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Tab Hunter's 80th Birthday
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,Tab Hunter

Tab Hunter's 80th Birthday
Monday, July 11 - 5 Movies

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).

Biographical data supplied by TCMdb

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