1925 - 1985

“I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth.”

– Rock Hudson

Rock Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer Jr. on November 17, 1925, in Winnetka, IL A child of divorce, his mother remarried when he was eight years old. In 1944, he joined the Navy and served in the Philippines. Following his 1946 discharge, the 6’ 5” hopeful moved to Hollywood. In 1947, agent Henry Wilson renamed his dashing young client Rock Hudson. Despite his lack of professional training, Hudson received a contract with Warner Brothers and made his film debut. In 1948, Universal Pictures bought out Hudson's contract. After small roles in several films, Hudson won the lead in Douglas Sirk's Magnificent Obsession (1954) which established him as a star. Needing to mask his client’s gay identity, Hudson’s agent orchestrated a marriage to Phyllis Gates. The union lasted three years. By then Hudson was a top box office draw, named Star of the Year with roles in dramatic features like Written on the Wind, All That Heaven Allows, A Farewell to Arms, and Giant (which earned him his only Oscar nomination). In 1959, Hudson took a break from drama and starred with Doris Day in the comedy Pillow Talk. They were a sensation and subsequently costarred in several films including Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers. Romantic comedy took Hudson’s career to new highs and from 1959-1963 he won four Golden Globes as World Film Favorite - Male. In 1971, Rock Hudson took another career risk and began work on the popular TV detective series McMillan and Wife. His final role was on the TV series Dynasty in the 1984/85 season. In June 1984, a doctor’s visit revealed a Kaposi sarcoma lesion on the actor and he was subsequently diagnosed with AIDS. A year later he publicly announced that he was suffering from the disease, causing a media frenzy. That media frenzy included stories about the on-screen kiss Hudson shared with his Dynasty co-star Linda Evans who, along with the show’s executive producer Aaron Spelling, did not know Hudson’s AIDS status when that episode was filmed. Hudson’s subsequent openness became a catalyst for public awareness of the worldwide epidemic. The one-time matinee idol died from AIDS-related complications on October 2, 1985, at the age of 59, in Beverly Hills.


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Faith Construct Atheist

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch AIDS Era (1980-present) Cold War (1945-1991) Information Age (1970-present) World War II (1939-1945)

Field(s) of Contribution




US History

Commemorations & Honors

Photoplay Awards Most Popular Male Star (1956, 1957, 1959)

Laurel Awards Top Male Star (1958, 1959, 1960, 1963)

Golden Globe Award World Film Favorite Male (1959, 1960, 1961, 1963)

Bambi Award Best Actor Internation For This Earth is Mine (1959)

Hollywood Walk of Fame Star For Film (1960)

Bambi Award Best Actor Internation For Pillow Talk (1960)

Bambi Award Best Actor Internation For Come September (1961)

Bambi Award Best Actor Internation For The Spiral Road (1962)

Bambi Award Best Actor Internation For Man's Favorite Sport? (1964)

Bambi Award Best Actor Internation For Seconds (1967)

TP de Oro Spanish Annual TV Award Best Foreign Actor For McMillan and Wife (1977)


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Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Allo Kerstein
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell