Tab Hunter, Star of Damn Yankees!, Dead at 86

  • Tab Hunter, Star of Damn Yankees!, Dead at 86

Tab Hunter, Star of Damn Yankees!, Dead at 86

The actor, best known as a 50's pin-up boy, died on the weekend after collapsing at home.

As the counter-culture gathered steam in the 1960s, Hunter's clean-cut appeal dropped from favour, though he did appear in small roles in films such as Evelyn Waugh satire The Loved One (1965), spaghetti western Vengeance is My Forgiveness (1968), the Roger Corman produced thriller Sweet Kill (1972), and Paul Newman western The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972).

Hunter began his career as a young actor of unlimited good looks but decidedly limited talent.

In the press, Hunter was linked to famous stars like Natalie Wood and Debbie Reynolds during his heyday.

Hunter was born on July 11, 1031 as Arthur Kelm in New York City, but grew up in California with his mother, brother and maternal grandparents.

Tab Hunter's headshot, circa 1955.

Hunter made a flurry of movies in the latter half of the 1950s aimed at capitalizing on his popularity with young girls.

The actor came fully clean in his autobiography and confessed to a relationship with "Psycho" star Anthony Perkins.

His private life - specifically, an arrest in 1950 for disorderly conduct - was also bartered by Willson (along with another story, about actor Rory Calhoun's prison record) to the tabloid magazine Confidential in exchange for the scuttling of another story, about Rock Hudson's homosexuality.

Writing the book was hard, he told The Associated Press in 2005, "because I'm a really private person". "The dilemma, of course, was that being true to myself, and I'm talking sexually now, was impossible in 1953".

Tab Hunter, the blond teenage heartthrob in the 1950s who made his name with such films as "Battle Cry" and "Damn Yankees!", has died at age 86. In addition to his hit movies, he tried his hand at singing and his recording of "Young Love" shot to No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart in 1957. Polyester, directed by John Waters, was released in 1981. The film had originally been a Broadway show, but Hunter was the only one in the film version who had not appeared in the original cast.

Hunter was prompted to go public about his sexuality after his partner of more than 30 years, Allan Glaser, told him someone was writing a tell-all book about Hunter.

Glaser also told the Times that Hunter was a religious man who worked with paralyzed veterans and animals. And it was not what people, you know, perceived.