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TopBilled

Thoughts about Rock Hudson & Marc Christian

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A few nights ago I had watched a documentary about gay film stars. I found it on YouTube. It covered several of the big names. One of those people, of course, was Rock Hudson.

This afternoon, I logged on to my YouTube account and a few related titles popped up as recommendations. One was a telecast of Phil Donahue's talk show from February 1989 that featured Hudson's ex-lover Marc Christian. I watched the entire thing and it was quite fascinating. Naturally, it prompted me to read up on Christian to find out what happened to him after 1989.

screen-shot-2019-01-12-at-8.33.22-pm.jpe

I'd be interested in reading others' thoughts about this couple...and if there are any good books about them, I'd sure appreciate suggestions.

Thanks.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

A few nights ago I had watched a documentary about gay film stars. I found it on YouTube. It covered several of the big names. One of those people, of course, was Rock Hudson.

This afternoon, I logged on to my YouTube account and a few related titles popped up as recommendations. One was a telecast of Phil Donahue's talk show from February 1989 that featured Hudson's ex-lover Marc Christian. I watched the entire thing and it was quite fascinating. Naturally, it prompted me to read up on Christian to find out what happened to him after 1989.

 

screen-shot-2019-01-12-at-8.33.22-pm.jpe

I'd be interested in reading others' thoughts about this couple...and if there are any good books about them, I'd sure appreciate suggestions.

Thanks.

I saw that Phil Donahue interview with Marc Christian.

He and Rock Hudson were a fascinating couple.

There is a new book on Rock Hudson - "All That Heaven Allows" by Mark Griffin.   

 

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12 hours ago, rayban said:

I saw that Phil Donahue interview with Marc Christian.

He and Rock Hudson were a fascinating couple.

There is a new book on Rock Hudson - "All That Heaven Allows" by Mark Griffin.   

Thanks for mentioning the Griffin book. The Donahue episode from February 1989 is insightful. Based on things said on camera between Donahue and Christian, it sounds as if Christian had been on the show before. Or had done a previous interview with Donahue, probably right after Hudson died. 

Not sure if there's a catalogue of Donahue episodes that can be checked to determine this. If Christian had been on Donahue's show before, it would be interesting to compare his earlier comments with what he was saying in early '89 just after he had won the case against Hudson's estate and against Hudson's publicist Mark Miller.

I wonder if Christian appeared on other talk shows to discuss Hudson. For example, was he ever on Larry King's program? My guess is that he probably did make the rounds on the talk show circuit. It doesn't seem as if he wrote a book. At one point in the Donahue episode I watched, an audience member asks if he's going to write a book, and he says it's a distinct possibility. But maybe it was something he started and never finished.

We should point out that Marc Christian was a stage name. His full name was Marc Christian MacGinnis. 

I think there are a lot of things that have not been looked at thoroughly with regards to their relationship. My sense of it as I scratch the surface...

An ironic thing is that when Christian sued Hudson's estate, Hudson's will was central to the case. Yet, years later, Christian did not have a will and his subsequent partner (who'd been denied an inheritance) sued Christian's estate. 

So it happened twice, where Christian was in a partnership that became very public, very financial and very legal. Despite the lengthy passage of time (Hudson died in 1985 and Christian died in 2009), both situations became landmark cases redefining California law.

I should also say that Christian ended up suing Hudson's previous partner Tom Clark and another man, when they co-wrote a book about Hudson and (allegedly) made libelous remarks about Christian. I have not been able to discover the outcome of that case (it also involved the publisher of Clark's book). So the legalities became a major part of Marc Christian's legacy.

When Christian died he was worth around $1 million. It would appear he had burned through a lot of the money he was awarded against Hudson's estate in 1989. Though my guess is a significant chunk of it was absorbed by legal fees. 

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I'm not finished with the Griffin book yet, so I haven't gotten to the Marc Christian part. I recall from the time that the main basis for his suit was that Rock continued to have unprotected sex with him after Hudson had been diagnosed, without informing Christian. Tom Clark was also named in the suit as having been a party to the deception and, unless I'm mistaken, I think George Nader may have been named as well. Although to the best of my knowledge Christian remained HIV-, it would seem as though Christian had a great legal basis for a suit, though there always seemed to me to be an element of opportunism there as well. (I think there was some question about how much sex he and Hudson were actually having at that point in their relationship.) Anyway, most of this is my memory, so grains of salt and all that.

If I recall correctly Christian figured in the 1980's TV movie about Hudson and the filmmakers took him at his word about the relationship in terms of how it was depicted, maybe because they thought it gave them something bullet-proof and sensational at the same time.

