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All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  388 ratings  ·  87 reviews

The definitive biography of the deeply complex and widely misunderstood matinee idol of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Devastatingly handsome, broad-shouldered and clean-cut, Rock Hudson was the ultimate movie star. The embodiment of romantic masculinity in American film throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, Hudson reigned supreme as the king of Hollywood.
ebook, 512 pages
Published December 4th 2018 by Harper
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Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Someone asked me once what my philosophy of life was, and I said some crazy thing. I should have said 'What the hell do I know?'" -- Rock Hudson

Although he was the first to admit he was more 'movie star' than accomplished actor, there was a good fifteen-year or so stretch from the 50's into the 60's where Rock Hudson was the undisputed king of America's silver-screen A-list. Few other men in Hollywood could make the shift between the common genres - dramas (Magnificent Obsession), sprawling
Waleska 'Wally'
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood 50-70 years ago

All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson by Mark Griffin is a detailed , comprehensive , layered and well researched of once upon a time in Hollywood of 50-70 years ago and how Roy Fitzgerald a 22 years old from Winnetka, Illinois, became Rock Hudson the icon , the movie star , the lover , the face of Aids and so many more roles for millions of people around the world.

I enjoyed reading this biography . In a time when we have the Me Too
Russell Sanders
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I’ve read hundreds of celebrity biographies. Many’s the time I’ve been disappointed because the author skipped over or treated lightly the one movie or play the subject wrote or starred in that was my favorite, and I craved to know more. Biographer Mark Griffin, with All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson, cannot be accused of leaving anything out. Meticulously, he makes sure we know of each and every performance Hudson ever gave, complete with some anecdotes and critical appraisals. ...more
Michael Ritchie
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Between 3-1/2 and 4 stars) This is probably as complete and objective abiography of Hudson as we're likely to get. The author has certainly done his research--this is not one of those celebrity bios that is mostly made up of magazine quotes and PR puff pieces. He seems to have talked to almost everyone who knew Hudson well who is still alive, and he manages to get a lot of interesting tidbits without coming off as gossipy or sleazy. Griffin is also very good about coverage of Hudson's movie, ...more
Debra Belmudes
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
So interesting and yet, so heart breaking. I'll always remember Rock Hudson as 'Brad Allen' in Pillow Talk with Doris Day. I find it amazing, though not surprising, to learn of the many hurdles stars face and overcome to achieve their fame ... and many times, it comes at a very dear price.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since Rock Hudson's death from AIDS in 1985, there have been numerous books about him published (including his own posthumous as-told-to autobiography). But Mark Griffin's intimate, engaging and superbly researched ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS is by far the definitive biography Rock Hudson and his fans deserve.

After a stint in the navy, the Illinois-born aspiring actor moved to Los Angeles. Talent scout Henry Wilson seduced him, added him as a client and changed his name from Roy Fitzgerald to Rock
Mar 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: hollywood, gay, biography
This lame book skips through Rock Hudson's life and work with all sorts of unsupported gossip and mishandled information. Almost all of it covers material found in other books about Hudson, the footnote section is huge because most of the material is borrowed from elsewhere, and none of what is written is satisfying. In 400 pages I learned only 3 or 4 things I hadn't heard before, and some of what I know was misstated here. The author should have avoid the gossip that he couldn't prove and ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Superb Biography!

