SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA) — Onetime teen heartthrob Tab Hunter, who starred in films like “Damn Yankees!” and “The Burning Hills,” who later became a gay icon has died. He was 86 years old.
Hunter, who was known in Hollywood as “The Sigh Guy” for his blond, surfer-boy looks, died Sunday night at his home in Santa Barbara County. He died of a blood clot, his spouse, film producer Allan Glaser, said.
Hunter was born on July 11, 1031 as Arthur Kelm in New York City, but grew up in California with his mother, brother and maternal grandparents.
He starred in more than 40 films, and was a big name in the 50s and 60s. He continued to work into his 70s as a film producer, and his recording of the song “Young Love” topped the Billboard pop chart in 1957.
After decades of silence, Hunter confirmed long-standing rumors about his homosexuality in his autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, published in 2005. Hunter said he had been told by his longtime romantic partner Glaser that someone was planning to write a book about him, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I thought, ‘Look, get it from the horse’s mouth and not from some horse’s ass after I’m dead and gone,'” he told the Reporter in 2015. “I didn’t want someone putting a spin on my life.”
Writing the book was difficult, he told The Associated Press in 2005, “because I’m a really private person. I grew up full of denial. I just didn’t like any suggestions or questioning of my sexuality.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)