Born in Pasadena, California, Nader began his film career in 1950, after having earned his bachelor of arts in theatre arts at Occidental College. Nader appeared in several productions at the Pasadena Playhouse. That work led to a number of bit parts in 1951 and '52. His big break was his first starring role, which came in Robot Monster (1953), a 3-D feature film directed by Phil Tucker. This role and his rugged good looks won him a Universal Studios contract in the 1950s, and he made a number of films for Universal. In 1955, he won a Golden Globe Award for "Most Promising Newcomer."
Despite this accolade, Nader often found himself struggling in the shadow of more famous leading men, such as Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, and Jeff Chandler. His films of that period included 1954's Carnival Story and Sins of Jezebel and 1956's Away All Boats. He also was Esther Williams' leading man in her first straight dramatic film, The Unguarded Moment, released by Universal in 1956. He moved into television in the late 1950s, appearing in several short-lived series including The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen and The Man and the Challenge. In the 1961-1962 season, he appeared as insurance investigator Joe Shannon in the syndicated crime drama Shannon; his co-star was Regis Toomey. Nader also appeared frequently on The Loretta Young Show, a dramatic anthology series on NBC.
George Nader & Mark Miller, with friend Rock Hudson are buried together at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Cathedral City)
In the mid-1950s, rumors about Nader's private life began to surface. Nader's companion was Mark Miller who would later become Hudson's personal secretary. Nader's career in Hollywood was ended. He and Miller moved to Europe, where Nader found steady work in films. A notable role during this period was as U.S. government agent "Jerry Cotton" in a German film series where he became the number two most popular film star in Germany behind Lex Barker.
In the mid-1970s, Nader was involved in a serious automobile accident. He suffered an eye injury which made him particularly sensitive to the bright lights of movie sets.
After damage to his eye made it difficult to endure an acting career, Nader began a career as a writer of science fiction. His groundbreaking 1978 novel Chrome is probably the first science fiction novel to center on a homosexual love affair, and the first to have substantial homosexual erotic scenes.
According to Variety Magazine's Army Archerd, Nader had completed a book called The Perils of Paul, about the gay community in Hollywood, which he did not want published until after his death.
Nader and Miller eventually returned to the U.S. and settled in Palm Springs. Stricken by multiple medical problems, Nader entered the hospital in September, 2001. He died at Woodland Hills, California of cardiac-pulmonary failure, pneumonia, and multiple cerebral infarctions. Nader is survived by Miller, his cousins Sally Kubly and Roberta Cavell, and his nephew, actor Michael Nader.
His ashes were scattered at sea, but his cenotaph exists in Cathedral City's Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Burial: Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Cathedral City), Cathedral City Riverside County, California, USA, Cenotaph
I stumbled across Chrome by George Nader, a classic of gay SF, in the front bookrack of the local bookshop in my little hometown during my college days. It was pretty obviously a gay book but it wasn't relegated to a back rack, special section (gay lit sections didn't exist in those days in the wilds of northern Maine) or worse yet banned. There it was, in plain sight, just waiting for me to discover the weird and sexy story of Chrome and his liege, Lord Vortex. Not exactly the Persian Boy, but there was definitely a taboo power dynamic going on. It's been years since I read it, but as I recall, something was wrong with Vortex's arms, which were encased in tubes for healing, so Chrome had to help him with lots of things. Romance ensued. --Lynn Flewelling
Chrome is a science fiction novel published by Putman in 1978. The writer’s only book, I had once owned a paperback reprint. Drawn by the strangely martial and homoerotic cover art, I had purchased it while closeted in graduate school, read a few pages and blanched, as if it was going to dye my bookshelf radioactive pink and alert my stoner friends that I was indeed a fag. (...) Chrome was the first science fiction book to feature gay characters, written by a gay author and published by a major publisher, in hardback, and yet it is largely forgotten. Plotting and character issues aside, this book is a pioneer text. --Tom CardamoneRock Hudson (born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr., November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985), was an American film and television actor. Though widely known as a leading man in the 1950s & 60s (often starring in romantic comedies opposite Doris Day), Hudson is also recognized for dramatic roles in films such as Giant and Magnificent Obsession. In later years, Hudson found success in television, starring in the popular mystery series McMillan & Wife & landing a recurring role on the prime time soap opera Dynasty.
Hudson was voted "Star of the Year", "Favorite Leading Man", and similar titles by numerous movie magazines. The 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) tall actor was one of the most popular and well-known movie stars of the time. He completed nearly 70 motion pictures and starred in several television productions during a career that spanned over four decades.
Hudson died in 1985, being the first major celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness.
While Hudson's career was developing, he and his agent Henry Willson kept his personal life out of the headlines. In 1955, Confidential magazine threatened to publish an exposé about Hudson's secret homosexual life. Willson forestalled this by disclosing information about two of his other clients. According to some colleagues, Hudson's homosexuality was well known in Hollywood throughout his career; former costars Elizabeth Taylor and Susan Saint James claimed they knew of his homosexual activity, as did both Doris Day and Carol Burnett.
