After appearing in small roles in forgettable films in the 1950s, a pair of strapping, handsome young gay actors were hungry for leading roles in higher quality films, and they were chasing the same dream. They were friends, but the competition did not always end up amicably. One of them, Rock Hudson, got lucky with Magnificent Obsession (1954), which turned him into a star and a hot commodity. The other, George Nader (1921-2002), was not so lucky. These two gay men with stunning physiques and charisma to spare were about to be involved in a Hollywood studio intrigue that left only one man standing.
According to insider reports at the time, Rock Hudson was a bit too indiscreet with a man he picked up, and their dalliance was photographed. Universal Studios bosses received a phone call from Confidential magazine saying they were about to expose Hudson’s homosexuality on their front page. The studio panicked at the thought of losing its hottest new star, so they cut a deal with the magazine. They made a decision that made Rock Hudson a Hollywood legend while simultaneously dashing the career of Nader to hopeless obscurity. The magazine agreed to ruin Nader’s career by outing him as a homosexual in exchange for accepting a large cash payment to keep Rock Hudson’s gay activities out of print forever. Another version of this story relates that Confidential was about to expose a relationship between Nader and Hudson himself, but both men later said they never had a sexual relationship. In fact, Nader and Mark Miller (Nader’s life partner) became Hudson’s de facto family and were especially supportive in the months leading up to Hudson’s death from AIDS in 1985. BTW: I can find no evidence that a magazine article exposing Nader as homosexual was ever published, although the threats may have been real. Photo below: Rock Hudson (left) wth fellow beefcake actor George Nader.