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SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE The definitive biography of the deeply complex and widely misunderstood matinee idol of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Devastatingly handsome, broad-shouldered and clean-cut, Rock Hudson was the ultimate movie star. The embodiment of romantic masculinity in American film throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, Hudson reigned supreme as the king of Hollywood. SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE The definitive biography of the deeply complex and widely misunderstood matinee idol of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Devastatingly handsome, broad-shouldered and clean-cut, Rock Hudson was the ultimate movie star. The embodiment of romantic masculinity in American film throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, Hudson reigned supreme as the king of Hollywood. As an Oscar-nominated leading man, Hudson won acclaim for his performances in glossy melodramas (Magnificent Obsession), western epics (Giant) and blockbuster bedroom farces (Pillow Talk). In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Hudson successfully transitioned to television; his long-running series McMillan & Wife and a recurring role on Dynasty introduced him to a whole new generation of fans. The icon worshipped by moviegoers and beloved by his colleagues appeared to have it all. Yet beneath the suave and commanding star persona, there was an insecure, deeply conflicted, and all too vulnerable human being. Growing up poor in Winnetka, Illinois, Hudson was abandoned by his biological father, abused by an alcoholic stepfather, and controlled by his domineering mother. Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Hudson was determined to become an actor at all costs. After signing with the powerful but predatory agent Henry Willson, the young hopeful was transformed from a clumsy, tongue-tied truck driver into Universal Studio’s resident Adonis. In a more conservative era, Hudson’s wholesome, straight arrow screen image was at odds with his closeted homosexuality. As a result of his gay relationships and clandestine affairs, Hudson was continually threatened with public exposure, not only by scandal sheets like Confidential but by a number of his own partners. For years, Hudson dodged questions concerning his private life, but in 1985 the public learned that the actor was battling AIDS. The disclosure that such a revered public figure had contracted the illness focused worldwide attention on the epidemic. Drawing on more than 100 interviews with co-stars, family members and former companions, All That Heaven Allows finally delivers a complete and nuanced portrait of one of the most fascinating stars in cinema history. Author Mark Griffin provides new details concerning Hudson’s troubled relationships with wife Phyllis Gates and boyfriend Marc Christian. And here, for the first time, is an in-depth exploration of Hudson’s classic films, including Written on the Wind, A Farewell to Arms, and the cult favorite Seconds. With unprecedented access to private journals, personal correspondence, and production files, Griffin pays homage to the idol whose life and death had a lasting impact on American culture.


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SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE The definitive biography of the deeply complex and widely misunderstood matinee idol of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Devastatingly handsome, broad-shouldered and clean-cut, Rock Hudson was the ultimate movie star. The embodiment of romantic masculinity in American film throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, Hudson reigned supreme as the king of Hollywood. SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE The definitive biography of the deeply complex and widely misunderstood matinee idol of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Devastatingly handsome, broad-shouldered and clean-cut, Rock Hudson was the ultimate movie star. The embodiment of romantic masculinity in American film throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, Hudson reigned supreme as the king of Hollywood. As an Oscar-nominated leading man, Hudson won acclaim for his performances in glossy melodramas (Magnificent Obsession), western epics (Giant) and blockbuster bedroom farces (Pillow Talk). In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Hudson successfully transitioned to television; his long-running series McMillan & Wife and a recurring role on Dynasty introduced him to a whole new generation of fans. The icon worshipped by moviegoers and beloved by his colleagues appeared to have it all. Yet beneath the suave and commanding star persona, there was an insecure, deeply conflicted, and all too vulnerable human being. Growing up poor in Winnetka, Illinois, Hudson was abandoned by his biological father, abused by an alcoholic stepfather, and controlled by his domineering mother. Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Hudson was determined to become an actor at all costs. After signing with the powerful but predatory agent Henry Willson, the young hopeful was transformed from a clumsy, tongue-tied truck driver into Universal Studio’s resident Adonis. In a more conservative era, Hudson’s wholesome, straight arrow screen image was at odds with his closeted homosexuality. As a result of his gay relationships and clandestine affairs, Hudson was continually threatened with public exposure, not only by scandal sheets like Confidential but by a number of his own partners. For years, Hudson dodged questions concerning his private life, but in 1985 the public learned that the actor was battling AIDS. The disclosure that such a revered public figure had contracted the illness focused worldwide attention on the epidemic. Drawing on more than 100 interviews with co-stars, family members and former companions, All That Heaven Allows finally delivers a complete and nuanced portrait of one of the most fascinating stars in cinema history. Author Mark Griffin provides new details concerning Hudson’s troubled relationships with wife Phyllis Gates and boyfriend Marc Christian. And here, for the first time, is an in-depth exploration of Hudson’s classic films, including Written on the Wind, A Farewell to Arms, and the cult favorite Seconds. With unprecedented access to private journals, personal correspondence, and production files, Griffin pays homage to the idol whose life and death had a lasting impact on American culture.

