Rock Hudson is one of the most famous gay leading men of the classic Hollywood era. But while he was alive, he never felt like it was necessary for him to come out.
According to director Stephen Kijak, who made the new documentary Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed, says that Hudson never came out because of the privilege that he had.
“He’s a big, strapping, tall, cis, white male who’s a famous movie star with a lot of money,“ Kijak said to Page Six. “Why come out?”
He also said that because of that attitude, Hudson didn’t use his power to help other LGBTQ+ in his time.
“That’s the downside of these kinds of privileged, apolitical cays within the system,” he said. “Instead of using their privilege and their position for real social change, they just said, ‘What’s the point?’”
“If we’re going to criticize him for anything,” he continued, “It’s not taking a moment to realize that there could be some benefit to that.”
Hudson starred in movies like All That Heaven Allows, Giant (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), Pillow Talk, and Send Me No Flowers. He also starred in the hit TV series McMillan & Wife in the 1970s. If he had come out, he most likely would have lost all of that.
While there had been rumors about his sexuality for years, Hudson never came out as gay, although he did become the first major celebrity to disclose an AIDS diagnosis, from which he would eventually die in 1985.
Hudson was reluctant to share the diagnosis, but after he did, he helped change the conversation around the disease.
“Finally there was a famous face to the disease that could get people to wake up and really start taking it seriously,” Kijak says.
Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed is currently streaming on Max.