Rock Hudson was a star who was very popular. I grew up watching him in Pillow Talk and McMillian and Wife. Loved him in a way. This is a beautifully written biography that kept me riveted while reading it. The first few pages seemed dull, but then I couldn't put it down. Rock Hudson was active in his inner life and in working on movie and TV sets, but passive in managing his career by letting more knowledgeable people run it by extracting sex from him or getting sex from
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This was a long biography. The interesting parts for me were the personal ones from childhood to death.It was new to me that he suffered such abuse and neglect as a child. I have to admit that the private parts also made me feel like a voyeur. I sometimes have a bad feeling with reading biographies that were in no way approved by the actual person. It seems invasive and interpreted by the author and whoever the author speaks to for their research. Friends and family are also not the most ...more
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
For me, this was a real page turner. A lot of it I had already read in other places but the author gave more details. I loved Rock Hudson when he acted with Doris Day, those movies are go-to feel-good movies for some of my friends and I. So this book made me feel so sad for Rock, having to live a lie most of his life. He sounds like he was a really nice guy. And Elizabeth Taylor was a super friend to a lot of people, who would have thought!? I gave it only four stars because I really would have ...more
Would give this an extra half star if I could. Really a very interesting and engaging book, and seems to treat Hudson fairly, swirling together the good and the bad. As interesting as Hudson is the Hollywood scene swirling around him and the studio system that treated actors like chattel and an environment of sexual abuse and impropriety that is only just now coming to light.

Most interesting of all perhaps was that Hudson was both an abuse victim and perpetrator, although he likely would not
Ron Popp
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
It’s an ok bio. I feel like I learned more about his filmography and his friends than I did about him,however.
Traci Haley
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fun romp through old Hollywood, featuring my favorite actor! This book was enough to make me set off on an epic Rock Hudson movie binge. I wish he could have lived to see how movies and TV evolved... And how lgbtq rights evolved, as well. We still have work to do, but this certainly highlights the progress we've made.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars. Rock’s life was so incredibly complex and sad, with his constant need to and compulsion to hide his true nature. One cannot help but think how he could’ve flourished more, as his authentic self, if he’d only been born a few decades later.
Solidity into a Rock
Overshadowing his clay feet
Josiah Hatfield
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Rock Hudson clearly lived a fascinating life navigating old Hollywood as a closeted gay man who, at the same time, enjoyed his wealth and fame alongside a string of boyfriends. The book itself is well-researched though reads like a Wikipedia entry, chronicling the basic components and set-vibes of the many movies Rock starred in. I hoped to get a little richer picture of his personality and character but was left wanting in that end.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book lots of career info, I’ve read a bio by Sarah something that was more homelife stuff. He was so secretive and in the closet, yet so out there i. The gay community. He was a user and he was used. I feel like he lead a sad happy life. Biography & Memoir
ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS does not hold back any punches. Those wishing to gain a greater understanding of Rock Hudson need look no further for insight regarding his tumultuous childhood, expansive career and controversial private life. Author Mark Griffin has certainly done his research, as we get an exhaustive insider’s look at the legendary actor and his journey in achieving the American Dream during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Hudson was born and raised in the picturesque town of Winnetka,
Try as he might, author Mark Griffin doesn’t provide any new insights into Rock Hudson in this new biography. He simultaneously picks up many of the details of Robert Hofler’s salacious biography of Hudson’s slimy agent, Henry Willson; glances off the actual relationships Hudson had (all the while calling his romantic partners “longtime companions” rather than boyfriends, lovers or, you know, partners, which was a bit WTF given that it’s 2019); and gives short shrift to Hudson’s professional ...more
Darlene Torday
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Although parts of the book was interesting there was too much of this person said this or that and how he got or didn't get a part along with the plot of the movie. Just too much for me and no real feeling of the kind of person Rock Hudson was when not acting.
Jeffrey Powanda
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay
Excellent biography of Hollywood legend Rock Hudson (Roy Fitzgerald), the gay movie star who died of AIDS in 1985.

The book shines in the chapters on Hudson's difficult early life. Hudson grew up poor in Illinois, was abandoned by his father, and he and his mom were physically abused by his drunken stepfather, a traumatic ordeal. He served for two years in the Navy during World War II, and then moved to L.A. to find work in Hollywood. He struggled in odd jobs until he was discovered by predatory
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the only book you will ever have to read about Rock Hudson. I am so happy to have read it on so many levels.

1. It is very well written and documented. The author has an easy readable style that carried me along to the unfortunate end. You may or may not empathize with Hudson’s life style but the man is laid bare as he was never able to in life. My personal take: So smart in professionally but so stupid in his personal life.

