1950’s Heartthrob Tab Hunter Has Passed Away At 86

Tab Hunter, the blond actor and singer who was a heartthrob back in the 1950s with such films as “Battle Cry” and “Damn Yankees!” has died. He was 86. His spouse confirmed that he died Sunday of a blood clot in his leg that caused cardiac arrest. The death was “sudden and unexpected.”

Tab Hunter’s real name was Arthur Andrew Kelm. In his 2005 memoir, “Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star,” the actor recounted the stresses of being a love object to millions of young women when he was, in reality, a gay man. Quote; “I believed, wholeheartedly — still do — that a person’s happiness depends on being true to themselves,” he wrote. “The dilemma, of course, that was being true to myself — and I’m talking sexually now — was impossible in 1953.”

Tab Hunter was a star for several years. In addition to his hit movies, his recording of “Young Love” topped the Billboard pop chart in 1957. His screen tab (slang for “name” at the time) was fabricated by Henry Willson, the same talent agent who came up with the names Rock Hudson and Rory Calhoun. The legend goes that Willson said to the young man: “We’ve got to find something to tab you with. Do you have any hobbies?” His client answered, “I ride horses. Hunters.” Agent: “That’s it! We’ll call you Tab Hunter.”

Video: Watch Tab Hunter perform his hit “Young Love” on the Perry Como Show in 1957. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5LRe4xecZQ

Story image: Tab Hunter Arrives at the Academy Awards with Natalie Wood in 1956: Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Natalie_Wood_and_Tab_Hunter

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