6 MONTROSE VOICE/OCTOBER 4, 1985
Hudson's Death Sets Off New Round of Attention
from page 1
sexual lifestyle that was openly known in
Hollywood. He was married to Phyllis
Gates in the fifties for three years, but it
was mainly a publicity stunt to help
increase the masculine image that the studio wanted. Gossip magazines hinted at
several male romances and even all-male
parties (some in Houston), but the public
image as a straight, macho movie star persisted until the AIDS revelation.
In the end, one of his greatest contribui-
tions to society may have been breaking
the stereotypical image that the general
public has of the homosexual male.
The actor will best be remembered by his
legion of fans for his 63 films and numerous television series made over the last 40
years. Rock Hudson (born Roy Schere in
1925) made his film debut in Fighter
Squadron (1984) and made dozens of
"tough" films like Sea Devils, Iron Man,
and Gun Fury during the early fifties.
Fame came with the success of Magnificent Obsession (1954) and the Best Actor
nomination for Giant in 1956.
The early sixties found Hudson in
hugely successful romantic comedies with
Doris Day like PillowTalk and Send Me
Rock Hudson as he appeared
"Embryo" (Carl Rentz photo)
No flowers. However, films that he made
later in the decade like Seconds, Ice Sta
tion Zebra and Darling Lili only met with
As Heckler Leaves HHS, Does
Work Against AIDS Go With Her?
By Linda Wyche
On August 30 of this year, the Houston
KS/AIDS Foundation submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services for a $225,000 education
grant. The grants were to be awarded on
When foundation administrative director Gary Beauregard telephoned a government official to inquire as to the status of
the grant, he was told that it had been put
On October 1, Margaret Heckler, secretary of HHS and the administrator who
termed AIDS "the nation's number one
health priority," was relieved of her duties
and reassigned as Ambassador to Ireland.
Heckler's removal from HHS has been
rumored for some time. She was never
viewed as being a part of President Reagan's inner-circle and many believe that
her lack of experience in the executive
branch of government limited her ability
to manage the department which carries
the nation's largest budget, this year in
excess of $300 billion. This most recent
move seems to have been spurned by
White House chief of staff Donald Regan
and other key Reagan advisors.
Will Heckler's removal have an effect on
the fight against Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome?
One reason for administration displeasure with Heckler was her differences with
conservatives in the White House.
Although she cooperated with the administration in budget issues, even greatly
limiting HHS spending, she was known to
be cognizant of the needs of the poor and
disadvantaged. While many viewed AIDS
as the "gay plague," she listed it atop the
Topic for Meeting
Lynn Waldman, a substance abuse counselor, will speak on drug addiction and
alcoholism in the gay community at the
next meeting of The Houston Gay Health
Advocates. The meeting will be held Saturday, October 5 at 7:30 at the Montrose
Counseling Center, 900 Lovett, Suite 201.
For more information, contact Steve
department's agenda. The budget for fiscal year 1986 allows for $189.7 million for
work against AIDS.
According to Michael Wilson, president
emeritus of the Houston KS/AIDS Foundation, Heckler's removal "puts everything in limbo." Wilson says, "There will
be pressure from the Right not to fund
anthing related to AIDS. Nobody—not
NIH or CDC are going to make a move.
Heckler may be a fallen victim."
On Sept. 30, just prior to Heckler's ouster, the United States Public Health Service revealed a three-goal plan that
predicted, "It is unlikely that a vaccine or
therapy to substantially limit transmission (of AIDS) will be generally available
before 1990." Heckler had earlier predicted
that such a vaccine could possibly be
available in two years.
The future of government funding to
fight AIDS rests heavily on the shoulders
of Heckler's successor. John A. Svanh, a
White House advisor who left HHS after a
year of working as Heckler's undersecretary, is considered a leading candidate for
the post. Another former HHS undersecretary, David B. Swoap, now head of the
California welfare program, and Pennsylvania Gov. Richard Thornburgh are also
being considered for the post.
Although viewed by many as controversial, Svanh appears to be the most likely
candidate. Svanh is a Reagan ally and
popular among conservatives. The new
appointee faces Congressional approval.
Heckler has not always been viewed as
responsive to the need for a grand-scale
government AIDS fight. In 1984, differences between her and Dr. James O. Mason,
acting assistant secretary for Health,
were highly publicized. According to Wilson, although terming the disease the
number one health priority, Heckler "did
not back it up." Wilson adds that Heckler
"did not understand the potential of the
problem." It has only been within the last
year that Heckler has been swayed by the
advice of researchers and pushed for
With Margaret Heckler off to Ireland,
action against AIDS, has been "put on
hold." However, over 13,000 Americans
have been diagnoaed with the dieease: ai:
estimated 500,000 to one million are
believed infected by the virus, and the
total may be climbing by 1000 to 2000 per
When his feature film career slipped in
the seventies with duds like Embryo and
Avalanche, he turned to television.
"McMillan and Wife" (1971-77) was a
big hit series, and later mini-series like
"Wheels" and "The Martian Chronicles"
helped bring him back into the public eye.
Although his "Devlin Connection" series
failed in 1982, he made a big splash on the
"Dynasty" series and made a thriller with
Robert Mitchum called The Ambassador
set in the Middle East. That was to be his
last film, and it received limited distribution.
While Hollywood was truly concerned
with Hudson's recent plight with AIDS,
there was also some disgust registered by
actresses who had worked with him that
he hadn't revealed his disease sooner. The
fear of spreading AIDS has caused panic
about intimate contact with known homosexuals on Hollywood sets, creating what
could be another form of blacklisting of
gays. The impact of a celebrity like Hudson getting AIDS certainly spotlighted the
issue, hut his death pushes the issue into a
realm of fear that could cause unneeded
With the passing of Rock Hudson, it is
interesting to note that Hollywood did not
shun him because of his sexual preference
or his disease. Friends like Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Day, and even President Reagan
sent him their best and Taylor even visited
him in the hospital. When his memoirs
come out soon, it will be interesting to see
how much Hudson is willing to tell about
his private affairs. Being of the "old
school" of Hollywood, he might wish to
keep his carefully crafted "manly" image
intact. Then again, he may have decided
to shatter the myths of the leading man
forever with tales that will curl everyone's
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