2. I grew up in the 40s and 50s. Rock Hudson was a Hollywood name
Lee Ann
Jul 10, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I don't remember the review I read, but I was looking forward to this book. I was disappointed. The only thing I learned was that Rock Hudson was a nice man, kind to everyone on a set from the lead to the janitor. Adding to my disappointment in the book is reading reviews by others who seem better versed in Hudson biographies and claim that much of author Mark Griffin's text is rehashing and quoting from previously published books.

It feels like author Griffin has an agenda, but it's not clear
Russell Fletcher
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the record, I received an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) of this book with the request that I leave a voluntary honest review for other potential readers. That having been said, here is my honest opinion and review of this book. While the subject matter is excellent and treated with great care for a narrative that is fascinating, entertaining and easy to read, the formatting of the pdf version of the book was quite problematic. Periodically, a certain page would suddenly keep showing up and ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Life's too short. Who the hell cares if he's queer? The man plays great chess." John Wayne on Rock Hudson

Was Rock Hudson perfection itself? In so many ways. I have loved him ever since I can remember. I saw Giant when I was young, and though I knew James Dean was supposed to be the one, I could not take my eyes off of Hudson, who in that and almost all his films, exuded a sort of sincere pain which never turned on you, but instead brought you in closer. He made you look at it, turn it over in
Lebanon Public Library
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
All That Heaven Allows is the masterful biography of Rock Hudson, a masculine movie star forced to live a lie or lose out on his dream career. Coming across the silver screen as a sexual icon oozing virility, Hudson’s real demeanor as a lovable and laid-back gay man clashes dramatically with his onscreen counterpart. The insightful biographer Mark Griffin delves deep into the gentle Giant star’s life to bring to light the constant confliction Rock Hudson faced as the King of Hollywood’s Golden ...more
Dominique King
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Griffin tells the story of the actor's life that started out with trials and tribulations at the hands of his father and stepfather...and continued through it's sad end when he died of AIDS-related cancer. People heard lots of whispers about celebrities during those years, and the emotional trauma and rejection Hudson suffered throughout his life is a sad commentary on those decades, culminating in some lonely times and deaths when people were afraid and unable to accept the real lives of ...more
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a long biography. The interesting parts for me were the personal ones from childhood to death.It was new to me that he suffered such abuse and neglect as a child. I have to admit that the private parts also made me feel like a voyeur. I sometimes have a bad feeling with reading biographies that were in no way approved by the actual person. It seems invasive and interpreted by the author and whoever the author speaks to for their research. Friends and family are also not the most ...more
Phillip Oliver
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a solidly researched biography of the last great "studio manufactured" Hollywood star. The author conducted interviews with family, friends and co-workers and had access to an impressive list of sources including the diaries of George Nader and Mark Mitchell, who were Hudson's closet friends. Hudson loved his work and strived for the best and every production he was involved in is covered here with good detail. His private life as a closeted gay man is given much attention, including all ...more
Emily Pennington
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I grew up watching Rock Hudson’s movies and television, and I absolutely loved him in all of it. Aside from his good looks, his entire demeanor in many of my favorites gave off fun-loving vibes that made almost everyone love him. Learning his “secret” made no difference to me. He was such a good actor and made me laugh. I could not to this day pick my favorite movie – I loved every one of them. So reading this biography was too tempting to pass up. Rock Hudson will always be a hero to me. How ...more
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“We were shooting in a little village up near the Austrian border, near the Alps. It’s the last shot of the picture and I had to come out of a building sobbing, walking right past the camera. And De Sica saw that the director didn’t know how to tell me what to do . . . We went into a dressing room and in his very limited English, talked to me. And he got me so grief stricken that I couldn’t stop crying. I did the scene and that was that.” 1 likes
“It must be hard to switch from Doris Day to Roger Vadim,” journalist Bob Colacello suggested to Hudson when they chatted for Andy Warhol’s Interview. “That’s the fun of it,” Rock responded. “Ideally, I’d like to do a drama, a comedy, a western, a love story, a musical . . . I’ve tried every way I know to diversify.” 1 likes
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