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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

TCM to Remember Legendary Actor Tab Hunter on July 20

Turner Classic Movies will celebrate the life and career of acclaimed actor, pop singer, author and gay icon Tab Hunter with an eight-film tribute on Friday, July 20. Hunter, who passed away on July 8 at the age of 86, was a Hollywood heartthrob who starred in more than 40 films dating back to the 1950s and who also had a hit single “Young Love” at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks in 1957. Hunter was so popular, he knocked Elvis from the top spot and kept The Beetles from it.

Although the most well known films for which Hunter is known are Damn Yankees, Grease 2 and Battle Cry, the complete schedule for TCM's tribute to Hunter does not include these films, but rather Return to Treasure Island (1954), The Girl He Left Behind (1956), The Burning Hills (1956), and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) (for all films and times use the image above as a link to the official site). Fans will no doubt enjoy the marathon tribute no matter what films are set to air. Just looking at the gorgeous example of a man is enough to set the heart a flutter and the mind to day dreaming. Hunter was the personification of the southern California golden boy, and Hollywood did their best to maintain that illusion.

Hunter was not fooled by the craftsmen who created his new image and gave him his new name (he was born Arthur Kelm). With his blond, tanned, surfer-boy good looks, he was artificially groomed and nicknamed "The Sigh Guy" by the Hollywood studio system, yet he managed to continue his career long after his "golden boy" prime. And in fact, was recently touring with the documentary about his life based on the autobiography he released in 2015, Tab Hunter: Confidential, a true account of Hunter's life on and off screen from his own mouth.

Hunter collapsed in his front yard after a walk with his partner, Allan Glaser. He died a few hours later at the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. His death was sudden and unexpected as he was still very athletic and active for his age, still emulating the image created for him so long ago. The great joke on the studios was that Hunter already was everything they tried to make him out to be. He just wasn't a ladies man. Fortunately for Hunter, he got to live out most of his life true to himself right up until the end. Sounds like a great way to go.

Don't miss the celebration of an iconic Hollywood star's life and work on TCM July 20.

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