30 review for All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson

  1. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    "Someone asked me once what my philosophy of life was, and I said some crazy thing. I should have said 'What the hell do I know?'" -- Rock Hudson Although he was the first to admit he was more 'movie star' than accomplished actor, there was a good fifteen-year or so stretch from the 50's into the 60's where Rock Hudson was the undisputed king of America's silver-screen A-list. Few other men in Hollywood could make the shift between the common genres - dramas (Magnificent Obsession), sprawling epi "Someone asked me once what my philosophy of life was, and I said some crazy thing. I should have said 'What the hell do I know?'" -- Rock Hudson Although he was the first to admit he was more 'movie star' than accomplished actor, there was a good fifteen-year or so stretch from the 50's into the 60's where Rock Hudson was the undisputed king of America's silver-screen A-list. Few other men in Hollywood could make the shift between the common genres - dramas (Magnificent Obsession), sprawling epics (Giant), war (Ice Station Zebra), westerns (The Undefeated), and romantic comedies (Pillow Talk) - with such ease while still earning good reviews and box office success. When his days as a leading man in film waned he jumped to television - in a complete reversal of the norm at the time - and then headlined his own show (the popular crime series McMillan & Wife) and subsequently appeared in several miniseries and/or guest-starring roles during the 70's and 80's. Many co-stars - ranging from the big names like Elizabeth Taylor or Carol Burnett, to even the generally-unknown performers in bit parts - often fondly remember him as a friendly, self-deprecating, and charitable type of 'team player' on and off the set. Yet of course it is now known that Hudson hid his sexual orientation from the public up until his then-shocking AIDS-related death in October 1985, as it was sadly unthinkable during the prime of his career that a gay man would / could be accepted as a mainstream performer. Though it was an open secret in the show business community, he unfortunately often lived in fear of being 'outed' by either the press or former boyfriends. (Although there is an unexpectedly surprising moment when co-star John Wayne, known for his staunchly conservative viewpoint, is quoted "It never bothered me. Life's too short. Who the hell cares if he's queer? The man plays [a great game of] chess.") Griffin's All That Heaven Allows - this title alludes to one of Hudson's earliest movie hits - was a comprehensive biography of the man's personal and career life. From his early decades of growing up during the Great Depression in a single-parent household in the Midwest, to his storied years when reigning big in Hollywood, the author does a great job of covering many aspects in full detail.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Russell J. Sanders

    I’ve read hundreds of celebrity biographies. Many’s the time I’ve been disappointed because the author skipped over or treated lightly the one movie or play the subject wrote or starred in that was my favorite, and I craved to know more. Biographer Mark Griffin, with All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson, cannot be accused of leaving anything out. Meticulously, he makes sure we know of each and every performance Hudson ever gave, complete with some anecdotes and critical appraisals. I’ve read hundreds of celebrity biographies. Many’s the time I’ve been disappointed because the author skipped over or treated lightly the one movie or play the subject wrote or starred in that was my favorite, and I craved to know more. Biographer Mark Griffin, with All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson, cannot be accused of leaving anything out. Meticulously, he makes sure we know of each and every performance Hudson ever gave, complete with some anecdotes and critical appraisals. And yet I wasn’t satisfied with all this. Using hundreds of articles and interviews, Griffin pieced together a look at this Hollywood icon who became the face of AIDS. He tries to show the double life Hudson lived, his motivations, his triumphs, his heartaches. We meet each one of Hudson’s lovers and are told what we need to know to decide whether we like them or not. We’re introduced to Hudson’s friends, many of them superstars—among them Claire Trevor, Doris Day, Carol Burnett, and of course, Elizabeth Taylor who loved him dearly—and we are supposed to feel their anguish and joy at having known this man. In short, we are supposed to finish this over 400 page book and come away with a complete understanding of a conflicted soul and actually feel for him. I did not. Despite all this, Griffin never let me get under the skin of Rock Hudson, the movie star, the gay man, the friend, the son. I feel I understand Hudson’s motivations, but I don’t know the man. And good biography is supposed to bring the reader to an emotional connection. For me, there was none.

