God forbid someone might record some of my private conversations and then transcribe them and publish an excerpt in which an ex-girlfriend alleges that I’m a ‘Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma’am”-er in the sack…Jesus. So I feel mostly sorry for poor Rock Hudson having been outed by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Stephen Galloway (by way of tapes and transcripts belonging to the late private gumshoe Fred Otash, which were recently made available to Galloway by Otash’s daughter Colleen) as a guy who didn’t last long in the saddle. Some things are better left unsaid. Dead men should be afforded a certain measure of dignity.
(l. to r.) Phyllis Gates, Giant director George Stevens, Rock Hudson at Giant premiere in 1956.
On the other hand it’s a bit surreal and almost freakish that Phyllis Gates, who became Hudson’s “beard” wife in 1955 at the urging of Hudson’s manager, Henry Wilson, in order to protect Hudson from rumors of his homosexuality, would berate Hudson for not trying harder to cure himself of his affliction, and at the same time complain about “your great speed with me, sexually…are you that fast with the boys?” Hudson’s reply is an even bigger hoot: “Well, it’s a physical conjunction. Boys don’t fit. So this is why it lasts longer.” Boys don’t fit?
The other big revelation in Galloway’s story about the Otash tapes and transcripts is not the statement about Otash having “listened in on Marilyn Monroe having sex with [President John F.] Kennedy when he was watching [Peter] Lawford‘s house in Malibu, allegedly while working for Howard Hughes, who was seeking general information with which to discredit the Democrats.” I don’t remember where I heard or read it, but this episode came across my radar several years ago. (And by the way, Lawford’s beach pad wasn’t in Malibu — it was in Santa Monica about a half-mile or so south of the pier.)
The big thing is that the Otash stash “include[s] notes that he left for Colleen, in which he says he was conducting surveillance of Marilyn Monroe on the day she died.” If I remember correctly Norman Mailer‘s book about Monroe mentioned some razmatazz about Otash bugging JFK and Monroe doing the deed plus her having had an emotional moment with Bobby Kennedy near the end of her life. But I’ve never read anything that indicated Otash was listening in as this argument happened, or that he was monitoring Monroe on the night that she left the earth.
“‘I listened to Marilyn Monroe die,’ Otash claims in the notes, without elaborating, adding that he had taped an angry confrontation among Kennedy, Lawford and Monroe just hours before her death: ‘She said she was passed around like a piece of meat. It was a violent argument about their relationship and the commitment and promises he made to her. She was really screaming and they were trying to quiet her down. She’s in the bedroom and Bobby gets the pillow and he muffles her on the bed to keep the neighbors from hearing. She finally quieted down and then he was looking to get out of there.’”
The tape of this alleged conversation apparently doesn’t exist — only Otash’s notes.
Wiki excerpt: “Gates and Hudson separated in 1957. She became irate upon hearing that Hudson had had an affair with some guy while on location in Italy for A Farewell to Arms. The divorce was eventually finalized in 1958. In Gates’ autobiography, published after Hudson’s death from AIDS in 1985, she wrote that she was in love with Hudson when they were married. She stated that she did not know Hudson was homosexual when they married, and that she was not complicit in his deception.” Was it possible to really be that clueless, that much in denial?
“Gates later became a successful interior decorator. She died from lung cancer in 2006, at age 80.”