Gay History File: While going through the FBI’s new Vault, I re-discovered a file that I hadn’t read in awhile – Rock Hudson’s file. In this file the FBI expressed concern with Hudson’s “homosexual tendencies.”
J. Edgar Hoover, (How’s that for irony?) received a Request of the Bureau for the Los Angeles Division to interview Rock Hudson regarding a subject they were investigating.
After a search through Bureau files, the FBI discovered “no derogatory security-type information concerning Hudson,” however a memo formerly marked "Secret" and heavily blacked out to censor it, did note that Los Angeles advised that "it is general common knowledge within the motion picture industry that Hudson suspected of having homosexual tendencies."
After several blacked out paragraphs, the memo concluded, "In view of the information that Hudson has homosexual tendencies, interview will be conducted by two mature experienced Special Agents."
The only conclusion that I can come to regarding this amazing recommendation is that the FBI was afraid that Rock Hudson might try and seduce their agents if given a chance.
The interview was indeed conducted by two Special Agents; at the Paramount Studio Lot in Los Angeles on June 23, 1965 as a matter of fact. As to the nature of the agents' enquiries, it's a little unclear, however it had to do with his former wife Phyllis Gates and her whereabouts and where he sent her alimony checks. Presumably, one Special Agent could have easily handled that interview as it was brief and the resulting information is three paragraphs long – moreover there’s no indication that the movie star made any moves on the Special Agents.
More on Hudson’s “tendencies”...
In response to a name check request from the White House in October 1966, the FBI revealed that:
"Rock Hudson has not been the subject of an FBI investigation. During 1965 however, a confidential informant reported that several years ago while he was in New York he had an ‘affair’ with movie star Rock Hudson. The Informant stated that from personal knowledge he knew that Rock Hudson was a homosexual. The belief was expressed that by ‘personal knowledge’ the informant meant he had personally indulged in homosexual acts with Hudson or had witnessed or received the information from individuals who had done so."
"On another occasion, information was received by the Los Angeles Office of the FBI that it was common knowledge in the motion picture industry that Rock Hudson was suspected of having homosexual tendencies."
"It is to be noted in May, 1961, a confidential source in New York also stated that Hudson definitely was a homosexual."
The FBI’s reading room vault has a disclaimer that says in part: “Please note, that the information found in these files may no longer reflect the current beliefs, positions, opinions, or policies currently held by the FBI.”
One hopes that sending two mature and experienced Special Agents to interview notorious individuals with “homosexual or gay tendencies” isn’t the standard practice these days, when one agent will probably do just as well.
- Celebrity Secrets: Official Government Files on the Rich and Famous by Nick Redfern (This book has additional insight and speculation on Rock Hudson and related files)
- The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson by Robert Hofler.