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Tab Hunter, the actor who found fame in the 1950s as a Hollywood heartthrob but who was forced to cover up his gay sexuality, has died aged 86.

His spouse, film producer Allan Glaser, said Hunter died Sunday of a blood clot in his leg that caused cardiac arrest.

Meanwhile, his longtime love Glaser produced a 2015 documentary about Hunter entitled Tab Hunter Confidential, in which the actor discussed being a closeted gay man in Hollywood while simultaneously being seen as one of its biggest hunks.

Hunter's 1957 Dot Records recording of "Young Love", which stayed at No. 1 on the charts for six weeks, also spurred the creation of Warner Bros. But as he later revealed in his 2005 memoir, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, he was actually carrying on a long-term relationship with "Psycho" actor Anthony Perkins.

The fuss over the young actor began two years later when he appeared bare-chested opposite Linda Darnell in the British-made "Island of Desire".

Hunter also starred in "Battle Cry" (1955), "The Girl He Left Behind" (1956), "Burning Hill " s (1956) and two movies with drag queen icon Divine, "Polyester" (1981) and "Lust in the Dust" (1985). "The dilemma, of course, that was being true to myself - and I'm talking sexually now - was impossible in 1953". "I'm very grateful for this road that I've been on - it's been a good one".

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It was Willson who gave him his stage name of "Tab Hunter" and he soon signed with Warner Bros., which is now owned by CNN's parent company AT&T. Glaser also shared with THR that Hunter's passing was "unexpected and sudden".

Born Arthur Andrew Kelm, Hunter's screen tab - the slang at the time for "name" - was fabricated by Henry Willson, the same talent agent who came up with the names Rock Hudson and Rory Calhoun, among the slew of Hollywood stars in those days with manufactured names.

By 1950 the new actor had nabbed a small role in the film "The Lawless".

Hunter was a mega star, most remembered for 1958's classic Damn Yankees.

"I thought, 'Look, get it from the horse's mouth and not from some horse's ass after I'm dead and gone, '" he told the Reporter in 2015. Zachary Quinto, who is now working on a movie about Hunter's life and love with Anthony Perkins, wrote a long tribute to the actor on his Instagram account.

In June it was announced that JJ Abrams and Zachary Quinto are producing the movie "Tab & Tony" about the secret love affair.


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