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Podcast Episode 148: Remembering Tab Hunter

Tribute to the late heartthrob with an interview from 2015

Photo caption: Tab Hunter at the height of his heartthrob year.

Photo credit: Allan Glaser Productions

Tab Hunter at the height of his heartthrob year.

Episode 148: Remembering Tab Hunter

Actor and heartthrob Tab Hunter died last month of cardiac arrest at the age of 86. This podcast pays tribute to the ridiculously good looking star with a 2015 archive interview as well as an interview with Jeffrey Schwarz who directed the documentary "Tab Hunter Confidential."

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Transcript

Top Five Tab Hunter Movies

"Battle Cry" (1955)

"Damn Yankees" (1958)

"Gunman's Walk" (1958)

"Polyester" (1981)

"Lust in the Dust" (1985)

And check out the documentary "Tab Hunter Confidential" (2015)

Last month actor and golden boy Tab Hunter died of cardiac arrest at the age of 86. I got to interview him in 2015. Here's a podcast dedicated to him.

Hunter was a hunky heartthrob in the 1950s. In fact, he was dubbed "The Sigh Guy" for making teenage girls swoon and for being the clean-cut boy next door that mothers would be happy to have their daughters bring home. But what his female fans didn’t know was that he was also gay.

FilmOut hosted the California premiere of "Tab Hunter Confidential" in 2015 and gave the actor at the center of that documentary a life achievement award.

Younger generations may not remember Hunter, or may only know of him from his roles in John Waters' "Polyester" or the film "Grease 2." But Hunter was impossibly good-looking — dreamy blue eyes, perfect blonde hair, and a smile that could charm anyone. He rose to fame just as the Hollywood studio system was beginning to fade. He became a star in the 1950s mostly playing All-American, heroic, and romantic types in films such as "Battle Cry," "The Sea Chase" and "Lafayette Escadrille."

"Tab Hunter Confidential" Trailer

But what the documentary (which was produced by Hunter's partner Allan Glaser) shows is that while Hollywood may not have taken him seriously, he took his profession seriously and always strove to better himself.

Jeffrey Schwarz directed the documentary that's based on the actor’s memoir of the same name. Schwarz was familiar with Hunter because of the Waters cult film "Polyester," but in researching the film, he discovered films that cast the actor against type, as in “Gunman’s Walk” where Schwarz said Hunter played a psychopath and "was so good" you wonder why Hollywood didn't give him more roles like that. Hunter said that he ended up doing some of his best work on live television as in "Portrait of a Murderer" for Arthur Penn and CBS' "Playhouse 90."

"Gunman's Walk" Trailer

But if Schwarz had to pick one film that was representative of Hunter’s career it would be one that showcased his charm and irresistible sweetness, such as “Damn Yankees.” Schwarz said that film was particularly interesting because the character that Hunter plays is a man with a secret who is forced to lead a dual life, something that Hunter himself was doing.

"Damn Yankees!" Trailer

I interviewed Hunter by phone from his Santa Barbara home where he used to get up early every morning to visit his stables.

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