The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson
Henry Willson started off as a talent scout under Gone with the Wind's powerhouse mogul, David O. Selznick. The starmaker-to-be was on the lookout for promising newcomers when he received an unsolicited photograph from a movie star hopeful named Roy Fitzgerald. The photograph of the handsome young man with bad teeth not only had a career defining impact for Willson but, more importantly, it redefined Hollywood's concept of the male heartthrob. Roy Fitzgerald became Rock Hudson and, for the next twenty-five years, Henry Willson became the man behind movie "beefcake." The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson delves into Willson's life in explicit, unsparing detail. Variety reporter Robert Hofler deftly chronicles Willson's maneuvers to sidestep the FBI's investigation into Hudson's sex life; the agent's use of off-duty L.A.P.D. cops and Mob ties to scare off Hudson's blackmailers; Hudson's "arranged" marriage to Willson's secretary, Phyllis Gates; as well as Hudson's affair with a Universal Pictures vice-president to help secure starring roles. Additionally, the book discusses Willson's other star clients, including Robert Wagner, Troy Donahue, Tab Hunter, John Derek, James Darren, Chad Everett, Mike Connors, and many others.