Good job, TB, and I'll be interested to hear from people who have more details than my poor brain has managed to hold on to.

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1 hour ago, DougieB said:

I'm not finished with the Griffin book yet, so I haven't gotten to the Marc Christian part. I recall from the time that the main basis for his suit was that Rock continued to have unprotected sex with him after Hudson had been diagnosed, without informing Christian. Tom Clark was also named in the suit as having been a party to the deception and, unless I'm mistaken, I think George Nader may have been named as well. Although to the best of my knowledge Christian remained HIV-, it would seem as though Christian had a great legal basis for a suit, though there always seemed to me to be an element of opportunism there as well. (I think there was some question about how much sex he and Hudson were actually having at that point in their relationship.) Anyway, most of this is my memory, so grains of salt and all that.

If I recall correctly Christian figured in the 1980's TV movie about Hudson and the filmmakers took him at his word about the relationship in terms of how it was depicted, maybe because they thought it gave them something bullet-proof and sensational at the same time.

Good job, TB, and I'll be interested to hear from people who have more details than my poor brain has managed to hold on to.

The other person named in Christian's original suit was Mark Miller, Rock Hudson's publicist (personal secretary). Miller admitted under oath that he had given misleading statements to Christian about Hudson's HIV status, at Hudson's request. So that's the main reason the jury found for the plaintiff. There was definitely a cover-up. Christian describes much of that in detail during the Donahue episode from 1989.

Basically the lawsuit had co-defendants-- Hudson's estate and Miller. So Miller had to pay out of pocket as well as the estate to Christian. Miller claimed at the time he was only worth $100,000. And the jury awarded Christian around $10 million from Miller, as well as another $11 million plus from Hudson's estate. These amounts, which totaled in excess of $20 million, were later reduced by a judge, with the sides agreeing to a settlement.

I think Christian's total award ended up being $5.5 million, with the bulk of it coming from Hudson's estate and Hudson's liability insurance. There is an article I found online from 1990 which says Christian received a $500,000 payment from the co-defendant's insurance (which I assume to be Miller's insurance). So my guess is Miller got off the hook with that payment, and the rest (the remaining $5 million) was awarded by Hudson's estate/insurance. 

Of course we can only guess what Christian's legal fees were. 

Tom Clark gave testimony in Christian's original case against Hudson and Miller. Clark was Rock's ex, and a close friend of Miller's. In 1990, when Clark's book hit the stands, Christian sued him and his co-author along with their publisher. In that case, Christian was seeking something like $23 million in damages for libel. But I haven't been able to learn the outcome. My guess is it was either thrown out or there was a hush-hush settlement, otherwise it would have gone to trial and there would be news articles about the trial. This may explain why Christian never published his own autobiography, because he probably feared retaliation and didn't want to risk having them sue him later over remarks he might have put in print about them.

I should mention that when Christian appeared on Donahue's show in 1989, his lawyer was with him. So they were careful to stick to the facts and not defame Miller, Clark or anyone else associated with the original case. Keep in mind that at this time Hudson was dead and there wasn't anyone on Donahue's show to defend him. So Hudson comes across as the villain. Though Christian claims he loved Hudson and wished he'd been able to be closer with him during the final stages of his illness.

It is also said in the Donahue episode that Christian stopped having sex with Hudson in February 1985. He claims Hudson had become so weakened and gaunt that Hudson no longer had energy for sex. So you have to wonder if Christian didn't take up with someone else during the final months of Hudson's life. And if he didn't, then what was going on when they were all basically waiting for Hudson to die. Were their lives in limbo until Hudson died in October of that year?

Christian says Miller tried to get him to move out of Hudson's home while Hudson was hospitalized and undergoing treatments. But supposedly Hudson didn't want Christian to move out, according to Christian. I am sure much of what Christian and his lawyer say in the Donahue episode is what was all said in court. Basically they are summarizing the case and Christian is mentioning details about Hudson's private life during the time they were together.

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There is a book on the trial - "Between Rock and a Hard Place: In Defense of Rock Hudson: From the Ashes of Trial to The Light of Truth" by Robert Parker Mills. 

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17 hours ago, rayban said:

There is a book on the trial - "Between Rock and a Hard Place: In Defense of Rock Hudson: From the Ashes of Trial to The Light of Truth" by Robert Parker Mills. 

Thank you Ray. I feel there's so much about their relationship that is not thoroughly explored. Plus there are so many greater social issues and legal issues that envelope the intimacy of their relationship.

