On this day 25 years ago, screen legend Rock Hudson, whose final role on ABC's "Dynasty" caused a great deal of controversy in Hollywood, passed away in Paris, following battle with AIDS.
Hudson had been cast by "Dynasty" creator Esther Shapiro in 1984 who was said to have been too enchanted with the man she idolized as a young woman to notice his frail appearance.
The actor, who was fighting a quiet but desperate battle with the wretched disease, was horrified upon learning he would have to kiss Linda Evans on screen, as little was certain about its transmission at the time.
According to some reports, the controversy surrounding the kiss resulted to toning down of sexual content on broadcast TV in the US and some actors refusing to kiss people for whom it had been known or rumored that they might be gay.
Hudson originally fought rumors. In February 1985 he was quoted as saying:
"Everybody asks about my health. All the damn time. Is there some kind of damn conspiracy going on here? 'You've lost weight,' they say. Of course I've lost weight. I've tried to lose weight since I was 24. I'm now at the weight I should be--198. I've been 220 most of my career and trying to hold in my stomach is a bore, especially when you're doing a fight."
Five months later, his doctors in Paris said they could no longer hide the fact he was sick with AIDS and a press release announcing his condition was made. "Go ahead, give it to the dogs," he was quoted as saying upon being read the announcement.
The truth stunned the world, but it also helped raise awareness of the disease that a lot had been said about, but very little had been known about at the time. Hudson himself had more publicity that summer than perhaps in all the years as a movie star.
Check out the following articles from People Magazine archives for further reading:
"Rock Hudson: On Camera and Off" (August 12, 1985)
The Drama of His Final Days (June 16, 1986):