Rock Hudson with George Nader
Soon after the Confidential incident, Hudson married Willson's secretary Phyllis Gates. Gates later wrote that she dated Hudson for several months, lived with him for two months before his surprise marriage proposal, and married Hudson out of love and not, as it was later purported, to prevent an exposé of Hudson's sexual orientation. Press coverage of the wedding quoted Hudson as saying, "When I count my blessings, my marriage tops the list." Gates filed for divorce after three years in April 1958, charging mental cruelty. Hudson did not contest the divorce, and Gates received alimony of US$250 a week for 10 years. After her death from lung cancer in January 2006, some informants reportedly stated that she was actually a lesbian who married Hudson for his money, knowing from the beginning of their relationship that he was gay. She never remarried.
According to the 1986 biography Rock Hudson: His Story by Hudson and Sara Davidson, Hudson was good friends with American novelist Armistead Maupin, and Hudson's lovers included: Jack Coates (born 1944); Hollywood publicist Tom Clark (1933–1995), who also later published a memoir about Hudson, Rock Hudson: Friend of Mine; and Marc Christian, who later won a suit against the Hudson estate. (Picture: Tom Clark)
An urban legend states that Hudson married Jim Nabors in the 1970s. In fact the two were never more than friends. According to Hudson, the legend originated with a group of "middle-aged homosexuals who live in Huntington Beach" who sent out joke invitations for their annual get-together. One year, the group invited its members to witness "the marriage of Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors", at which Hudson would take the surname of Nabors' most famous character, Gomer Pyle, becoming "Rock Pyle". Those who failed to get the joke spread the rumor. As a result, Nabors and Hudson never spoke to each other again. (Picture: Marc Christian)
In July 1985, Hudson joined his old friend Doris Day for the launch of her new TV cable show, Doris Day's Best Friends where he videotaped a live guest appearance at her southern California ranch. His gaunt appearance and nearly incoherent speech were so shocking that it was broadcast again all over the national news shows that night and for weeks to come.
Rock Hudson with Marc Christian
Earlier, Hudson had been diagnosed with HIV on June 5, 1984, but when the signs of illness became apparent a few months later, his publicity staff and doctors told the public he had inoperable liver cancer. During most of 1984 and 1985, Hudson kept his illness a secret while continuing to work and at the same time travel to France and other countries seeking a cure, or at least treatment to slow the progress of the disease.
It was not until July 25, 1985, while in Paris for treatment and just over one week following his appearance on Doris Day's TV cable show, that Hudson issued a press release announcing that he was dying of AIDS. In another press release a month later, Hudson speculated he might have contracted HIV through transfused blood from an infected donor during the multiple blood transfusions he received during his heart bypass procedure in November 1981. He flew back to Los Angeles on July 31, where he was so physically weak that he was taken off by stretcher from the Air France Boeing 747 he had chartered and upon which he and his medical attendants were the only passengers. He was flown by helicopter to Cedars Sinai Hospital, where he spent nearly a month undergoing further treatment. When the doctors told him there was no hope of saving his life, since the disease had progressed into the advanced stages, Hudson returned to his house, "The Castle", in Beverly Hills, where he remained in seclusion until his death on October 2, 1985 at 8:37 a.m. PDT. He was a month and a half away from his 60th birthday.
The disclosure of Hudson's HIV status provoked widespread public discussion of his homosexuality. In its August 15, 1985 issue, People published a story that discussed his disease in the context of his sexuality. The largely sympathetic article featured comments from famous show business colleagues such as Angie Dickinson, Robert Stack, and Mamie Van Doren, who claimed they knew about Hudson's homosexuality and expressed their support for him. At that time People had a circulation of more than 2.8 million, and, as a result of this and other stories, theories about Hudson's homosexuality became fully public.
Hudson's revelation had an immediate impact on visibility of AIDS, and on funding of medical research related to the disease. Among activists who were seeking to de-stigmatize AIDS and its victims, Hudson's revelation of his own infection with the disease was viewed as an event that could transform the public's perception of AIDS. Shortly after Hudson's press release disclosing his infection, William M. Hoffman, the author of As Is, a play about AIDS that appeared on Broadway in 1985, stated: "If Rock Hudson can have it, nice people can have it. It's just a disease, not a moral affliction." At the same time, Joan Rivers was quoted as saying: "Two years ago, when I hosted a benefit for AIDS, I couldn't get one major star to turn out. ... Rock's admission is a horrendous way to bring AIDS to the attention of the American public, but by doing so, Rock, in his life, has helped millions in the process. What Rock has done takes true courage." Morgan Fairchild said that "Rock Hudson's death gave AIDS a face". In a telegram Hudson sent to a September 1985 Hollywood AIDS benefit, Commitment to Life, which he was too ill to attend in person, Hudson said: "I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth."
Shortly after his death, People reported: "Since Hudson made his announcement, more than $1.8 million in private contributions (more than double the amount collected in 1984) has been raised to support AIDS research and to care for AIDS victims (5,523 reported in 1985 alone). A few days after Hudson died, Congress set aside $221 million to develop a cure for AIDS." Organizers of the Hollywood AIDS benefit, Commitment to Life, reported after Hudson's announcement he was suffering from the disease, it was necessary to move the event to a larger venue to accommodate the increased attendance.
