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Rock Hudson: TCM's June Star of the Month

Turner Classic Movies

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson by Robert Hofler"For anyone starting out as an actor, Henry Wilson was the most powerful agent in Hollywood. And he helped a lot of people. His life is tragic, really. Henry loved Hollywood more than anyone." -- Robert Osborne 

Just in time for TCM's June Star of the Month tribute to Rock Hudson comes the reissue of this 2005 book by Robert Hofler, about the man who propelled Hudson to stardom--now available in paperback as well as e-book.

Henry Wilson (1911-1978) was one of the quintessential power brokers in Hollywood during the 1940s and 1950s. He launched the careers of Lana Turner and Joan Fontaine, got Natalie Wood her breakthrough role in Rebel Without a Cause and helped Gena Rowlands land a number of television projects that helped her finance husband John Cassavetes' first independent feature,Faces

But it is the men he represented that Wilson is most remembered for. From Guy Madison to Tab Hunter to Rock Hudson and many others, Wilson had an eye for the prototypical, post-World War II male sex symbol. 

Wilson was also a true "casting couch" agent, brokering sex for opportunity on the silver screen. While this practice was well-known in 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 tells the story of Henry Wilson and the male stars whose careers he helped shape. It is also a cautionary tale--a dark look into Hollywood at a time of great sexual oppression, roaming vice squads searching for gay and/or communist activity, and the dangers and impediments for gay actors of the era.

Article published on TCM.