Maybe I need to write a book, just about them as a couple, from their meeting up through his death, the trial and the aftermath of the trial. 

The books that are published tend to use Rock's name recognition as a movie star to play up the glamour and the scandal. But I don't think any of it looks at how they got on as a couple, more than just as lovers, but as two people with a very complex relationship. 

When you tell this kind of story you have to see they were both villains, they were both flawed, and they were both two people who brought some comfort and stability to each other, despite the craziness of what surrounded them. So the story has to be told fairly, in as much truth as possible. I think they are both owed that. 

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I do hope that you write that book.

Exploring them as individuals who were involved in a complex relationship would be interesting.

The noteriety of the trial became its' own lasting spotlight.

You'd do a great job.

From what I've read, the craziness of the Hudson household was a world unto itself.

 

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1 hour ago, rayban said:

I do hope that you write that book.

Exploring them as individuals who were involved in a complex relationship would be interesting.

The noteriety of the trial became its' own lasting spotlight.

You'd do a great job.

From what I've read, the craziness of the Hudson household was a world unto itself.

Thanks. Yes, it sounds like several different people were staying there. And possibly more than one of them were having relationships with Hudson at the same time. Sort of his own gay harem.

One comment Christian made on Donahue that was kind of interesting-- he said a month before Hudson's death, Hudson had asked someone to get some (male) prostitutes for him. From what I read Hudson had been released from the hospital at UCLA in late August, when all treatments had failed. He basically went home to die and would be dead about five or six weeks later. If he was in such a bad state at the end, how could he have been able to do anything with prostitutes?

Also, I read online where Hudson visited with a priest and a Pentecostal group in the week before his death. Apparently he had been raised as a Roman Catholic. So it's interesting that he was trying to cling to religion again at the end. I wonder if that was his choice, or something someone had suggested for him?

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I think that Hudson's private secretary, Mark Miller, ruled Hudson's household with an iron hand.

He was probably instrumental in getting Marc Christian out of the house.

I have heard/read that Hudson was himself very promisicious.

I read an on-line account of two boys (one wrote the story) who picked him up and then brought him home and were able to enjoy sex with him.

He didn't leave until the next morning.

In that book on James Dean, "Tomorrow Never Comes", the authors tell us that both Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson had a bet on the set of "Giant" about which one of them would get into his bed first.

As it turned out, both of them went to bed with him - who was first, I don't know.

Hudson liked to have **** sex.

And James Dean was always available for that adventure.

In fact, one of his nude photos for private collectors spotlights his derriere.

Mark Miller's lover, George Nader, inherited Hudson's estate.

But, once Marc Christian began his law suit, that will was not going to be executed.

Miller and Nader's involvement might be worth investigation, too.

It seems Robert Parker Mills was on their side, too, claiming that the freguent **** sex between Hudson and Christian would have definitely infected him with Aids; thus, laying waste tp his claim that he had been in danger of infection - he would have been infected.  

Weaving fact from fiction won't be easy.

 

 

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15 hours ago, rayban said:

I think that Hudson's private secretary, Mark Miller, ruled Hudson's household with an iron hand.

He was probably instrumental in getting Marc Christian out of the house.

I have heard/read that Hudson was himself very promisicious.

I read an on-line account of two boys (one wrote the story) who picked him up and then brought him home and were able to enjoy sex with him.

He didn't leave until the next morning.

In that book on James Dean, "Tomorrow Never Comes", the authors tell us that both Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson had a bet on the set of "Giant" about which one of them would get into his bed first.

As it turned out, both of them went to bed with him - who was first, I don't know.

Hudson liked to have **** sex.

And James Dean was always available for that adventure.

In fact, one of his nude photos for private collectors spotlights his derriere.

Mark Miller's lover, George Nader, inherited Hudson's estate.

But, once Marc Christian began his law suit, that will was not going to be executed.

Miller and Nader's involvement might be worth investigation, too.

It seems Robert Parker Mills was on their side, too, claiming that the freguent **** sex between Hudson and Christian would have definitely infected him with Aids; thus, laying waste tp his claim that he had been in danger of infection - he would have been infected.  

Weaving fact from fiction won't be easy.

Thanks Ray. Sounds like you have quite a bit of knowledge about this particular cast of characters. 

One thing I wondered about is why nobody else sued Hudson's estate? Surely Hudson would have infected someone. Unless he was having anonymous sex with men who didn't know his true identity, which would be tough to believe since he was so famous and identifiable.

I also wonder how reliable AIDS testing was in the mid-80s. And is it possible some other people had been infected by Hudson but were afraid to come forward because they were still deeply in the closet?

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