1950s Teen Heartthrob, Gay Icon Tab Hunter Dies At 86

1950s Teen Heartthrob, Gay Icon Tab Hunter Dies At 86

The movie star, musician, novelist and gay icon passed away just three days shy of what would have been his 87th birthday.

Tab Hunter, who rose to fame as a Hollywood heartthrob in the 1950s, died Sunday at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California, Allan Glaser, his partner of 35 years, confirmed to CNN. Noted for his All-American looks, Mr. Hunter became one of the studio's most popular star, paired with fellow Warner Bros. favorite Natalie Wood in such films as The Burning Hills and The Girl He Left Behind.

Hunter came out as gay in his 2005 memoir "Tab Hunter Confidential", where he detailed his experience of being a closeted actor in Hollywood.

Hunter appeared in television shows such as his own sitcom The Tab Hunter Show which lasted for one season, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Forever Fernwood, The Virginian, The Six Million Dollar Man, Ellery Queen, and The Love Boat. According to reports, he died at 86-years-old from a blood clot in his leg which triggered cardiac arrest.

It made its way back on to the NYT's list, following the release of a documentary regarding his life in 2015.

With his blond hair, blue eyes and magnetic smile, Hunter set fans' hearts aflutter in films like "Battle Cry" and "Damn Yankees".

Glaser also told the Times that Hunter was a religious man who worked with paralyzed veterans and animals.

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His highest profile role was Joe Hardy, the baseball player who makes a pact with the Devil in 1958 musical Damn Yankees! "It was more important that Tab was known for being a good human being". In addition to his hit movies, his recording of "Young Love" topped the Billboard pop chart in 1957.

His one Broadway credit was as Christopher Flanders in Tennessee Williams's 1963 play The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, in which he starred alongside Tallulah Bankhead and Marian Seldes.

Many who were touched by Hunter's legacy paid tribute to the late actor on social media ― including Andrew Rannells, Harvey Fierstein and Zachary Quinto, who is set to produce a film with J.J. Abrams about Hunter's romance with Perkins. At the age of 15, he entered the Coast Guard after lying about his age.

"I believed, wholeheartedly - still do - that a person's happiness depends on being true to themselves", Hunter wrote. You can check out more social media tributes to Hunter for yourself below.

"We were walking home and he collapsed in my arms in our front yard", Glaser said.

"I had my fling, and I was very fortunate", he said.

"I consider Hollywood my past life", he told The New Mexican in 2015.

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