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Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  669 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Welcome to Hollywood, circa 1950, the end of the Golden Age. A remarkably handsome young boy, still a teenager, gets "discovered by a big-time movie agent. Because when he takes his shirt off young hearts beat faster, because he is the picture of innocence and trust and need, he will become a star. It seems almost preordained. The open smile says, "You will love me," and s ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published September 8th 2006 by Algonquin Books (first published 2005)
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Richard Derus
Jan 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: Welcome to Hollywood, circa 1950, the end of the Golden Age. A remarkably handsome young boy, still a teenager, gets "discovered by a big-time movie agent. Because when he takes his shirt off young hearts beat faster, because he is the picture of innocence and trust and need, he will become a star. It seems almost preordained. The open smile says, "You will love me," and soon the whole world does.

The young boy's name was Tab Hunter: a made-up name, of cours
Jean Marie Angelo
Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This autobiography is far better written and funnier than I expected it to be. I belong to a book group that sometimes reads serious fiction that is good for us. And sometimes we go Hollywood. I knew nothing about Tab Hunter when I downloaded this title. But I thank my gay guy friend who wanted to read this. It is a wonderful story of an actor caught between the old studio system and the emerging movie and indie markets of the 1970s and later. I'll be looking for the new documentary of the same ...more
Carol Storm
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
So much fun to read! Tab Hunter never takes himself too seriously, yet he has something interesting to say on every page. Loved his wry commentary on RIDE THE WILD SURF, one of my all time favorite beach movies!
Barry Hammond
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've got to admit I wasn't much of a Tab Hunter fan when going to the movies growing up. The idea of manufacturing clean-cut, All-American stars for teenager's consumption (like Tab, Troy Donahue, Pat Boone, Ed "Kookie" Burns and Fabian)was against any ideas I had of reality, talent in acting and the epitome of false, plastic, money-hungry Eisenhower America. However, what I failed to take into account as a young man was that there were actually live, breathing human beings behind these images, ...more
Larry Benjamin
Arthur Gelien’s rise from stable boy to Hollywood Heartthrob and Matinee Idol is no less fantastic than his made up name: Tab Hunter. Yet “Tab Hunter Confidential” packs all the emotional resonance of a Wikipedia entry. Hunter recounts his life story from a distance and with dispassion. When he suffers a stroke he writes:

“I’d actually suffered a stroke. I’d done a shitty job of learning to live with less hit me over the head with a sledgehammer—shutting me down completely…I needed
 Gigi Ann
Jun 11, 2015 rated it liked it
My Thoughts...

I always kinda enjoy reading these autobiographies of the old time movie stars that were famous when I was a teen-ager, Tab was one of those stars. I am from the 50s era so when I was 14-15-16 years old was when Tab was at his most famous. (I am 74 at this writing.)

As a youngster I always enjoyed reading the movie magazines to see what the stars were doing and what movies I could look forward to seeing. As a naive teen-ager I believed everything I read about my favorite stars. In
3.5 stars

Tab Hunter was a 1950s movie star and heartthrob; he was also gay. This is his autobiography that tells of a fatherless, good-looking, but extremely shy boy who was approached at 14-years old as he was working in a stable to ask if he was interested in being a movie star.

I don't often read celebrity bios. I wasn't born till the 70s, and to be honest, I hadn't heard of Tab Hunter until this book. I realized as I read the book that I have seen him in one movie – he had a small part as on
Mar 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, queer, sucked
Mr. Hunter is a homophobe with no capacity for self-reflection.

His autobiography was so dissapointing. His life story has some interesting contradictions. Like the fact that he's a gay man and a devout Catholic. Or that he was a closeted teen heartthrob. But he doesn't really touch on any of this.

I read this book hoping to get some insight into gay life before queer liberation. I mean, this guy was on the gay scene pre-Stonewall. He was even arrested by the police just because he was at a house
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography
I had never heard of Tab Hunter prior to reading this autobiography. I had only stumbled over images of him on Tumblr blogs of old Hollywood stars. The more I looked into his life the more interesting it became. I had just finished ‘The Lion of Hollywood’ – the life of Louis B Mayer and the MGM studio system. It was this system, albeit at Warner Brothers in this case, of which Tab Hunter was a part. Surprisingly the studio system can mean something abstract to a reader unless you read about some ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fun autobiography of a Hollywood star when glamour, style, and a little mystique still ruled. Tab Hunter is very candid and seems very sincere and honest in his recounting of his life.
Mar 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Tab Hunter is a pretty boy, starting a movie career late 40's that the big studios of old Hollywood had all of the teen girls (and I'm sure some teenage boys) drooling over every bit of gossip, photo and movie that he was in. Labeled as the "Sigh Guy," Tab definitely had the looks to match his following. Compared to today's standards, his looks are equivalent to an Abercrombie model. Included in the book are several photos of Tab, both from his personal collection and from the various films and ...more
Nov 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
It's true Tab couldn't sustain much of a career past the early 60s, but he managed to turn over a leaf and poke fun at himself by the 70s and 80s, not bothering to come out even though he was making love onscreen to Divine twice and even donning cheerleader drag in one film. His auto-bio is interesting and easy to get through, but he stops short of really laying his full emotions and feelings out there when it comes to his sexuality and his position in H-Town as a closted homosexual. There's a d ...more
Lee Miller
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I knew little about Tab Hunter before reading this book and couldn't name one Tab Hunter movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging, informative, and fascinating story. Every page has insights into the movie business, movie history, and Hollywood society. Hunter's professional history spans the full range of a working actor's career, from struggling between parts to becoming a movie superstar during the last days of the studio contract system, to being a huge pop star, to working in televisio ...more
Aug 15, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting, if slightly polarizing read. I'm used to biographies, whereas there's a lot more personal observations in an autobiography. Tab Hunter comes across as many things in his account of his life: an animal lover, a workaholic, a man with a difficult relationship with his mother and religion. He also seems to be a mediocre actor who wants to live the high life and act on his schedule, but complain when things don't work out as he'd like. With biographies I rarely dislike the person, wh ...more
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a whirlwind of a life Tab Hunter has led! I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir of his long, complex, rich, and sometimes riotous life. A life lived just before, during, and now well past the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Mr. Hunter is surely a survivor! A strong, determined, multi-talented man, who has come safely through the tests of inner conflict, societal ignorance and discrimination, and the punishing vicissitudes of Hollywood and emerged remarkably grounded and grateful for all the blessings al
Yancy Jones
Aug 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in 1950's Hollywood
This is a look into Tab Hunter's early career in the 50's as one of the last Hollywood "Tean Hearthrobs" under contract with MGM. Tab talks about his relations with other young gay movie stars at the time and also his friendships with leading ladies such as Natalie Wood and Debbie Reynolds.It's a fascinating look into the under world of the studio's strong-hold on it actors, and the lengths they went thru to cover up any possible marks on their image. I recommend this book; and the pictures are ...more
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hollywood fans, old school showbiz fans
Not as much of a bummer as the Henry Willson book, thank heavens, but still an excellent peek at the Hollywood that up-to-now hasn't been written about.

