Today in History: Actor Rock Hudson dies of AIDS
On this day in 1985, actor Rock Hudson died from AIDS.
One of the most famous actors of his day, Rock Hudson was the quintessential leading man. With his dark brown hair, 6'4'' built, overall good looks, Hudson was what every casting director was looking for in the 50's and 60's. Because of this, Hudson was cast in a variety of films such as "Giant," alongside Elizabeth Taylor, and "Pillow Talk" with Doris Day, and then cast in the hit show, "Dynasty."
However, Hudson was hiding a secret back in the 60's that, at the time, would ruin his career: he was gay. Positioned as this straight heartthrob, he was forced to live a double life, that is until he acknowledged in 1985 that he had AIDS, a disease that was not only killing him, but thousands of people.
Rock Hudson's diagnosis would soon become the catalyst for all other AIDS patients. With his name in lights, Hudson became the face of the AIDS epidemic.
In an interview with People Magazine, Hudson's then doctor and the man who first identified the disease back in 1981, Dr. Michael Gottlieb, was in shock by how much influence Hudson truly had. "I never could have imagined he would be the pivotal person in the history of the AIDS epidemic, the single most influential patient ever."
Hudson's diagnosis was kept a secret until he collapsed in a hotel in Paris in 1984. Here, he was receiving treatment for the disease, which was then unavailable in the United States.
On October 2, 1985, Rock Hudson ultimately lost his battle to AIDS, but it's clear that his legacy and ultimate public acknowledgement of his disease helped saved the lives of thousands from that day forward.
Want to see more Rock Hudson? Click through the gallery below.
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