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citymouse
03-05-2007, 04:20 PM
The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson.
By Robert Hofler
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Carroll & Graf; Reprint edition (August 22, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0786718023


Robert Hofler’s book is not about Rock Hudson. It’s not about Troy Donahue, Alain Delon, or Rory Calhoun although these and many other Hollywood stars (mostly male) feature heavily in the four hundred and eighty pages of The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson.

The story recounts the career of one of Hollywood’s most successful film agents—Henry Willson—and it’s not pretty at all.
Willson, while he lived, was a man of simple contradictions. Born on the East Coast of the US, he was socially an ultraconservative, politically a Republican and as gay as a holiday table. If one defines a pederast as a person who prefers sex with those between the ages of seventeen and nineteen then Henry is your man. Willson hated effeminate men, often ridiculing them openly and loudly in the swank restaurants and clubs that make up so much of Hollywood legend, yet he loved young boys and he made them famous. If any loved him in return none admitted it. He made them wealthy and immortal in films. They left him old, penniless and forgotten in a charity home.

Artful seduction of naive ambition, career blackmail, and bodily assault all play a part in Willson’s wheeling and dealing in the Hollywood of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.

On reading The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson, I felt I was sitting in an easy chair while an old friend confided secrets long forgotten. Of course none of Robert Hofler’s stories about the young and famous men of Willson’s casting couch were secret—even when they occurred.
Hofler’s writing is witty and I love that, but I confess that I found his cutting from an event, say, in 1960, to another in 1940, eye stopping.
For those who love to read about the movie stars of yesteryear, this book is right up your alley. If however, you are looking for details on the sexual exploits of The Rock, save your money.

C