  3. 4 out of 5

    W.

    Once Upon A Time in Hollywood 50-70 years ago All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson by Mark Griffin is a detailed , comprehensive , layered and well researched of once upon a time in Hollywood of 50-70 years ago and how Roy Fitzgerald a 22 years old from Winnetka, Illinois, became Rock Hudson the icon , the movie star , the lover , the face of Aids and so many more roles for millions of people around the world. I enjoyed reading this biography . In a time when we have the Me Too movem Once Upon A Time in Hollywood 50-70 years ago All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson by Mark Griffin is a detailed , comprehensive , layered and well researched of once upon a time in Hollywood of 50-70 years ago and how Roy Fitzgerald a 22 years old from Winnetka, Illinois, became Rock Hudson the icon , the movie star , the lover , the face of Aids and so many more roles for millions of people around the world. I enjoyed reading this biography . In a time when we have the Me Too movement and all more and more people are openly talking about discrimination and abuse ; reading Rock Hudson is a reminder that you really do not know , what is going on in someone's life and heart , unless you are in their shoes. Invasive , sad , long 400 pages , charming , tragic , informative , and real describe this book . I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Ritchie

    (Between 3-1/2 and 4 stars) This is probably as complete and objective abiography of Hudson as we're likely to get. The author has certainly done his research--this is not one of those celebrity bios that is mostly made up of magazine quotes and PR puff pieces. He seems to have talked to almost everyone who knew Hudson well who is still alive, and he manages to get a lot of interesting tidbits without coming off as gossipy or sleazy. Griffin is also very good about coverage of Hudson's movie, an (Between 3-1/2 and 4 stars) This is probably as complete and objective abiography of Hudson as we're likely to get. The author has certainly done his research--this is not one of those celebrity bios that is mostly made up of magazine quotes and PR puff pieces. He seems to have talked to almost everyone who knew Hudson well who is still alive, and he manages to get a lot of interesting tidbits without coming off as gossipy or sleazy. Griffin is also very good about coverage of Hudson's movie, and he comes closer than anyone else on getting a window on Hudson's inner life. But the book is not very well written--sentence fragments and repetitive sentence structures abound. He also presents (not surprisingly, given the various agendas folks had) contradictory information about Hudson that he doesn't try to hash out. For example, he has a section on the friendship between Phyllis Gates (who was married to Hudson for a few years in what seems to have been a "beard" relationship) and Hudson's lover Jack Navaar--they took a long road trip and even hit a gay bar together--and yet he also presents Gates' testimony that she had no idea that Hudson was gay when she married him. That seems unlikely, but Griffin never really tries to figure out the truth. He does this a few other times too, just laying out contradictory stories without judging them. Still, I would recommend this to fans of Hudson, or fans of 50s movies.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Debra Belmudes

