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The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson

The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson

2014
Author:

Robert Hofler

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson

The revealing—and often shocking—biography of legendary Hollywood agent Henry Willson

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson is the incredible biography Henry Willson, one of the quintessential power brokers in Hollywood during the late 1940s and 1950s. It is also a harrowing look into Hollywood at a time of great sexual oppression, roaming vice squads searching for gay and/or communist activity, and the impossibilities for gay actors of the era.

Those who think Hollywood’s current predatory political scene and celebrity partner-swapping activities are new phenomena would be wise to dive into this tell-all tale of Henry Willson, an agent who became a major star maker to actors like Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, and Troy Donahue in the 1950s.

Publishers Weekly

Henry Willson was one of the quintessential power brokers in Hollywood during the late 1940s and 1950s when he launched the careers of Rock Hudson, Lana Turner, Tab Hunter, Natalie Wood, and many others. He was also a true casting couch agent, brokering sex for opportunity on the silver screen. While this practice was rampant across Hollywood, for gay actors and film professionals the casting couch was a dangerous cliff: a public revelation could and would ruin a career. The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson is an incredible biography as well as a harrowing look into Hollywood at a time of great sexual oppression, roaming vice squads searching for gay and/or communist activity, and the impossibilities for gay actors of the era.

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson

Robert Hofler survived a forty-year career in journalism, working as an editor at Life, Us, and Variety, among many other publications. He is now the theater critic for The Wrap and lives in New York City. Hofler is also author of the books Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to “A Clockwork Orange”—How a Generation of Pop Rebels Broke All the Taboos, Variety’s “The Movie That Changed My Life,” and Party Animals: A Hollywood Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock ’n’ Roll Starring the Fabulous Allan Carr.

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson

Those who think Hollywood’s current predatory political scene and celebrity partner-swapping activities are new phenomena would be wise to dive into this tell-all tale of Henry Willson, an agent who became a major star maker to actors like Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, and Troy Donahue in the 1950s.

Publishers Weekly

A trove of enticing gossip and little-known facts . . . Hofler chronicles Willson’s life of privilege. He roams through the origins of his paradoxical right-wing attitudes, early intrigues to obtain sexual power, conspiracies hatched in glamorous fabled nightclubs, the Trocadero, the Macombo. He describes nasty sexual antics among powerful studio heads.

Los Angeles Times

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson is a gritty, often coarse but well-researched biography of a tough Hollywood power broker famous for his ‘Adonis factory.’

Salon.com

Hofler, a Variety editor and reporter, is well matched to this shark-tank of a life.

Washington Post

The book will certainly satisfy the minds of those wondering what were Hudson’s favored sexual practices, but on a deeper level it’s as honest a portrait of the film industry as there’s ever been.

PopMatters.com