The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson


Henry Willson, the agent who ”created” Tab Hunter, Rock Hudson, and many other male heartthrobs in the ’40s and ’50s, gets his own, less flattering biography in Robert Hofler’s The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson (Carroll & Graf, $26.95). ”In addition to a rather hawkish nose, his face featured a bulbous lower lip that curled down over a nonexistent chin…. It was an inviting face…. But then, so was a clown’s.” With that tone, you’d think Variety theater reporter Hofler was writing about Mussolini. Or Cats. A decent researcher but a poor writer, Hofler is so obsessed with portraying Willson as a ”manizer,” he forgets small matters like an overarching theme, character development, and synthesis of information, maddeningly stringing together contradictory recollections of an event and leaving readers to fend for themselves.

By all accounts, including Hunter’s, Willson was a nasty, manipulative, perverted piece of work, but he’s six feet under in an unmarked grave near the Burbank airport. Surely that — and this biographical treatment — is punishment enough.

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson
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