    So interesting and yet, so heart breaking. I'll always remember Rock Hudson as 'Brad Allen' in Pillow Talk with Doris Day. I find it amazing, though not surprising, to learn of the many hurdles stars face and overcome to achieve their fame ... and many times, it comes at a very dear price.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This certainly has the feel of a comprehensive biography. It isn't quite as salacious as some I have read, and if anything was a little staid. There are interviews with several new sources (not that they had a huge amount to add), a good selection of photographs, and a reasonable look at Rock Hudson's many films. I did feel the time-lines were a bit confusing, especially in the 1970s when we were taken backwards and forwards depending on whether the author was writing about relationships or film This certainly has the feel of a comprehensive biography. It isn't quite as salacious as some I have read, and if anything was a little staid. There are interviews with several new sources (not that they had a huge amount to add), a good selection of photographs, and a reasonable look at Rock Hudson's many films. I did feel the time-lines were a bit confusing, especially in the 1970s when we were taken backwards and forwards depending on whether the author was writing about relationships or filming, but that is only a minor criticism. I can't say I went away having discovered much that was new, but if anyone wants an in-depth look at his life then this is probably going to be the book to go for (especially as a lot of the important people in his life have passed on now).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Since Rock Hudson's death from AIDS in 1985, there have been numerous books about him published (including his own posthumous as-told-to autobiography). But Mark Griffin's intimate, engaging and superbly researched ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS is by far the definitive biography Rock Hudson and his fans deserve. After a stint in the navy, the Illinois-born aspiring actor moved to Los Angeles. Talent scout Henry Wilson seduced him, added him as a client and changed his name from Roy Fitzgerald to Rock Hu Since Rock Hudson's death from AIDS in 1985, there have been numerous books about him published (including his own posthumous as-told-to autobiography). But Mark Griffin's intimate, engaging and superbly researched ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS is by far the definitive biography Rock Hudson and his fans deserve. After a stint in the navy, the Illinois-born aspiring actor moved to Los Angeles. Talent scout Henry Wilson seduced him, added him as a client and changed his name from Roy Fitzgerald to Rock Hudson. Just seven years after his film debut, he earned a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for GIANT in 1956. From 1957 to 1964, Hudson was ranked among the top five U.S. box office draws. Hudson's homosexuality was an open secret within Hollywood for decades, but it's surprising to find out just how open he was (after a brief arranged marriage). He lived with numerous men over the years and was remarkably forthright about surrounding himself with gay friends and visiting gay bars and sex clubs. Griffin ("A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli") interviewed Hudson's costars, family members, former boyfriends and close friends (who also gave him access to diaries and unpublished memoirs). This chorus of insiders widens the biography's scope and paints a vivid, empathic and fascinating portrait of Hudson's private life, alcoholism and workaholic nature. Rock Hudson was a complex man who nurtured friendships for decades but briskly dissolved romantic relationships. Griffin offers an unforgettable, richly nuanced and psychologically intriguing portrait of a gay film star who survived within and outside the confines of his oppressive times and didn't lead a tortured life. A complex, intimate and engaging portrait of Rock Hudson, his prolific film career, decades-long friendships and numerous gay relationships.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    A Superb Biography! Rock Hudson was a star who was very popular. I grew up watching him in Pillow Talk and McMillian and Wife. Loved him in a way. This is a beautifully written biography that kept me riveted while reading it. The first few pages seemed dull, but then I couldn't put it down. Rock Hudson was active in his inner life and in working on movie and TV sets, but passive in managing his career by letting more knowledgeable people run it by extracting sex from him or getting sex from othe A Superb Biography! Rock Hudson was a star who was very popular. I grew up watching him in Pillow Talk and McMillian and Wife. Loved him in a way. This is a beautifully written biography that kept me riveted while reading it. The first few pages seemed dull, but then I couldn't put it down. Rock Hudson was active in his inner life and in working on movie and TV sets, but passive in managing his career by letting more knowledgeable people run it by extracting sex from him or getting sex from others. He made a lot of good women friends whose stories touched me more by learning about them. Elizabeth Taylor and Claire Trevor were wonderful to him. The guys seemed a bit manipulative and with all the kids in their lives, no wonder. I can't recommend this book enough, it's great!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mediaman

    This lame book skips through Rock Hudson's life and work with all sorts of unsupported gossip and mishandled information. Almost all of it covers material found in other books about Hudson, the footnote section is huge because most of the material is borrowed from elsewhere, and none of what is written is satisfying. In 400 pages I learned only 3 or 4 things I hadn't heard before, and some of what I know was misstated here. The author should have avoid the gossip that he couldn't prove and dumpe This lame book skips through Rock Hudson's life and work with all sorts of unsupported gossip and mishandled information. Almost all of it covers material found in other books about Hudson, the footnote section is huge because most of the material is borrowed from elsewhere, and none of what is written is satisfying. In 400 pages I learned only 3 or 4 things I hadn't heard before, and some of what I know was misstated here. The author should have avoid the gossip that he couldn't prove and dumped the lame critical comments on Hudson's film work. Some of the movies he slams here are actually pretty good, and others that he praises are really pretty weak (Come September, seriously?). So whether it's about the man's life or his work, the writer does an unsuccessful job providing any new information or perspective. Skip this one--there are better books about Hudson out there.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This was a long biography. The interesting parts for me were the personal ones from childhood to death.It was new to me that he suffered such abuse and neglect as a child. I have to admit that the private parts also made me feel like a voyeur. I sometimes have a bad feeling with reading biographies that were in no way approved by the actual person. It seems invasive and interpreted by the author and whoever the author speaks to for their research. Friends and family are also not the most reliabl This was a long biography. The interesting parts for me were the personal ones from childhood to death.It was new to me that he suffered such abuse and neglect as a child. I have to admit that the private parts also made me feel like a voyeur. I sometimes have a bad feeling with reading biographies that were in no way approved by the actual person. It seems invasive and interpreted by the author and whoever the author speaks to for their research. Friends and family are also not the most reliable of sources. I also wonder who gave permission to go through personal correspondence, etc. Having said all that, most was well written and interesting. I did come away feeling as though I knew more of the man than Pillow Talk and AIDS. He did deserve more than that. A lot of the book was dry in that it felt like it was a listing of every movie and Tv show he had ever acted in. That got stale. All in all, this was an average biography. Thanks to Netgalley, the author Mark Griffin and Bookbuzz

