Tab Hunter, 'Damn Yankees!' star, dead at 86

TAB HUNTER Various- 1960's

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The news of his death was confirmed by the Tab Hunter Confidential Facebook page, which has been an official source for news regarding Hunter in recent years.

Hunter's 1957 Dot Records recording of "Young Love", which stayed at No. 1 on the charts for six weeks, also spurred the creation of Warner Bros.

But in his memoir, "Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star", Hunter recounted the stresses of being a love object to millions of young women when he was, in reality, a gay man. TV proved a fertile environment, with The Tab Hunter Show premiering in 1960 followed by a string of TV movies. His vocal abilities and film success led to his being cast as Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees; Mr. Hunter is the only principal player in the film that did not originate his role in the original Broadway cast. Glaser also shared with THR that Hunter's passing was "unexpected and sudden".

Express.co.uk has contacted a representative for Tab Hunter asking for comment.

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Despite being publicly closeted for much of his life, Hunter had relationships with Psycho star Anthony Perkins and figure skater Ronnie Robertson before settling down with Glaser. "The dilemma, of course, that was being true to myself - and I'm talking sexually now - was impossible in 1953".

"I believed, wholeheartedly - still do - that a person's happiness depends on being true to themselves", Hunter said.

Hunter also starred in the 1958 musical film Damn Yankees, his own television series The Tab Hunter Show, and The Pleasure of His Company, opposite Debbie Reynolds, with whom the studio crafted for him another fictitious real-life romance.

Though Hunter's blonde hair and bare torso would become enmeshed with the "beach party" genre, he in fact only ever made one of them: Ride the Wild Surf, which was filmed on location in Hawaii and co-starred Fabian, Barbara Eden and James Mitchum.

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Actor, recording artist, film producer, and author Tab Hunter has died at the age of 86.

A career revival of sorts was triggered by his casting in Polyester, the hitherto-underground John Water's 1981 paean to all things cheesy-50s; Hunter starred alongside Waters regulars Divine and Mink Stole. J.J. Abrams, Hunter's husband and producing partner Allan Glaser and Neil Koenigsberg are working on on a movie about the star for Paramount titled Hunter, with Zachary Quinto set to star.

Glaser told the Los Angeles Times that Hunter collapsed in his arms at their home, and he was rushed to the hospital. And it was not what people, you know, perceived. It will be produced by Glaser, Quinto and J.J. "I just didn't like any suggestions or questioning of my sexuality".

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