skip navigation
Tab Hunter

Tab Hunter

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (1)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Battle Cry / Battleground (Double Feature)... Based on the Leon Uris novel, the gritty war saga "Battle Cry" follows a group... more info $12.98was $12.98 Buy Now

The Sea Chase DVD American hero John Wayne plays a German in "The Sea Chase" (1955), a suspenseful... more info $12.98was $12.98 Buy Now

Island Of Desire DVD Think of this as a mature "Blue Lagoon" (1980). Pretty nurse Elizabeth Smythe... more info $14.93was $14.93 Buy Now

The Brothers Warner DVD The story of the four brothers who formed the Warner Brothers studio is as... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

The Burning Hills DVD The gunmen who cut down Trace Jordan’s brother have closed ground on hard-riding... more info $19.99was $19.99 Buy Now

Birds Do It DVD In his only starring feature film, legendary TV comic Soupy Sales plays a... more info $19.99was $20.99 Buy Now



Also Known As: Arthur Andrew Kelm, Arthur Andrew Gelien Died:
Born: July 11, 1931 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, producer, writer, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Although he did not score well with the critics, Tab Hunter managed to parlay his all-American blond good looks and wholesomeness into screen stardom, becoming an idol for 1950s teenagers who adored his boy-next-door persona and physique. After lying about his age to join the Coast Guard at 15, he found his way into Joseph Losey's "The Lawless" (1950), despite having no previous acting experience, and went on to play the ingenue for the likes of Raoul Walsh ("Battle Cry" 1955), William Wellman ("Hell Bent For Glory" 1958) and Sidney Lumet ("That Kind of Woman" 1959). Hunter's first credit as a song performer came in "Gunman's Walk" (1958), and later that year he delivered his memorable portrayal of long-suffering Washington Senators' fan Joe Hardy in George Abbott and Stanley Donen's Faustian musical, "Damn Yankees". By the early 60s, he was starring in low-brow fare like "Operation Bikini" (1963) and "Ride the Wild Surf" (1964), but he did contribute a small bit to Tony Richardson's "The Loved One" (1965).Hunter disappeared from the screen for five years, returning for John Huston's "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" (1972), then attempted to reinvent himself in parts running counter to his...

Although he did not score well with the critics, Tab Hunter managed to parlay his all-American blond good looks and wholesomeness into screen stardom, becoming an idol for 1950s teenagers who adored his boy-next-door persona and physique. After lying about his age to join the Coast Guard at 15, he found his way into Joseph Losey's "The Lawless" (1950), despite having no previous acting experience, and went on to play the ingenue for the likes of Raoul Walsh ("Battle Cry" 1955), William Wellman ("Hell Bent For Glory" 1958) and Sidney Lumet ("That Kind of Woman" 1959). Hunter's first credit as a song performer came in "Gunman's Walk" (1958), and later that year he delivered his memorable portrayal of long-suffering Washington Senators' fan Joe Hardy in George Abbott and Stanley Donen's Faustian musical, "Damn Yankees". By the early 60s, he was starring in low-brow fare like "Operation Bikini" (1963) and "Ride the Wild Surf" (1964), but he did contribute a small bit to Tony Richardson's "The Loved One" (1965).