I enjoyed Hunter not only discussing his life, but that of other cool actors of his generation like Anthony Perkins, Roddy MacDowall, and even Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies, who started out as an aspiring actor.

There's lots of great stuff here. I read this in Palm Springs, and what could be a more perfect locale for reading this
Mar 11, 2011 rated it liked it
My mother gave me this book and insisted i read it, though it's not about my period of interest in Hollywood. But it turned out to be quite an enjoyable and interesting read. A lightweight book is a relief sometimes after lots of academic tomes, and i quite enjoyed it. Not too dishy or unkind, but simple, straightforward and pleasantly entertaining.
Dec 16, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though not the best writing, it was very interesting to hear this man's story in his own words. The anecdotes he provides about Hollywood's Golden Age of hiding men in the closet, fixing them up with the next big starlette, and the quick rises and falls from fame were very endearing. A nice, quick read!
Nancy Loe
Oct 26, 2007 rated it liked it
I can't say I ever thought much about TaBUNter (as he says New Yorkers referred to him) and his autobio is ok but no blinding insights into either his life or his times.
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very good autobiography. Tab is very honest about himself.
Better than I expected memoir of becoming a Hollywood star, then the slow decline. And couple that with his double life as a gay man when that would not only ruin a career but was illegal. The way he describes that part of his life, it seems he was about as out as someone could be without being “out’--He lived with Anthony Perkins and other men, went to gay parties (and got arrested). He describes an interesting evolution from reluctant teen idol/movie star to becoming serious about his career t ...more
If you enjoyed listening to Robert Osborne talk about movies on TMC, you'll most likely enjoy this book. Overall, it has a mellow and reflective quality of a man recounting his life and the times he lived in while keeping much of his private life private. This book is not full of TMZ style scandals or salacious bits. It does give you insight into the contract system in old Hollywood and behind the scenes commentary. Mostly, the author conveys a fuller picture of who he is and his off screen life ...more
Barbra Ann
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: struggle
At first it seems that Art 'Tab' .... renamed 'Hunter' because of his love of horses, is a self-centered story of a spoiled Hollywood kid and for chapters it sustains an incredible degree of denial and confusion, but by the end, you are grateful Tab wrote this barefaced autobiography. The book describes the studio system of the 50s and 60s .... ouch ... echo of HW. Tab, his brother, mother, partners and gallivanting around with movie stars and their wives, recommended. More power to you, Tab.
Eric Perry
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great insight to Hollywood culture and goings-on from the mid-century to today. Especially interesting for the LGBTQ readers (maybe more specifically gay men) out there on gay history and the evolution of being gay pre, during, and post AIDS crisis.
Janina Skaret
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A compelling story

I admire the ease of pace in which this was written. An interesting life, told in such a way, I felt I was reading about a friend. Smiles and tears. I was sorry when it ended.
Jan Olson
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It took me back in time of the real Hollywood.

I really enjoyed this book. It took be back to when all the actors were under contract to various studios.
Steven Kinzler
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Come on, Tab Hunter. Swoon . . .
Dec 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Well, that was disappointing. Too lightweight, too mild, too vague.
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly Entertaining

Those who have any interest in how show business works, will find this account of the rise and fall of a popular movie star fascinating. Tab Hunter, by all accounts, a nice and well brought up young man, multi-talented, and blessed with amazing good looks is sometimes sought after, sometimes rejected, and sometimes betrayed. Through it all, he remains philosophical. Now in retirement, he reviews his life and the many famous people with whom he interacted with a critical bu
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Tab Hunter (born Arthur Andrew Kelm) is an American actor, singer, former teen idol and author who has starred in over forty major motion pictures.

In Hunter's 2005 autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, he acknowledged his homosexuality, confirming rumors that had circulated since the height of his fame.
More about Tab Hunter

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