When I accidentally turned on the TV last weekend and found a tribute to the late Loretta Young, with an all day event of her old TV show Letters to Loretta, I didn’t think I’d be writing a post about George Nader…or even Rock Hudson. What interested me most about the old show was that it had been done in anthology format, where each show is just like a short story with one overall theme. In this case all shows were based on letters written to Loretta Young.
But when I found myself watching one fairly regular character in several of the shows, and saw how absolutely attractive he was, I made a note to look up his name and find out more about him. He wasn’t someone I’d ever heard of and obviously didn’t have the huge star status as Rock Hudson. But I thought he was better looking than Hudson, and had the kind of sex appeal that doesn’t wear off too soon.
In fact, he was so low-key I had trouble finding his name at first. I had to cross reference between IMDB and wiki, and even that wasn’t easy. When I finally did find his name I discovered a lot more I hadn’t planned on. The only reason I’d looked him up was because I was curious and he was so attractive. I’ve read a lot of celeb bios and I’d never heard him mentioned once…or it had been so insignificant I don’t remember. I had no idea he was gay or that he had a connection to Rock Hudson, or for that matter that he’d been one of the casualties of Hollywood back in the day when being gay could ruin a career. It’s interesting how deeply the connections actually run in Hollywood, especially with gay men. As a side note, he’s also the uncle of actor, Michael Nader of the Dynasty fame.
His name was George Nader, and this is what wiki had to say about him.
(ETA: I tried to find out whether or not it was proven in court that Hudson and Christian had a sexual relationship, and found nothing conclusive. Or, more important, what type of sexual relationship they had. Because there are distinct ways to get AIDS, and that’s important with something like this. And if Hudson never did anything that would cause Christian to get AIDS while they were together I think that’s important, too. The fact remains that Christian did NOT get AIDS from Hudson, which leaves a lot of gray area about issues we’ll never know for certain. At the time they awarded Christian the money we thought differently about HIV/AIDS and I wonder if the same verdict would have been handed down today.)
“It was obviously a groundbreaking case,” said Tammy Bruce, a former president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women and an openly gay talk show host. “It was the first public acknowledgment that gay relationships are complicated, important, and that responsibility is attached to them.”
Up until then, in spite of how many long term gay relationships there were, no one actually took gay relationships all that seriously.
But back to George Nader, who is on the right in the photo above. This article went into more detail, and confirms what I wrote above about Nader being outed.
But in the mid 1960s, ‘Confidential Magazine‘, threatened to publish the details of Nader’s homosexuality. Supposedly the studio try to cut a deal. His career in Hollywood all but dead, Nader moved to Europe, where he continued to work steadily as he appeared in several German-Italian co-productions as FBI agent Jerry Cotton.
First off, every person I met who knew Gates called her a lesbian. Not straight, not bisexual, but lesbian.
Even before she arrived in Los Angeles in 1953, Phyllis Gates had acquired something of a sapphic reputation on the other coast. “The story going aroundNew York City
Gates always claimed that she met Rock Hudson innocuously: She was working in L.A. as secretary to Henry Willson, who also repped Natalie Wood and Tab Hunter.
Mark Miller tells another story. In 1953 he and his lover, matinee idol George Nader, shared a house in Studio City, and it was there that Hudson met Gates at a small party. She arrived with Hudson’s then live-in boyfriend, Jack Navaar, with whom she’d just been to see a movie.
So George Nader’s name comes up once again in connection with Rock Hudson, and with Phyllis Gates. It shows how history is often rewritten and also shows how furtive their lives actually were. These people lived in fear of the worst kind, and I have no doubt there are still people out there who would argue all this and swear all of these people were straight. What surprised me was I’d always been under the impression that no one ever outed anyone in Hollywood, but evidently I was wrong. On occasion, they did do it. And the fall out destroyed careers. I think this puts things into more perspective now, especially when you think about the closeted gays like Merv Griffin and others who still have people protecting their names to this day, and lying about them as if being gay is the worst offense imaginable.
And guess what? It really is still happening. Matt Bomer is one of the select few who have had the courage to come out and live his life openly. It’s not just Hollywood either. It’s Washington, DC, too. There are closeted Republicans and Democrats that are married and have kids, and yet keep young gay lovers on the side, and cling to a small intimate circle where they know they are safe and no one will ever out them. I don’t blame them. They can only do what they think is best for themselves because gay is still a taboo in most places, which is why I’d never live anywhere too far from either New York or LA. I live in a very progressive place, New Hope, where there’s been gay culture for more than half a century. But if you travel anywhere in any direction ten miles away, you’re back in closet country.
Unfortunately, for gay men like George Nader, we’ll never know how big a star he could have become because he was gay. He was better looking and had more sex appeal than Rock Hudson, yet he wound up living in virtual obscurity, in the shadow of Hudson’s fame and fortune, for the rest of his life. And you really can’t blame Hudson. He only did what he had to do to survive.