Sorry to hear of the death of TAB HUNTER on July 8th, 2018 , aged 86.
Tab’s career was on an upward trajectory through the 1950s , but when he bought out his contract with Warner Brothers , the good parts just disappeared.
Tab was a star from his second film, SATURDAY ISLAND(1952) aka “Island of Desire”, in which his costar was Linda Darnell. Warners marketed him as a ‘teen idol’, he was on the cover of many film magazines and even had a number one record with ‘Young Love’ in 1957.
Tab had his own TV show, “The Tab Hunter Show” which ran for one season in 1960.
Tab’s role as the hot headed son of Van Heflin in “Gunman’s Walk” was a change from his previous roles, but after leaving Warner Brothers, no other studio took him on. Which is surprising since other studios borrowed him from Warners several times in the 50s.
Tab and Natalie Wood made two films, THE BURNING HILLS and THE GIRL HE LEFT BEHIND, both in 1956 and were often seen together on the town.
When the film offers dried up, Tab did a lot of stage plays on the so called ‘Dinner circuit’.
He had some renewed success in the 1980s, costarring with drag queen Divine in “Polyester” and western spoof, “Lust in the Dust”.
Tab loved horses from a young age and became a champion jumper and judge at horse shows.
He was also a figure skater and starred in a TV movie,”Hans Brinker” in 1958.
Being gay in the 1950s was something stars had to keep secret. It could be career-ending.
Tab had a relationship with Anthony Perkins for a couple of years.
Tab got good reviews for a live TV production of “Fears Strikes Out” and he hoped Warner Brothers would buy the film rights for him. Instead, Paramount made the film and starred his friend, Anthony Perkins.
As of 2018, a film ,provisionally called “Tab and Tony” , is in development for Paramount .
Tab and his partner of 30 years, Allan Glaser who produced the recent documentary, TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL.
Tab found happiness in his later years, living on his ranch and looking after his horses.
Thank you for all of the film (and recording and theater!) memorabilia related to Tab and his career. I am glad he ended up living happily with his horses and partner for many years. i read a book earlier this year about a somewhat infamous talent agent who helped find, name, and nurture a bunch of handsome young Hollywood actors — some of whom (like Tab and Rock) became quite successful and others who did not. This book certainly highlighted the challenges of being gay or bisexual during this time period in the film community — and how if one shifted one’s loyalty away from one’s agent, one could end up being thrown under the bus (which is partly what happened to Tab if I am remembering correctly…) May he rest in peace!!!
I think Tab had shown his acting talent and should have done much better in the 60s and 70s. Living two lives, private and public, can’t have been easy.
Tab made a film in England which was never released. It was called Troubled Waters (1964) and co starred that fine actress Zena Walker. He mentions it in his book.
Saw a clip on You Tube. It was on TV in 1970s.
Thanks for the info. I had no idea that it had been released in America under another title.
Tab would still be a good name in 1964 so I wonder why the film was shelved in Britain.
It was one of a series of crime and mystery films co produced by B king Robert Lippert.
The pictures were released by 20th and a number of the actors owed the studio a film under old contracts. Richard Conte. Brian Donlevy, Dan Duryea, Hugh Marlowe etc., All filmed here.
I had forgotten about the Lippert connection. And, as you say, so many US names came over here in the 50s.