However, Hudson's revelation did not immediately dispel the stigma of AIDS. Although then-president Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy Reagan were friends of Hudson, Reagan, who was viewed by some as indifferent to the disease and its sufferers, made no public statement concerning Hudson's condition. At the same time, privately, Reagan called Hudson in his Paris hospital room where he was being treated in July 1985, and Nancy Reagan telephoned French President François Mitterrand to ensure that Hudson would receive the best possible care. Reagan's first public mention of the disease came in response to questions at a September 15, 1985 press conference, nearly two months after Hudson's announcement. In those remarks, Reagan called medical research on AIDS a "top priority". However, when asked, "If you had younger children, would you send them to a school with a child who had AIDS?," Reagan responded equivocally: "[G]lad I'm not faced with that problem today. ... I can understand both sides of it." Several days later, Reagan sent a telegram to the Commitment to Life AIDS benefit, in which he reiterated his position that his administration would make stopping the spread of AIDS a top priority. Nevertheless, Reagan did not publicly address AIDS at length for another two years.
In addition, a controversy arose concerning Hudson's participation in a scene in the television drama Dynasty in which he shared a kiss with actress Linda Evans in one episode. When filming the scene Hudson was aware that he had AIDS, but did not inform her. Some felt that he should have disclosed his condition to her beforehand. At the time, it was known that the virus was present in low quantities in saliva and tears, but there had been no reported cases of transmission by kissing. Nevertheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had warned against exchanging saliva with members of groups perceived to be at high risk for AIDS. According to comments given in August 1985 by Ed Asner, then president of the Screen Actors Guild, Hudson's revelation caused incipient "panic" within the film and television industry. Asner said that he was aware of scripts being rewritten to eliminate kissing scenes. Later in the same year, the Guild issued rules requiring that actors be notified in advance of any "open-mouth" kissing scenes, and providing that they could refuse to participate in such scenes without penalty. Linda Evans herself appears not to have been angry at Hudson: she asked to introduce the segment of the 1985 Commitment to Life benefit that was dedicated to Hudson.
Hudson was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea.
Following Hudson's funeral, Marc Christian sued Hudson's estate on grounds of "intentional infliction of emotional distress". Christian tested negative for HIV but claimed Hudson continued having sex with him until February 1985, more than eight months after Hudson knew he had HIV. Hudson biographer Sara Davidson later stated that, by the time she had met Hudson, Christian was living in the guest house, and Tom Clark, who had allegedly been Hudson's partner for many years before, was living in the house.
Following his death, Elizabeth Taylor, his co-star in the film Giant, purchased a bronze plaque for Hudson on the West Hollywood Memorial Walk.
Hudson has been the subject of three plays: Hollywood Valhalla by Aidan Harney, starring Patrick Byrnes as Rock and Stewart Roche as his personal trainer, Toby, which was staged at Bewley's Cafe Theatre, Dublin, Ireland, in 2011; "For Roy", by Nambi E. Kelley, starring Richard Henzel as Roy and Hannah Gomez as Caregiver, which was staged at American Theatre Company in Chicago in 2010 and Rock, by Tim Fountain, starring Michael Xavier as Rock and Bette Bourne as his agent Henry Willson, which was staged at London's Oval House Theatre in 2008.
In 2010, with the gag orders finally lifted from the 1985 lawsuit trial of Marc Christian versus the estate of Hudson, Robert Park Mills, the attorney who represented the Hudson estate against Christian in court, released a new 492 page book entitled Between Rock and a Hard Place-In Defense of Rock Hudson. In the book, Mills argues that the public was blinded from the real truth, the gross injustice done to the late actor by Christian and by Rock’s alleged friend, Mark Miller, as was the court, the jury, and the press. Mills argues that the jury overlooked the possibility Christian may have been AIDS-free simply because Hudson never had the relationship with Christian which Christian claimed to have had with him. According to this argument, if Hudson had had such a relationship, Christian would have had to have acquired HIV and AIDS if the repeated unprotected sexual activity claimed had taken place. Christian, who died in 2009 at age 56, never had HIV or AIDS.
Mills argues that Christian did not tell the truth to his attorney Harold Rhoden or in court, and that Hudson could not defend himself before the jurors because Christian waited until Rock died. Only when Christian found out he was not in the late actor's will did he bring his lawsuit, which won $5.5 million dollars from Hudson's estate (minus attorney's fees).
In the book Rock Hudson, Friend of Mine by his live-in Hollywood publicist Tom Clark, Clark said he would go to his grave believing Hudson acquired HIV from blood transfusions during his emergency quintuple bypass open heart surgery in 1981. Clark's book characterized Christian as "a criminal, a thief, an unclean person, a blackmailer, a psychotic, an extortionist, a forger, a perjurer, a liar, a whore, an arsonist and a squatter." Christian then sued Clark. Christian was living in the guest house after Clark, who had left in 1983, had returned to Hudson's home in 1985 to take care of him at assistant Mark Miller's request.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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