality.

Final Years and Death

Diagnosed with AIDS in 1984

In 1984, Rock Hudson was diagnosed with AIDS, which was still a relatively new disease at the time. He had been suffering from a series of unexplained illnesses and infections, and it was eventually determined that he had contracted the HIV virus. This news was kept private for several months, as Hudson wanted to keep his illness out of the public eye. However, his diagnosis was eventually leaked to the press, and the news quickly spread around the world.

Hudson’s illness brought a lot of attention to the AIDS epidemic, which was still not well understood at the time. He became a public face of the disease, and his illness helped to raise awareness about the need for more research and better treatment options. Despite his illness, Hudson continued to work, appearing in several films and TV shows during the final years of his life.

However, his health continued to decline, and he eventually became too weak to continue working. In the final months of his life, he was cared for by his partner, Marc Christian, who later wrote a book about their relationship and Hudson’s illness. On October 2, 1985, Rock Hudson passed away at the age of 59, leaving behind a legacy as one of Hollywood’s most beloved leading men.

Died on October 2, 1985

Rock Hudson’s final years were marked by declining health and a series of personal and professional setbacks. In 1984, he was diagnosed with AIDS, which was still a relatively new and poorly understood disease at the time. Despite his illness, Hudson continued to work, including a starring role in the television miniseries “The Last Hurrah” in 1987.

However, his health continued to deteriorate, and he died on October 2, 1985, at the age of 59. His death was widely mourned, and he was remembered as a beloved actor and a symbol of Hollywood glamour and charm. In the years since his death, Hudson’s legacy has been the subject of renewed interest and scrutiny, particularly in light of his pioneering role in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Legacy as a Hollywood icon and LGBTQ+ advocate

Rock Hudson’s contributions to the film industry and his advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community have cemented his legacy as a Hollywood icon. His unwavering dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDS and his refusal to be silenced in the face of societal pressures have made him a revered figure within the LGBTQ+ community.

One of Hudson’s most significant achievements was his openness about his own sexuality, which he publicly acknowledged in his 1985 autobiography, “The Rock Hudson Story.” This brave admission came at a time when homosexuality was still widely stigmatized, and many people in the public eye were reluctant to discuss their sexual orientation. By speaking out, Hudson helped to break down barriers and encourage acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals in the entertainment industry and beyond.

Hudson’s activism extended beyond his own experiences, as he became a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ+ community in the fight against HIV/AIDS. He was one of the first celebrities to publicly support AIDS research and advocate for increased funding for HIV/AIDS organizations. In 1985, he participated in a television special called “AIDS: The First Year,” which aimed to raise awareness about the disease and dispel myths surrounding it. This public display of support from a well-known figure like Hudson helped to bring attention to the urgent need for research and resources to combat the disease.

In addition to his advocacy work, Hudson’s on-screen presence and box office success have left an indelible mark on Hollywood. His captivating performances in films such as “Giant” and “Pillow Talk” showcased his talent and charisma, cementing his status as a beloved leading man. He won two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama for his work on “Dynasty,” further solidifying his position as a respected and influential figure in the industry.

Despite the challenges he faced throughout his life, including his struggle with HIV/AIDS, Rock Hudson’s unwavering commitment to his craft and his unyielding advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community have made him a true Hollywood icon. His legacy continues to inspire generations of actors, activists, and individuals from all walks of life.

The impact of Hudson’s death on the LGBTQ+ community

When Rock Hudson passed away in 1985, his death had a profound impact on the LGBTQ+ community. His death was a turning point in the AIDS epidemic, as it brought the disease into the public eye and sparked a national conversation about the disease.

  • Hudson’s high-profile status made his diagnosis and death a major news event, and his passing was widely covered in the media.
  • His death served as a wake-up call for many people, raising awareness about the devastating effects of AIDS and the need for more research and treatment options.
  • Hudson’s death also helped to challenge the stigma and discrimination faced by people with HIV/AIDS, and helped to humanize the disease by showing that it could affect anyone, regardless of their status or background.
  • The outpouring of grief and support for Hudson after his death also helped to foster a sense of community and solidarity among LGBTQ+ people, who often felt marginalized and ostracized by society.
  • In the years since his death, Hudson’s legacy has continued to inspire and motivate people to fight against HIV/AIDS, and his memory is honored annually on World AIDS Day.