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lee Anne

    I tend to think of Rock Hudson as a wooden actor, although he is great in two of my all-time favorite movies, Giant and Pillow Talk. This didn't necessarily change that opinion, but it did give me a greater appreciation for him as a person. I'd always imagined him as somewhat of a humorless, "tortured soul" type, conflicted about his sexuality, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that he was really a happy-go-lucky, good time guy, hosting boy toy pool parties, and being about as out as an acto I tend to think of Rock Hudson as a wooden actor, although he is great in two of my all-time favorite movies, Giant and Pillow Talk. This didn't necessarily change that opinion, but it did give me a greater appreciation for him as a person. I'd always imagined him as somewhat of a humorless, "tortured soul" type, conflicted about his sexuality, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that he was really a happy-go-lucky, good time guy, hosting boy toy pool parties, and being about as out as an actor could be in his era, even with a sham marriage. God rest his soul.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Mark Griffin has successfully created the perfect book for Rock Hudson fans. An interesting biography which draws from personal journals to 100's of interviews with the people who knew him best: family members, friends, co-stars, even his wife Phyllis Gates and boyfriend Marc Christian. Covers Rock's lifetime, from an impoverished, abused child in Illinois to the hottest sex symbol in Hollywood. Mark Griffin has successfully achieved writing a complete biography, reference and filmography for al Mark Griffin has successfully created the perfect book for Rock Hudson fans. An interesting biography which draws from personal journals to 100's of interviews with the people who knew him best: family members, friends, co-stars, even his wife Phyllis Gates and boyfriend Marc Christian. Covers Rock's lifetime, from an impoverished, abused child in Illinois to the hottest sex symbol in Hollywood. Mark Griffin has successfully achieved writing a complete biography, reference and filmography for all the films Rock Hudson starred in, in his illustrious movie career. This book is soon to be a major motion picture. This is my honest, uncompensated review. Thank you Harper publishing and NetGalley for providing a review copy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    For me, this was a real page turner. A lot of it I had already read in other places but the author gave more details. I loved Rock Hudson when he acted with Doris Day, those movies are go-to feel-good movies for some of my friends and I. So this book made me feel so sad for Rock, having to live a lie most of his life. He sounds like he was a really nice guy. And Elizabeth Taylor was a super friend to a lot of people, who would have thought!? I gave it only four stars because I really would have For me, this was a real page turner. A lot of it I had already read in other places but the author gave more details. I loved Rock Hudson when he acted with Doris Day, those movies are go-to feel-good movies for some of my friends and I. So this book made me feel so sad for Rock, having to live a lie most of his life. He sounds like he was a really nice guy. And Elizabeth Taylor was a super friend to a lot of people, who would have thought!? I gave it only four stars because I really would have loved to see more photos.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chaz

    Would give this an extra half star if I could. Really a very interesting and engaging book, and seems to treat Hudson fairly, swirling together the good and the bad. As interesting as Hudson is the Hollywood scene swirling around him and the studio system that treated actors like chattel and an environment of sexual abuse and impropriety that is only just now coming to light. Most interesting of all perhaps was that Hudson was both an abuse victim and perpetrator, although he likely would not hav Would give this an extra half star if I could. Really a very interesting and engaging book, and seems to treat Hudson fairly, swirling together the good and the bad. As interesting as Hudson is the Hollywood scene swirling around him and the studio system that treated actors like chattel and an environment of sexual abuse and impropriety that is only just now coming to light. Most interesting of all perhaps was that Hudson was both an abuse victim and perpetrator, although he likely would not have seen it that way I suppose. Worthy read and highly recommended.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ron Popp

    It’s an ok bio. I feel like I learned more about his filmography and his friends than I did about him,however.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This wasn't bad but it felt very much an 'IMDB' bio. He did this movie (a couple of pages), then he did that movie (a couple of pages), etc. It's hard but because he WAS so secretive there isn't a lot from him (or others) particularly pre-80's about his personal life, so he just becomes a cipher. And bizarrely not just romantic relationships but it seemed he formed really close female friendships that lasted his whole life (e.g., Liz Taylor, Doris Day) but what their kinship was above and beyond This wasn't bad but it felt very much an 'IMDB' bio. He did this movie (a couple of pages), then he did that movie (a couple of pages), etc. It's hard but because he WAS so secretive there isn't a lot from him (or others) particularly pre-80's about his personal life, so he just becomes a cipher. And bizarrely not just romantic relationships but it seemed he formed really close female friendships that lasted his whole life (e.g., Liz Taylor, Doris Day) but what their kinship was above and beyond being co-workers and famous wasn't clear. And there are just conflicting statements--he's smart, he's dumb, he's funny, he's dull. I read this whole thing and I don't really have a sense of who he was except someone who tried very, very hard to be a star, an actor, and liked and who, in the end, seemed exhausted and unhappy by the effort.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Traci Haley

