We’re doing something unusual this time — devoting the upcoming week entirely to one actor. We’ll start off with our usual Monday Quiz followed by assessments of relevant films and wind up with a general career assessment from Joe.
We believe that Rock Hudson — the first A-list Hollywood star to succumb of AIDS — was often an underestimated actor whose performances quietly buoyed many pictures including at least one vintage 1956 movie classic, George Steven’s Giant.
Hudson was certainly phenomenally durable in his time. His career spanned more than 70 movie and TV titles over nearly four decades beginning in 1948 when the big Hollywood studios ruled. Later, in the Seventies, he turned himself into a big name TV star in the McMillan & Wife series, later simply known as McMillan.
We suspect that many of you know Hudson principally for the circumstances surrounding the unsuccessful battle with AIDS that ended in his death on Oct. 2, 1985. (The former Roy Harold Scherer Jr. was just 59.) But in this Monday morning quiz, undertaken as a tribute to Hudson, we’ve tried to emphasize the actor’s career.
So, here we go. Let’s find out how much you really know about Rock Hudson. (As usual, the answers to our mind-tickling questions will be published in tomorrow’s blog.)
1) Question: Hudson was nominated for a best actor Oscar in 1957 for his role as Texas rancher Bick Benedict in Giant. He didn’t win, but who did and which of the following were also nominated that year in the best actor category? a) Kirk Douglas, b) Walter Pidgeon; c) James Dean; d) Laurence Olivier; e) Yul Brynner.
2) Question: It’s part of Hollywood lore that it took multiple takes get a satisfactory scene from Hudson in his first movie, in which he was required to deliver one line. How many takes did the scene require? a) 11; b) 38; c) nine; or d) 40. (And while you’re at it, can you identify the title of Hudson’s movie debut?)
3) Question: Did Hudson intensely dislike the strict limitations imposed on star actors by the old studio system? And didn’t he express his dissatisfaction early and often? a) True or 2) False?
4) Question: Two of these actresses were personally very close to Hudson during much of his professional life? Can you identify the pair? a) Mamie Van Doren and Jane Powell; b) Marilyn Maxwell and Claire Trevor; c) Dorothy Malone and Juliet Prowse; or d) Carol Burnett and Nancy Reagan.
5) Question: Hudson’s closest male friends were a couple of B actors. Which of the following were they? a) Mark Miller and George Nader; b) Tab Hunter and Vincent Price; c) Marc Christian and Scott Thorson; or d) Rod Taylor and Don Burnett.
6) Question: Which of the following were Hudson’s favorites of the movie he made? a) 1961’s Lover Come Back; b) 1959’s Pillow Talk; c) 1956’s Giant; or d) 1966’s Seconds.
7) Question: Hudson’s admiration of Doris Day as a comedy partner was limitless. But he openly expressed disdain of another actress whom he felt was “not funny” but thought she was. Which of the following is that unfunny actress? a) Mae West; b) Shelley Winters; c) Zsa Zsa Gabor; or d) Jane Wyman.
8) Question: Ok, we had to ask this one. How did Rock Hudson get his marquee name? (Any interpretation of this great moment will suffice.)
9) Question: Hudson was briefly married to the secretary of his agent. Can you name her? a) Vera Ellen; b) Julia Adams; c) Lori Nelson; or d) Phyllis Gates.
10) Question: Hudson had a surprisingly difficult time adjusting to the demands of a TV series. Why? a) He disliked the di.rector he worked with on McMillan & Wife; b) felt TV was a comedown from starring in movies; c) disliked the faster production pace necessitated on a series; or d) he resented the lousy scripts