Rock Stands Tall

The fucking London press are the worst parasites in the world.

Back in 1985 I was interview Rock Hudson at the Deauville film festival. We were sitting at a table in the elegant dining room of the Hotel Deauville. Another reporter was piggy-backing on my hour with the star of TOBRUK. Rock was in his 50s but still a handsome man. Women wanted his autograph. Some wanted more.

My focus of my questions was on whether you would rather dine with Rock or James Dean since they had shared the screen in GIANT. I felt Rock was the obvious choice for a good dinner companion. He had good manners.

The British reporter wouldn’t let Rock finish an answer and he asked Rock about Jim Nabors, “After all these years isn’t it time you let the world know about you and Gomer Pyle?”

“Know what?” Rock ignored the insinuation. He had been fending off any allegations about his sexual leanings since before I was born.

“That you and Jim were lovers” That you shared a place in Hawaii?” The reporter spat out his queries without losing a beat. His notebook was filled with them.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about?” Rock took a sip of white wine. This rumor had been bouncing around gay clubs for ages.

“C’mon, the young boys of our readership are dying to hear the truth.”

“You mind leaving the man alone?” I wasn’t gay, but had danced with a few men at 1270 and my younger brother was gay. I hated gay-bashers.

“I’m just trying to write a story, so piss off.” The London-based reporter had a a thick skin. He really wanted to know who was king and queen in the Nabors-Hudson arrangement.

“More like tar and feather Mr. Hudson.” At the time I was working as a bouncer at the Bains-Douches. I was more than ready to knuckle the reporter. Rock lifted his hand and said, “Gentlemen, no fists or knives.”

I held a silver knife in my hand.

“You can’t threaten me like that.” The reporter hadn’t seen my eyes.

“I’m not saying another word.”

“Faggots.”

“You say it with a lisp and smile.” I was itching for a fight.

“Fuck you both.”The reporter stormed out of the dining room.

“Don’t worry about him. I’ve been dealing with his kind for years.” Rock thanked me for my not making a scene and we had a lovely lunch of Atlantique Sole and a brilliant Riesling.

“You know James Dean was a wonderful actor. He had the gift of touching the pain and joy deep inside him. Every scene in GIANT confronted Dean with his inner chaos.” Rock had been Rock Hudson nominated for an Oscar in GIANT. “I just showed up on set and recite my lines. I asked George Stevens, the director, if I should do anything different like Dean. George said I was doing fine. He then spent hours talking to Dean about a scene. It seemed so simple to me. Read your lines and act like your supposed to act, but what do I know.”

“Thanks.” It was a nice story and the French magazine placed my article on the front page.

I saw nothing from the London reporter.

They truly are scum.

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