Category: george nader

Gay Hollywood: The George Nader-Rock Hudson Connection; Just Don’t Be Gay

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.

In the mid-1950s, rumors about Nader’s homosexuality began to surface. Nader’s life partner was Mark Miller, who later worked as Hudson’s personal secretary for 13 years.[5][6] Nader’s career in Hollywood ended, he and Miller moved to Europe, where he found steady work in films. His most notable role during this period was as FBI agent “Jerry Cotton” in a German film series where he became the number two most popular film star in Germany behind Lex Barker.
There’s more on wiki, but I thought this part was the most interesting. And wiki only touches the surface of what allegedly happened to George Nader. According to this article below, Nader’s agent did him in, told reporters he was gay, and basically sacrificed him to the wolves in order to protect Rock Hudson. Pay attention to the magnitude of what it was like to be gay in Hollywood: he had to move to Europe! That’s how horrible it was to be gay.
Hudson’s death last month made carrying on as usual impossible for Christian. In his will, Hudson reportedly left the bulk of his estimated $27 million estate (much of it from the TV show McMillan and Wife) to Mark Miller and Miller’s close friend, George Nader. An actor colleague during Hudson’s contract days at Universal, Nader’s career was sabotaged by Confidential magazine when the studio traded a report on Hudson’s sexuality for a report on Nader’s. Contends Christian, “Guilt is what prompted Rock to leave most of his estate to George Nader.” Clark, who had fallen out of favor with Rock until his return to Hudson’s side last August, was purposely omitted from the will, which had been drawn up in August 1981 and amended three years later following his AIDS diagnosis. Miller and Nader are now residing in Hudson’s home.
For those who don’t know, Marc Christian was Rock Hudson’s lover for a short time just before Hudson died of AIDS. If you read between the lines, Christian was probably nothing more than just a trick who stuck around longer than most. After Hudson died, Christian tried to sue the his estate, claiming he’d never been told Hudson had AIDS and the trauma had ruined his life. As far as I know, Christian never got AIDS. But that didn’t seem to be the point. The point of the suit was that Christian felt he should have been told, everyone had kept it a secret from him, and a jury ultimately awarded him a large sum of money a few years later.

(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.)

But Christian made and interesting reference to George Nader, and Nader’s long time partner of over fifty years, Mark Miller. Both Miller and Nader had been lifelong friends of Hudson and they wound up getting most of his estate. In more than one place, I read that Hudson always felt guilty about Nader being outed when it was really Hudson they wanted to out. The bottom line here is that when it was reported that Nader was gay, his career in Hollywood was over. Though he never recovered from that blow, he did go on to write a gay science fiction novel, “Chrome.” And, Nader and his partner, Miller, remained together as a couple for fifty-five years.
When Marc Christian died from causes that were unrelated to AIDS in 2009, the Washington Post wrote this interesting article.

“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.

This one gets into more details about Hudson’s involvement. Supposedly, Hudson considered Nader and Miller his family, not just friends. Whether or not there was a three-way between them all will never be acknowledged. And I’m only mentioning this because I know more than a few three-way long term gay relationships. This, trust me, is the ultimate taboo because even gays turn away on their own.
George and Rock shared an agent, the infamous Henry Willson. Confidential magazine was about to expose Rock as a homosexual, and since Rock was the biggest star in Willson’s stable (which included such 50s hotties as Ty Hardin, Guy Madison, Troy Donahue and Tab Hunter), Willson would do ANYTHING to keep his biggest meal ticket’s private life a secret. So instead of letting Confidential out Rock, he “threw them a bone” and outed George (who was never more than a B-picture leading man anyway) as gay. It effectively killed George’s career, but Rock was safe. To make sure Rock was protected, Willson arranged for his secretary Phyllis Gates to marry Rock.
Speaking of Phyllis Gates, I’d always been under the impression poor dear innocent Phyllis had been duped into marrying Hudson, and she didn’t know he was gay. The poor dear had no idea. According to this, nothing could be farther from the truth. She knew the importance of remaining in the closet, too. Lesbians got even more flack than gay men back then. The article below was written after the author read a fluffy obit about her that mentioned nothing at all about her being a lesbian. Not surprising; they don’t even talk about it when people die NOW.
Strange, isn’t it, how memories differ? Not one of the more than 200 people I interviewed for the biography The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson remembered Phyllis quite the way McLellan and other obit writers have.

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 around New 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.