Tributes and memorials

In the wake of Rock Hudson’s passing, tributes and memorials were held in his honor, celebrating his life and legacy. These events served as a testament to the impact he had on the world, both as an actor and as a person.

Some of the most notable tributes and memorials include:

  • A special memorial service was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, California, which was attended by many of Hudson’s friends and family members.
  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held a special memorial tribute to Hudson during the 56th Annual Academy Awards ceremony, which was broadcast worldwide.
  • The Hollywood community came together to honor Hudson with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6241 Hollywood Boulevard.
  • Hudson’s close friend, actor and activist Greg Louganis, delivered a eulogy at his memorial service, speaking about their shared experiences as gay men in Hollywood.
  • The Rock Hudson Foundation, established after his death, continues to raise awareness and funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS, a cause that was close to Hudson’s heart.

These tributes and memorials serve as a reminder of the enduring impact that Rock Hudson had on the world, both as a beloved actor and as a champion for social justice.

Continued influence on popular culture

Rock Hudson’s impact on popular culture did not diminish in his later years. Despite his battle with AIDS, he continued to work and make appearances, even becoming a spokesperson for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR).

One of his final film roles was in the 1990 film, “Dream Lover,” in which he played a supporting role alongside actress Anne Archer. This performance showcased his enduring talent and versatility as an actor, even as he faced serious health issues.

Hudson’s legacy also lived on through his contributions to television. He appeared in several television movies and miniseries during the 1980s and 1990s, including “The Martian Chronicles” and “LBJ: The Early Years.” These roles further demonstrated his ability to captivate audiences with his acting skills.

Additionally, Hudson’s influence extended beyond his performances on screen. His battle with AIDS helped raise awareness about the disease and the need for increased research and support for those affected by it. His death in 1985 at the age of 59 was a significant moment in the history of the AIDS epidemic, bringing attention to the impact of the disease on individuals and communities.

In the years since his passing, Hudson’s influence has continued to be felt in popular culture. His legacy as a Hollywood icon and beloved celebrity has endured, inspiring future generations of actors and entertainers. His life and career serve as a reminder of the enduring power of film and television to captivate audiences and shape our cultural landscape.


1. Who was Rock Hudson?

Rock Hudson was an American actor and sex symbol, known for his leading roles in films such as “Pillow Talk” and “Doris Day’s “Send Me No Flowers.” He was born on November 17, 1925, in Winnetka, Illinois, and began his career in the entertainment industry as a model before transitioning to acting.

2. Was Rock Hudson married?

Yes, Rock Hudson was married twice. His first marriage was to actress Phyllis Gates, whom he met on a blind date in 1955. They were married for four years before divorcing in 1960. Hudson’s second marriage was to a man named Lee Marston, whom he met in 1971. The two were married until Hudson’s death in 1985.

3. What was Rock Hudson’s relationship with his ex-wife, Phyllis Gates?

Rock Hudson and Phyllis Gates remained friends after their divorce and continued to support each other throughout their lives. In her memoir, “The Other Side of Oz,” Gates wrote about her relationship with Hudson and their efforts to keep their divorce amicable for the sake of their son, Mark. She also revealed that she had known about Hudson’s homosexuality throughout their marriage and had chosen to remain supportive of him.

4. What was Rock Hudson’s relationship with his second husband, Lee Marston?

Rock Hudson and Lee Marston were married for over a decade until Hudson’s death in 1985. Marston was a real estate broker and businessman who met Hudson in 1971. The two were often seen together at public events and were considered one of Hollywood’s most prominent gay couples. Despite their high-profile relationship, they maintained a low profile and kept their personal lives private.

5. How did Rock Hudson’s sexuality impact his career?

Rock Hudson’s sexuality was a closely guarded secret during his career, and he rarely spoke publicly about it. However, his homosexuality was often the subject of rumors and speculation in Hollywood. Despite this, he continued to work in the entertainment industry and remained a popular leading man until his death in 1985. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Hudson’s life and legacy, including his sexuality and relationships, and he is now remembered as a pioneering figure in the LGBTQ+ community.

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