Tab Hunter, the long-time Hollywood heartthrob who portrayed Joe Hardy in the film Damn Yankees!, died Sunday might in Santa Barbara.
He was 86 years old.
Considered a fan favorite of movie fans in the 1950s, Hunter passed away from a blood clot that led to a heart attack, according to his romantic partner, Allan Glaser.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Glaser said Hunter’s death was “unexpected and sudden.”
Elsewhere, a Facebook account linked to the star also announced his passing with a message that read as follows:
“SAD NEWS: Tab passed away tonight three days shy of his 87th birthday.
“Please honor his memory by saying a prayer on his behalf. He would have liked that.”
As part of his impressive resume, Hunter also recorded a number-one record and starred in two outlandish films with the drag queen Divine.
This last career achievement is notable for the following reason…
After many decades of silence, Hunter confirmed long-gestating rumors about his homosexuality in his autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, which was published in 2005.
He penned the memoir and made the personal admission after learning that someone else was planning to out him in a separate book.
Back in his professional prime, Hunter was more than just a leading man.
Due to his blonde hair and his physique, the actor covered numerous teen magazines and was even the main face (errrr, body?) of a 2000 book titled “Shirtless! The Hollywood Male Physique.”
After Hunter beat out James Dean and Paul Newman to play a young Marine in Raoul Walsh’s Battle Cry (1955), Warner Bros. picked up his option and signed him to a seven-year contract.
From there, he appeared in The Girl He Left Behind (1956) and Burning Hills (1956).
In 1958, Hunter was tabbed to play the central role in the big screen adaption of Damn Yankees! and then his career truly took off.
Long after he stopped anchoring movies, however, Hunter returned to the news after he came out of the closet.
He wrote at the time that he kept his homosexuality under wraps all those years ago because it was simply unheard of for a gay man to be a movie star.
â€śWhen youâ€™re under contract to a studio,â€ť he wrote, â€śyour job is to do as they say. If you have a job, do your job.â€ť
â€śI knew what I was,â€ť Hunter told People Magazine in 2005. â€śI just never talked about it.â€ť
Hunter andÂ Glaser were together for over 30 years.
“If I had come out during my acting career in the 1950s, I would not have had a career,” Hunter said in an October 2017 interview, adding:
“Not much in Hollywood has changed in 60 years. I really didn’t talk about my sexuality until I wrote my autobiography.
“My film career had long since been over by then. I believe one’s sexuality is one’s own business. I really don’t go around discussing it. Call me ‘old school’ on that topic.”
A feature documentary about him, also titled Tab Hunter Confidential, was released in 2015 and produced by Glaser.
May Tab Hunter rest in peace.