Rock Hudson, Hollywood’s closed heartthrob, was not born a movie star because he was carefully formed into one by his Svengali from an agent, Henry Willson. In “Outlaws,” the third episode of Ryan MurphyThe latest Netflix series, Hollywood the audience is attracted to this star-making saga. Jake Picking playing Hudson’s early career – having recently arrived in Hollywood as a careless Illinois native named Roy Scherer. Then Jim Parsons appeared on screen as Willson, the profane agent and predator who turned Hudson into one of the most bankable romantic Hollywood figures had seen.
Speak to Vanity Fair, Ryan Murphy explained what made the agent so ripe for TV maintenance. “Henry Willson is a fantastic and crazy character,” he said. “He is a total alcoholic. He drinks creme de menthe. He is involved in the mafia. He has dirt on all the people he is going to work on. And he will find these young people who almost all come from terrible house situations – with marriage a mess and a father who doesn’t exist – and makes them clients … He is a tortured gay man who preys on tortured gay men, he will be their manager and make them sexual services to him. Strangely, he is actually the manager which is fine.He is friends with everyone, so he can get clients in that room [power brokers]. “
6 ‘4’ Hudson fits well with Willson’s template: He is handsome, naive, and has been abandoned by his father as a child, with his mother going to remarry to a man whom Hudson hates. Seeing the potential at Hudson – Willson is famous for saying, “Acting can be added later” —Willson quickly took him as a client, reportedly slept with him, and refilled his name with his ready-marquee name.
“He feels that he knows what America wants to see in certain types of male stars,” said Jim Parsons Vanity Fair, “And he made it his mission to make sure they all fit the common print, including the names he made, such as Guy, Rock, and Tab” —i.e., Willson’s clients include Guy Madison, Tab Hunter, Chad Everett, Robert Wagner, Troy Donahue, Rory Calhoun and Yale Summers. “There is something very valuable about it … He sees them as commodities, and objects must be formed and formed from his own personal factory.”
If Willson’s client is a commodity, Hudson is his most valuable export. Willson – an East Coast transplant from a wealthy family – invested in a complete makeover process, personally paid to cover Hudson’s teeth, gave Hudson housing, bought him new clothes, and sent him to acting and vocal lessons. He taught Hudson how to cover up a superficial weakness that can’t be changed – how to smile so that it exposes less gum, for example. According to Willson biographer Robert Hofler, the agent also trained Hudson to drop his sissy behavior – slapping his client’s wrist every time they limped, hitting his hip every time they swayed, training him to sit and smoke in a more masculine way, and order him to speak in a lower voice ,.
“The real strange eye for straight men, Henry Willson gave heterosexual men the graces and socials needed to shine in better executive suites, night clubs and Bel Air houses in Hollywood,” Hofler wrote in his 2005 book, The Man Who Created Rock Hudson. “He is just as effective in teaching gay men how to cut it and graduate for women lovers on the big screen.”
Hudson’s career doesn’t take off instantly. This actor got a little part in the 1948 war film Combat Squadrons which requires Hudson to pass on two channels – the first: “You have to buy a bigger whiteboard.” Hudson thwarted the line so badly that it took 38 minutes before he did it right, a scene that was reorganized deeply Hollywood As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, Willson fabricated a shameless publicity act that year on the occasion of the Press Photographer Ball – the actor’s first meeting with the press. Willson made Hudson an Academy Award of that size for the event, instructing his client to wear gold pants and helping Hudson paint his body to match. Willson recruited a starving actress, Vera-Ellen, for a date like Hudson, wearing a gold bikini and body paint. The acrobat gathered the press in the newspaper Los Angeles examiner the next day, as Hofler wrote:
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