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All That Heaven Allows

A Biography of Rock Hudson
Written by: Mark Griffin
Narrated by: Jeremy Arthur
Length: 13 hrs and 47 mins

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Publisher's Summary

The definitive biography of the deeply complex and widely misunderstood matinee idol of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Devastatingly handsome, broad-shouldered, and clean-cut, Rock Hudson was the ultimate movie star. The embodiment of romantic masculinity in American film throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, Hudson reigned supreme as the king of Hollywood.

As an Oscar-nominated leading man, Hudson won acclaim for his performances in glossy melodramas (Magnificent Obsession), Western epics (Giant), and blockbuster bedroom farces (Pillow Talk). In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Hudson successfully transitioned to television; his long-running series McMillan & Wife and a recurring role on Dynasty introduced him to a whole new generation of fans.

The icon worshiped by moviegoers and beloved by his colleagues appeared to have it all. Yet beneath the suave and commanding star persona, there was an insecure, deeply conflicted, and all too vulnerable human being. Growing up poor in Winnetka, Illinois, Hudson was abandoned by his biological father, abused by an alcoholic stepfather, and controlled by his domineering mother.

Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Hudson was determined to become an actor at all costs. After signing with the powerful but predatory agent Henry Willson, the young hopeful was transformed from a clumsy, tongue-tied truck driver into Universal Studio’s resident Adonis. In a more conservative era, Hudson’s wholesome, straight-arrow screen image was at odds with his closeted homosexuality.

As a result of his gay relationships and clandestine affairs, Hudson was continually threatened with public exposure, not only by scandal sheets like Confidential but by a number of his own partners. For years, Hudson dodged questions concerning his private life, but in 1985, the public learned the actor was battling AIDS. The disclosure that such a revered public figure had contracted the illness focused worldwide attention on the epidemic.

Drawing on more than 100 interviews with costars, family members, and former companions, All That Heaven Allows finally delivers a complete and nuanced portrait of one of the most fascinating stars in cinema history.

Author Mark Griffin provides new details concerning Hudson’s troubled relationships with wife Phyllis Gates and boyfriend Marc Christian. And here, for the first time, is an in-depth exploration of Hudson’s classic films, including Written on the Wind, A Farewell to Arms, and the cult favorite Seconds. With unprecedented access to private journals, personal correspondence, and production files, Griffin pays homage to the idol whose life and death had a lasting impact on American culture.

©2018 Mark Griffin (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Steve
  • 2018-12-06

THE BEST BIOGRAPHY I HAVE EVER READ!

"All that Heaven Allows", A biography of Rock Hudson, is the best biography I have read in the past five years. If you are a movie star junkie, like me, YOU WILL LOVE THIS AUDIO BOOK".

I enjoyed this book because it is a tell all story of a man that was tormented most of his life because of his sexual orientation. It is a known fact now that Rock Hudson was a homosexual. Can anyone even imagine what it was like for this actor to keep a secret like this in the fifties, knowing he was the most famous man on the planet. I personally feel Hudson was a very underrated actor. For me he was a GREAT ACTOR, probably the greatest that ever lived. I know what you're thinking. How can I make a statement like that knowing that great stage actors. like Richard Burton, and so many of the other British and American icons could I make such a statement. Let me explain. He was a great actor off the screen, NOT IN MOVIES!

Keeping the secret of his sexual identity, from my point of view, took more of an acting job than the talent he displayed in his movies. YES, he was an excellent actor on screen! But his most impressive acting ability took place off the screen covering up his homosexuality to the world, however not Hollywood. His peers knew he was gay. In fact it was an open secret in LaLa land. Yet, Hudson was such a caring and wonderful person no one would say anything at the time. Personally I have no idea how he kept this from the world for almost fifty years of his life. THIS ALONE TOOK A GREAT DEAL OF ACTING, IN FACT I FEEL THIS ALONE MADE HIM ONE OF THE GREATEST ACTORS THAT EVER LIVED. It came at a very high price however, because he was never able to be himself...SO SAD!

The 50s and 60s was the worst time to be famous and gay. HE HAD TO STAY IN THE CLOSET OR RUIN HIS CAREER. Just imagine what it would feel like to be known all over the world as the sexiest man alive and gay at the same time. NOW THIS TAKES ACTING...AND THIS IS WHY I SAY ROCK HUDSON WAS A GREAT ACTOR.

The only acting job he had to do was keep his sexual identity secret. This task is hard enough for the average person at the time and in many cases even in today’s world. However, can anyone even imagine what it would be like if you were Rock Hudson?

You won't find a better book on Rock Hudson than ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. I laughed, cried, and had every emotional feeling possible while listening to this book.

DO NOT PASS THIS BOOK UP. Even if you were never a fan of Hudson,, I guarantee you will love this audiobook.

If I could, I would give the author, Mark Griffin, 100 stars. If you are a fan of old Hollywood you will not be able to stop listening. I COULD NOT REMOVE MY HEADPHONES FOR EVEN TEN MINUTES!

Run...do not walk, just down load this story! Thank you for reading my review, Steve

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lynda Richards
  • 2019-09-20

ROCK

This was excellent to listen to. Really enjoyed. It’s too bad he had to die. He was good to look at & I think he was an excellent actor.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kim
  • 2019-01-17

The history of Hollywood and Hudson

This book is as much a History of the industry, the stars, the movies as it is Rock Hudson’s biography.

