Rock Hudson’s Secret Life Explored in New Documentary

1956: American film star Rock Hudson (1925 - 1985)
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A new documentary called Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed is coming out exploring the late actor’s life, career, and secret love life. An official synopsis for the film states that the HBO documentary “explores the story of a man living a double life, one whose public persona was carefully manufactured by his handlers and orchestrated by the studio system, while fearing a potentially career-ending discovery that he was privately living as a gay man.”

rock hudson documentary hbo


It continues, “Nearly four years into the AIDS pandemic, Hudson’s death was a wakeup call for the public and helped elevate serious discussions of the treatment of HIV and AIDS into the mainstream, forcing a reckoning both socially and politically.”

American actor Rock Hudon (1925 - 1985) leans against a sea foam green car in a parking lot, 1950s.

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Hudson’s career skyrocketed to high levels of fame in the 1950s, but his public persona and his true self were very different people. He was one of the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age and his diagnosis and death from AIDS in the ’80s shocked many fans around the world. He appeared in films such as All That Heaven Allows, Giant, and Pillow Talk, and began the highest-paid actor on TV in the ’70s in McMillan and Wife.

A VERY SPECIAL FAVOR, Rock Hudson, 1965

Everett Collection

Hudson’s death from AIDS served as a wake-up call and helped to start making AIDS research and treatments a higher priority. After his death in 1985, over $1.8 million had been raised in private contributions towards AIDS research and care. U.S. Congress also started allocating money to help find a cure just days after he died.

MAN'S FAVORITE SPORT, Rock Hudson, on set, 1964 RKHU 021(42390)

Everett Collection

The documentary will debut on HBO and Max on June 28 after appearing at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. Watch the trailer below:

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Classic Hollywood Hunks

September 2019

Cary Grant, Sean Connery, Rock Hudson and Paul Newman, smoldered onscreen and, in addition to being smokin’ hot, they were effortlessly cool.

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