Today, it’s not a secret that legendary Hollywood star Rock Hudson was gay. But back in the 1950s, this was not the case. Even Hudson’s wife, Phyllis, wasn’t sure until she grilled him about his sexuality.
That grilling was all caught on tape.
A series of transcripts made from recordings taken by private investigator Fred Otash in 1958 reveal extreme tension in what had to have been a somewhat unhappy marriage. Just released to The Hollywood Reporter by Otash’s daughter, 11 boxes of the PI’s documents include some startling revelations from the Hudson marriage.
Otash’s records show angry but open communication between the spouses about Rock Hudson’s sexuality.
Rock: “I told Dr. Rankin everything. I didn’t hedge on anything at all.”
Phyllis: “You mean about homo-sexuality?”
Rock: “Yes, I told him everything, but I told you we were just talking about the movies.”
Phyllis: “Then what kept you from going back to him?”
Rock: “Oh, he doesn’t say anything. He wants me to do all the talking, and he just sits back and never says a word.”
Phyllis: “Rock, you are supposed to talk, not him. He is there to understand and guide you. There isn’t anything glandular about your homo-sexuality, it is only a freezing at an emotional state, and it’s up to the individual to grow out of it. Everyone has to help themself, Rock. No one can do it for you. Rock, your great speed with me, sexually. Are you that fast with boys?”
Results from a Rorschach test continued the conversation. Rock apparently saw “thousands of butterflies and also snakes.” She had been told this indicated femininity and penises. “I’m not condemning you,” Phyllis told her husband. “But it seems that as long as you recognize your problem, you would want to do something about it.”
Phyllis and Rock also got into an argument about whether or not the actor had been engaging in trysts with young men. “Everyone knows that you were picking up boys off the street shortly after we were married and have continued to do so, thinking that being married would cover up for you,” Phyllis said.
“I have never picked up any boys on the street,” Rock replied. “I have never picked up any boys in a bar, never. I have never picked up any boys, other than to give them a ride.”
The records from the private investigator are not limited to Rock Hudson, of course. Otash also recorded information on Marilyn Monroe (on both her death and her alleged affair with John F. Kennedy), Judy Garland, Lana Turner and more.