Hunter disappeared from the screen for five years, returning for John Huston's "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" (1972), then attempted to reinvent himself in parts running counter to his popular image. Perhaps his finest performance was as the lonely Venice Beach psychopath of Curtis Hanson's directing debut, "The Arousers" (1973), but he also acted in three movies with Divine, most notably John Waters' "Polyester" (1981). Hunter produced Paul Bartel's Western spoof "Lust in the Dust" (1984), as well as starred opposite Divine, and picked up a story credit for David Hemmings' "Dark Horse" (1992). He had his own TV series, "The Tab Hunter Show" (NBC, 1960-61), and a regular role during the last year of the syndicated soap send-up "Fernwood Tonight/Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman". In recent years, he has been featured as an interview subject in documentaries about Hollywood figures including, "Wild Bill, Hollywood Maverick: The Life and Times of William A Wellman" (1995) and on TV in "Sophia Loren: Actress Italian Style" (A&E, 1997) and "Natalie Wood: The E! True Hollywood Story" (1997).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Dark Horse (1992) Perkins
3.
 Grotesque (1990) Rod
4.
 Out of the Dark (1989) Driver
5.
 Cameron's Closet (1988) Owen Lansing
6.
 Lust In The Dust (1984) Abel Wood
7.
 Pandemonium (1982)
8.
 Grease 2 (1982) Mr Stuart
9.
 Polyester (1981) Todd Tomorrow
10.
 Kid From Left Field, The (1979) Bill Lorant
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1946:
At 15, lied about his age and joined the Coast Guard (date approximate)
1950:
Made feature film debut at age 18 in Joseph Losey's "Lawless" despite no previous acting experience
1953:
First of back-to-back movies with director E A Dupont, "The Steel Lady" followed by "Return to Treasure Island" (1954)
1954:
First film with director William Wellman, "Track of the Cat"
1955:
Played wholesome soldier in Raoul Walsh's World War II pic "Battle Cry"
1955:
Supported John Wayne and Lana Turner as fresh-faced Cadet Wesser in John Farrow's "The Sea Chase"
1956:
Starred opposite Natalie Wood in two movies, "The Burning Hills" and "The Girl He Left Behind"
1958:
Acted the title role in "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production of "Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates" (NBC)
1958:
Reteamed with Wellman for "Hell Bent for Glory"
1958:
First credit as song performer, "I'm a Runaway" for "Gunman's Walk"
1958:
Delivered a memorable turn as Joe Hardy in George Abbott and Stanley Donen's Faustian tale "Damn Yankees," based on the stage musical; performed the songs "Goodbye Old Girl" and "Two Lost Souls"
1959:
Starred in CBS special "Meet Me in St Louis" with Jane Powell, Walter Pidgeon, and Myrna Loy
1959:
Played young soldier in love with Sophia Loren in Sidney Lumet's "That Kind of Woman"
1960:
Starred as swinging young bachelor Paul Morgan on NBC sitcom "The Tab Hunter Show"
1961:
Fit the part as Debbie Reynolds' fiancé in "The Pleasure of His Company," based on the Broadway play
1963:
Acted opposite Frankie Avalon in "Operation Bikini"
1964:
Fabian replaced Avalon for "Ride the Wild Surf"
1965:
Appeared in Tony Richardson's "The Loved One," based on the Evelyn Waugh novel
1972:
Provided humorous caricature for John Huston's "The Life and times of Judge Roy Bean"
1973:
Turned in topnotch performance as lonely Venice Beach psychopath in Curtis Hanson's directing debut "The Arousers"
1977:
Replaced Philip Bruns as George Shumway in "Forever Fernwood," the successor to the syndicated soap spoof "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"; plastic surgery was the explanation for the character's radically changed looks
1978:
Reteamed with Fabian for NBC movie "Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold"
1979:
Acted in NBC remake of 1953 film starring Dan Dailey and Anne Bancroft "The Kid From Left Field" opposite Gary Coleman in his TV movie debut
1981:
First film with Divine, John Waters' "Polyester"
1982:
Appeared in the musical sequel "Grease 2"
1983:
Reteamed with Hanson as song performer ("Young Love") for "Losin' It"
1984:
Producing debut, Paul Bartel's "Lust in the Dust"; second time acting with Divine
1989:
Last film with Divine, Michael Schroeder's "Out of the Dark"; played small bit as taxi driver
1992:
Received story credit on David Hemmings' "Dark Horse"; also acted and produced
1995:
Appeared as himself in "Wild Bill, Hollywood Maverick: The Life and Times of William A Wellman"
1997:
Interviewed for A&E biography "Sophia Loren: Actress Italian Style"
1998:
Narrated the documentary "The Best of Hollywood"
2006:
Released best-selling autobiography <i>Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star</i>
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

While Hunter was under contract to Warner Bros., Jack Warner's influence won him the part of Joe Hardy in 'Damn Yankees', much to the consternation of George Abbott who had championed the role's originator, Stephen Douglass. "I felt like an outsider. To make matters worse, there was a musician's strike, so everyone sang to their own recordings, but I had to sing to Stephen Douglass' singing."

Hunter doesn't miss the film industry, but he does say there was something special about the bygone days of the studio system. "It was wonderful. They pushed people in those days. Jack Warner was supportive of the people he had under contract. If Warner said you were starting a new film, that was your job and you had to be there. Those kind of people are gone. Now the conglomerates rule the industry."---Tab Hunter in Variety, July 18-24, 1994.

"I was doing a scene with Sophia Loren, and Sidney Lumet said, "Tab, you're playing it safe. If you're going to play it safe, stay in bed all day long. It's the safest place to be." And I said, "Sidney, I will never forget that."---Tab Hunter quoted to Los Angeles Magazine, November 2004.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute