Tab Hunter, Actor and ’50s Hollywood Golden Boy, Dies at 86

Hunter was the subject of an award-winning 2015 documentary about his closeted gay life in Hollywood’s golden age

tab hunter
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Tab Hunter, who rose to fame as a movie star in 1950s Hollywood with his California surfer-boy looks, has died at age 86, according to a Facebook page closely tied to the star.

The cause of death was not disclosed. A rep for the actor did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Hunter, who starred in such films as 1955’s “Battle Cry,” 1956’s “The Burning Hills” and the 1958 musical “Damn Yankees,” also parlayed his onscreen success into music, scoring a Billboard hit with the 1956 single “Young Love.”

The star later found a younger cult audience playing opposite the drag queen Divine in John Waters’ 1981 film “Polyester” and Paul Bartel’s 1985 film “Lust in the Dust.”

In his 2005 memoir “Tab Hunter Confidential,” he disclosed that he had remained a closeted gay man in Hollywood’s golden age — with studio-approved relationships with female co-stars like Natalie Wood to cover for his actual affairs with men like “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins.

Hunter’s memoir was adapted into an award-winning documentary in 2015.

His three-year affair with Perkins is also the subject of a newly announced film, “Tab & Tony,” with star Zachary Quinto and producer J.J. Abrams.

The actor was in a relationship with producer Allan Glaser (“Lust in the Dust”) for three decades.

“Tab passed away tonight three days shy of his 87th birthday,” his Facebook page announced late Sunday night. “Please honor his memory by saying a prayer on his behalf. He would have liked that.”