    A fun romp through old Hollywood, featuring my favorite actor! This book was enough to make me set off on an epic Rock Hudson movie binge. I wish he could have lived to see how movies and TV evolved... And how lgbtq rights evolved, as well. We still have work to do, but this certainly highlights the progress we've made.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    3 1/2 stars. Rock’s life was so incredibly complex and sad, with his constant need to and compulsion to hide his true nature. One cannot help but think how he could’ve flourished more, as his authentic self, if he’d only been born a few decades later.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robert Swanson

    Very well written. Coming so many years after his death, this look at his life is well researched and doesn't engage in rumour or salacious details. It paints a picture of a truly talented and conflicted man through interviews and well documented data.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Angela Sanford

    Author Mark Griffin has written an amazing Autobiography about one of my favorite actors. Touching on all of the important facts about the life of Rock Hudson, Griffin does not leave any important facts unexposed. I highly recommend this Autobiography to all of the fans of Rock Hudson!

  21. 5 out of 5

    John

    Solidity into a Rock Overshadowing his clay feet ♡◇♡◇♡

  22. 4 out of 5

    Josiah Hatfield

    Rock Hudson clearly lived a fascinating life navigating old Hollywood as a closeted gay man who, at the same time, enjoyed his wealth and fame alongside a string of boyfriends. The book itself is well-researched though reads like a Wikipedia entry, chronicling the basic components and set-vibes of the many movies Rock starred in. I hoped to get a little richer picture of his personality and character but was left wanting in that end.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    Good book lots of career info, I’ve read a bio by Sarah something that was more homelife stuff. He was so secretive and in the closet, yet so out there i. The gay community. He was a user and he was used. I feel like he lead a sad happy life.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS does not hold back any punches. Those wishing to gain a greater understanding of Rock Hudson need look no further for insight regarding his tumultuous childhood, expansive career and controversial private life. Author Mark Griffin has certainly done his research, as we get an exhaustive insider’s look at the legendary actor and his journey in achieving the American Dream during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Hudson was born and raised in the picturesque town of Winnetka, Illi ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS does not hold back any punches. Those wishing to gain a greater understanding of Rock Hudson need look no further for insight regarding his tumultuous childhood, expansive career and controversial private life. Author Mark Griffin has certainly done his research, as we get an exhaustive insider’s look at the legendary actor and his journey in achieving the American Dream during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Hudson was born and raised in the picturesque town of Winnetka, Illinois, to a working class family. His parents --- Roy Scherer and Katherine Wood --- married a month after he was conceived, and rumor had it that Roy was not his biological father, but pictures revealing their resemblance might convince you otherwise. The birth of Hudson, born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr, was not an easy one. After hearing him squall with his first breath, his aunt --- a nurse who helped deliver him --- said she knew that he’d always be heard the rest of his life. And so it was. Hudson’s youth is important when considering the course that history took. Apart from being an overbearing mother, Kay told her son that he ruined her body during childbirth, and he felt extreme guilt for it. Furthermore, during the Great Depression, Roy lost his job. Feeling useless, he abandoned his family and moved to the West Coast for better opportunities. However, family gossip had it that Hudson was the real reason his father left. Supposedly, Kay was too doting, ignoring her husband. Or was it the rumor that Hudson was not his biological child? Maybe all of this guilt was the reason that Hudson --- after discovering his favorite actors on the movie screen in town --- became determined to one day make a splash up there, bigger and better than anyone who had preceded him. Perhaps he wanted to be heard. Yet Hudson would have to hide his true self for most of his life. After joining the armed forces, he decided to pursue acting and moved to Los Angeles. At first, he lived with his father, stepmother and adopted sister. When that didn’t work out, he got a job driving trucks to make ends meet. Sometimes he would stand outside of MGM’s gates hoping to be noticed. He was certainly not unaware of his good looks. Soon enough, he started dating broadcasting professional Kenneth Hodge, a sophisticated older man. Hodge took Hudson under his wing, molding him to become more refined and hosting parties in the hopes of introducing him to the right people. It was at one of these extravagant bashes that Hudson met his future agent, and the man who brought him out of obscurity --- the infamous Henry Willson --- but it did not come without a price. Even though Willson was one of Hollywood's top agents during that time, people described him as “repugnant” and “like the slime that oozed out from under a rock you did not want to turn over.” Willson learned from his mentor David O. Selznick --- the producer of Gone with the Wind --- how to prey on hungry actors, trading film parts for sexual favors. Hudson and Willson’s relationship was both physical and professional. They used one another to climb the Hollywood ladder. Initially, though, as an untrained actor, Hudson struggled. He was almost fired by a major studio, and froze, not able to say a coherent word during the filming of his first movie. Still, Willson knew a money ticket when he saw one and did not give up. The shrewd agent was on to something, and Hudson became known as one of the greatest actors of all time. Even though Hudson graced the pages of celebrity magazines thanks to his captivating looks, critics were not always kind to him and his films, and he had trouble getting good roles. The 1956 movie Giant changed all that, earning Hudson an Oscar nomination, but his career still had its ups and downs. Audiences adored Hudson, but they wanted to know why he wasn’t married. Willson paid big money, and even threatened a few gossip columnists, so they would not publish articles revealing that Hudson was gay. If so, his career would be ruined as production companies would not hire him. He was constantly in the public eye, but the information revealed in magazines aimed to hide the truth. Publications showed him with beautiful actresses on his arm, saying they were girlfriends when they were just friends. Many of his public appearances with women were set-ups by Willson. ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS reveals the truth about how celebrity gossip is manipulated by publicists, making us question what we know regarding celebrities today. Soon enough, the general public became so concerned with Hudson being a bachelor that he was coerced into marrying Willson’s secretary, Phyllis Gates, who later wrote a tell-all memoir bashing him, but her motives and stories are up for debate. Insiders said she did know Hudson was gay, and that she was a lesbian. While filming various movies such as Pillow Talk and Giant, Hudson became great friends with Doris Day and Elizabeth Taylor. Mostly everyone he worked with adored him, saying he was generous, hilarious and kind. He helped everyone he could, and at one point wanted to adopt an orphan girl from Paris he met while on location. When told he could not, he donated a large sum of money to her school in the hopes of bettering her life. Among Hudson’s boyfriends were Jack Coates and Tom Clark, who were loved by his friends. His latest relationship, however, turned out to be extremely volatile. Hudson fell for the much younger and also secretive Marc Christian due to his good looks and bright blond hair. But eventually he wanted nothing to do with the man, as he was extremely manipulative and ended up suing his estate. Rock Hudson is noted as being one of the most influential AIDS patients ever. President Ronald Reagan, who sort of ignored the epidemic, changed his tune when he realized that Hudson, one of his friends, was sick. Due to his role in raising awareness for AIDS, a great deal of money was donated for research and to help care for those who were ill. A Christian woman once told Hudson that he had an important ministry to fulfill, one that would be bigger than all of his movies. And as he wrote in a statement read by Burt Lancaster at AIDS Project Los Angeles in 1985, "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." Reviewed by Bianca Ambrosio

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    "Life's too short. Who the hell cares if he's queer? The man plays great chess." John Wayne on Rock Hudson Was Rock Hudson perfection itself? In so many ways. I have loved him ever since I can remember. I saw Giant when I was young, and though I knew James Dean was supposed to be the one, I could not take my eyes off of Hudson, who in that and almost all his films, exuded a sort of sincere pain which never turned on you, but instead brought you in closer. He made you look at it, turn it over in y "Life's too short. Who the hell cares if he's queer? The man plays great chess." John Wayne on Rock Hudson Was Rock Hudson perfection itself? In so many ways. I have loved him ever since I can remember. I saw Giant when I was young, and though I knew James Dean was supposed to be the one, I could not take my eyes off of Hudson, who in that and almost all his films, exuded a sort of sincere pain which never turned on you, but instead brought you in closer. He made you look at it, turn it over in your hands and face it dead on. His smile was quick and large, and even though he played manly men, you just knew he was a goof with a big heart cast by Hollywood in roles he quietly subverted. One of my favourite images from this book is of him being the confidante of both Marilyn Monroe and Just Garland, both of whom called him late at night for comfort and commiseration. I will always love Rock Hudson, and now I know it is with good reason. He was a good man. That being said, this book deals mainly with his body of work, and does so thoroughly. I wish I could hear more about the man himself...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ammy