I recommend this book.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • James M. Patton
  • 2019-03-30

Almost all of book is filtered by his sexuality.

As a fan of Rock Hudson, I know there are a lot of great stories to be told about his career and the making of the movies he was a part of. There is maybe an hour of interesting material in the first half of the book and around 2 hours in the second half, but almost all of the book, and even the interesting parts, have to be filtered through and viewed against his homosexuality.

I have no issue with sexuality or homosexuality, but almost 14 hours of nothing but the concern that his big secret would get out, and every story being tied to that, gets pretty repetitive.

When Rock Hudson died, I was of the belief that now everyone had lost someone they cared about to AIDS. My family and I were big Rock Hudson fans, and his death was tragic. We didn't care that he was gay, he was a great actor and a great person and he was one of our heroes. Before, and after that news came out.

Maybe there is an audience that wants every aspect and story of an actor's life and movie making to be held up against the sexual choices that actor makes, but I am not that type of reader or fan.

Here is what I hoped this book would be: Tell me the ups and downs of his private life as known by those closest to him, and let me know of his loves, losses, and need for secrecy. But also tell me stories like the fact that he was asked to go visit the house being built for GIANT and give advice, right down to its color of paint, so he would feel it was his when on set. (This story is one I know, stories like this do not appear in this book). Feel free to tell me his secrets, but do not spend 14 hours making everything he ever accomplished about being gay. Just like every accomplishment a heterosexual person makes doesn't have to be filtered through their sexuality, I wish this book could have been the same. The man was Rock Hudson, he was actually a little bit more than the secret discussed constantly herein.

All in all, I would not recommend the book except for fans that can appreciate a small morsel here and there while finding out that, oh no, Rock Hudson was gay and had to hide it and it permeated everything he did, every film he made, every food he ate, and every person he ever knew. Because believe me, you get 14 hours of that here.


4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 2019-02-06

Fair

Was very well read; however, more of an endless review/summation of Hudson's works than a true biography.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • R. Celaya
  • 2020-05-10

Rock Hudson wasn’t the nice guy this book wants you to think.

I had been doing some research online about Rock Hudson which prompted me to listen to this bio. I think I was trying to understand his life in the closet, while some of his contemporaries had been able to live lives with ongoing relationship.

First I was surprised that the longer I listen to the book, the less I liked Rock Hudson himself. Although the book does everything to convince you what a nice guy he was - with numerous comments by friends and acquaintances saying was a great human being.

But as the book continued I got the feeling that Rock used and abused people just as much as he was used. His agent Henry Willson May have seduced Rock but once he became famous Rock seemed to regularly use his fame to seduced young men. And when he drew tired of them... he’d have his manager get rid of them.

And his behavior with his AIDS diagnosis is problematic. At one point the book mentions he had a kaposi sarcoma lesion for over a year, yet a few paragraphs later Rock says a recent trick gave him AIDS.

Rock never seemed to take responsibility for anything. The book says he was concerned that kissing Linda Evans would put her in danger (at that time it was unknown if HIV could be transmitted by a kiss) BUT he kissed her anyway. F#ck that!

And the book tries its best to make his last lover Marc Christian a villain. He may have been in his own right, but he was also a villain that Rock created and empowered.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • CD in DC
  • 2020-04-20

Not sure there's this much to know

About Rock Hudson, nee Roy Fitzgerald but I used to love McMillan and Wife, wondered who would have ever thought to put those two together? Apparently not much of a fit. Sad his top advisers his beard of a wife Phyllis Gates and the loathsome Tom Clark. Final days including Dynasty pretty much as expected but he never should have done Doris Day promo for pets and Christian Broadcasting. RIP.

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  • BN
  • 2019-02-22

This is such an interesting portrait of such a gentle, kind, talented, loving and complicated man.

Some say they were blown away by the depth of the research in this book but felt they still didn’t know the man after reading it. I felt differently. I loved finding out how loving, kind and loved Rock Hudson was by almost everyone who worked with him. My heart warmed at story after story of his generosity and how he helped every new actor and actress he worked with. There are too many to mention but Sharon Stone is just one who shares yet another tale Of Rock’s kindness and help as she was getting started. My heart also broke at the difficulties Mr. Hudson faced trying to balance his personal and public life at a time when natural passions were not acceptable as natural. Imagine having to worry if the person you fell in love with and shared your heart with might run to the press with intimate moments if the relationship didn’t last. From what I read here Rock was kind to a fault and often paid the price, literally and figuratively when a harder shell might have protected him more. He not only has my respect but it seems I’m now on a long list of people who respect and love Rock Hudson including Liz, Doris, Roddy, Sharon, George...well the list goes on and on. Read this book to hear them tell story after story of their friend who not only helped them laugh but helped them survive. You will find a gentle, loving, kind and complicated soul in these pages. Enjoy!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • CharlieBear
  • 2019-06-07

nothing of note but sex

If you want to hear about Rock Hudson reduced to his sex life by a woman hating bigot, then this is the book for you.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-04-25

Rock Hudson review

it was interesting if you were a Rock Hudson fan, otherwise you might be bored.