Home » » Hollywood Makes a Straight Male Sex Symbol (Pt 1)

Hollywood Makes a Straight Male Sex Symbol (Pt 1)

Like many other Hollywood stars who remain important in culture and history, years after they have departed this world, the man who eventually became Rock Hudson was initially formed due to some difficult times as a child.

He was born Roy Harold Scherer on November 17, 1925 in Winnetka, Illinois.  He was the only child to Katherine Wood, a telephone operator, and Roy Scherer, an auto mechanic.  The horrific Great Depression put significant financial hardships on the small Scherer family.  Like many across the country, Roy would abandon his wife and son when he realized he could not support them.  Katherine remarried and her boy was adopted, taking on his new father’s last name; Fitzgerald.   Eventually the boy grew into a teen and then into a tall and strapping young man.  But those hard times and even harsh realities would never totally leave Roy's memories.
After working in the Philippines as an airplane mechanic during World War II, Roy moved to Los Angeles, which was a very popular "new home" for returning servicemen from the Midwest.  Thanks to the GI Bill, he applied to the University of Southern California drama department, but was rejected for poor grades.  Never afraid of work but always ready for opportunities, Hudson became a truck driver.
Henry Willson (left) with Rock Hudson.
Henry Willson was a talent agent.   In 1933, Henry had moved to Hollywood and became a talent scout for Hollywood mogul David O. Selznick, helping to discover Lana Turner, Joan Fontaine and Natalie Wood.  A chance meeting with Henry would change everything for Roy in 1948.  The legend goes that Wilson spotted Roy and immediately recognized his potential. The stage name became Rock Hudson.  That same year, Hudson was cast in his first feature film, Fighter Squadron.