    Biography of Rock Hudson. I love this era in Hollywood and I always enjoyed the Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies. This was an in-depth, respectful rather than salacious, exploration into Hudson’s life. It is mind boggling that he lived such a dual life and managed to keep it under wraps from the general public in such a conservative time period. What’s apparent is that while he may have been a major star, he was down to earth and admired and liked by many behind the scene non-celebrities (crew and l Biography of Rock Hudson. I love this era in Hollywood and I always enjoyed the Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies. This was an in-depth, respectful rather than salacious, exploration into Hudson’s life. It is mind boggling that he lived such a dual life and managed to keep it under wraps from the general public in such a conservative time period. What’s apparent is that while he may have been a major star, he was down to earth and admired and liked by many behind the scene non-celebrities (crew and lesser known co-stars). 2019(1)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susannah

    Try as he might, author Mark Griffin doesn’t provide any new insights into Rock Hudson in this new biography. He simultaneously picks up many of the details of Robert Hofler’s salacious biography of Hudson’s slimy agent, Henry Willson; glances off the actual relationships Hudson had (all the while calling his romantic partners “longtime companions” rather than boyfriends, lovers or, you know, partners, which was a bit WTF given that it’s 2019); and gives short shrift to Hudson’s professional car Try as he might, author Mark Griffin doesn’t provide any new insights into Rock Hudson in this new biography. He simultaneously picks up many of the details of Robert Hofler’s salacious biography of Hudson’s slimy agent, Henry Willson; glances off the actual relationships Hudson had (all the while calling his romantic partners “longtime companions” rather than boyfriends, lovers or, you know, partners, which was a bit WTF given that it’s 2019); and gives short shrift to Hudson’s professional career in movies and TV. At almost 500 pages, I expected better. Much better.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Torday

    Although parts of the book was interesting there was too much of this person said this or that and how he got or didn't get a part along with the plot of the movie. Just too much for me and no real feeling of the kind of person Rock Hudson was when not acting.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Thorough but definite slant towards acting career and historical location of the films he was in - would have liked to see even more about his personal life but still really good

  30. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    My biggest takeaway was that Rock was a big goofy kid who liked to laugh, no matter how successful or famous he became. I love him for this. Although Rock is a touchstone in gay history for being the most famous AIDS victim, he should also be recognized for being as out as a movie star could possibly be at that time, and at his level of stardom. He often sounds as though he lived a fairly authentic life, unaffected by a personal closet, even if he needed to stay in a public closet. The fact that My biggest takeaway was that Rock was a big goofy kid who liked to laugh, no matter how successful or famous he became. I love him for this. Although Rock is a touchstone in gay history for being the most famous AIDS victim, he should also be recognized for being as out as a movie star could possibly be at that time, and at his level of stardom. He often sounds as though he lived a fairly authentic life, unaffected by a personal closet, even if he needed to stay in a public closet. The fact that so many of his films deal with the contradiction of his life, that of a strapping heterosexual love interest played by a known homosexual, proves that Hollywood is able to navigate the line between fact and fiction to great creative and financial success, and in today’s industry should not be afraid to cast openly gay men in whatever roles happen to suit them. It is sad to think that it was such a taboo subject at that time that even away on a film location, two known homosexuals like Hudson and Joel Grey could have dinner together without ever bringing it up. Three stories I had not known: the extent to which Confidential magazine wanted to get the dirt on Hudson, his involvement with the Kentucky Wildcats college football team, and Rock’s somehow being responsible for Lee Majors’ career, followed by a cold shoulder from Majors when Rock was sick. I was surprised to learn that he had been friends with Armistead Maupin, had maybe considered writing a coming out autobiography with him, and celebrated the first chapter of “Tales of the City” being published by performing it amongst their close friends at the Fairmont Hotel. I’m a big fan of his films, especially “Giant” and Douglas Sirk’s, but I never thought of myself as a huge fan of the actor. It was nice reading in this book how hard he tried to be a good actor, and which parts were easy and which were difficult in pursuing his craft. It was interesting to read about the many choices he had to make to keep his career going, and the times when he took chances and the later times when he was taking what he could get. I loved the relationships he had with female co-stars, like the almost convincing, almost romance with Vera-Ellen, his fun collaboration with Doris Day, or his lifelong friendship with Liz Taylor (who thought to lure the press away after his funeral so the rest of his people could scatter his ashes in private).

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