Rock Hudson, born in 1925, was well known for his movie roles in ‘Giant', ‘Pillow talk', the TV series ‘Dynasty' and many more. He worked with other great names such as Elizabeth Taylor, whom we all know from her movies and from The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and Doris Day. During the last months of his life, he was frail and sick. He went to France to be treated with ‘HPA-23', an experimental drug that wasn't available in the US yet.
Once in France, the actor collapsed and was brought to an American hospital in France. Hudson was actually searching for the French doctor Dominique Dormant, who had treated him in secret before, for which he would have to be transferred to another hospital. Rock Hudson was denied transfer to the other hospital, as well as a visit from dr. Dormant. His publicists and assistant desperately tried everything they could, but it didn't help.
The world soon learned about Hudson being gay, having AIDS and being on the verge of dying. The story was covered in every paper and journalist Shilts stated that there was "an AIDS before Rock Hudson and an AIDS after".
After all these years, the real story has unraveled.
Apparently, Hudson's publicists really did try everything they could: his publicist Olson even sent a telegram to the White House asking for help. The Reagans were old friends of Hudson and one small word from them could have made the transfer to Dr. Dormant's hospital happen. Nancy Reagan turned down the request, because she "didn't want to favor personal friends". Rock Hudson died a few months later.
Peter Staley, known from the AIDS documentary ‘How To Survive A Plague', said:
"Seems strange that the Reagans used that excuse, since they often did favors for their Hollywood friends during their White House years. There's no getting around the fact that they left Rock Hudson out to dry. As soon as he had that frightening homosexual disease, he became as unwanted and ignored as the rest of us."
Rock Hudson was the first well-known celebrity to die of AIDS. This article clearly shows us how people from the eighties thought about AIDS and gay people. We can only pray that times will change and that all human beings will eventually start accepting each other for who they are.