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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not great, but not awful either
Never exactly a major screen idol, Tab Hunter was nether-the-less a star in his prime- and a well known recording artist to boot. He was also really hot, which is probably why this book has been written- because it certainly does dwell a lot more on his personal life than his professional one.
Having said that, its quite a well done biog (as biogs go). Needs a lot...
Published on 8 Dec. 2005 by M. Notman

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Keeping Tabs!
Tab Hunter was the 1950s, Hollywood-style. He met nearly everyone and was gay at a time when such things had to be kept top secret. This should have been a fascinating story, but although I read it avidly to the end, I didn't feel he was telling all the story, and he certainly comes across as one of the unluckiest people I have ever read about...nothing worked out...
Published on 20 Mar. 2006 by Simon Cooper


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not great, but not awful either, 8 Dec. 2005
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M. Notman "northernfag" (sheffield uk) - See all my reviews
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Never exactly a major screen idol, Tab Hunter was nether-the-less a star in his prime- and a well known recording artist to boot. He was also really hot, which is probably why this book has been written- because it certainly does dwell a lot more on his personal life than his professional one.
Having said that, its quite a well done biog (as biogs go). Needs a lot more pictures, but its well written and very readable even if my copy has the smudgiest ink ive ever encountered in a book! Dont wear white to read it!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Keeping Tabs!, 20 Mar. 2006
Tab Hunter was the 1950s, Hollywood-style. He met nearly everyone and was gay at a time when such things had to be kept top secret. This should have been a fascinating story, but although I read it avidly to the end, I didn't feel he was telling all the story, and he certainly comes across as one of the unluckiest people I have ever read about...nothing worked out for him, not his career, his love-life, his friends, his mother, and many friends died young (Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Anthony Perkins, Nureyev, Rock Hudson, etc etc etc). If you thought Tab Hunter was great-looking and remember "Young Love" and all the magazine-covers, I'd say this was must-reading, but I wish he'd been a tad more frank. If you're going to write an autobiography, the least you can do is TELL ALL!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood In The ifties, 4 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star (Paperback)
Tab Hunter was a client of the infamous agent,Henry Willson.Willson renamed all of his clients so thus we have such names as Rock Hudson,Guy Madison and the author.Willson had a lot of pull and maaged to get Hunter a 5 year contract with Warner Brothers.However like many of Willson's clients he was gay.So he had to go through the charade of dates with starlets.He was featured in Confidential but seemed to escape unscathed.Eventually he decided to get out of his contract with Warners.His film career never really recovered but he made a steady living in summer stock and the dinner theatre circuit.This is a thoughtful book with much insight on the mores of the period.You feel that the author has been reasonably frank and honest about his life.One complaint i found that the print in my paperback version to be extremely small.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreams come true, 12 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star (Paperback)
Tab has written a book which gives an insight into how things were both in his life and also during the times in the USA. There is a flow in the book, and having now read the book twice in a period of 3 months, I have found it enjoyable and informative.

This is not a book to have you rivetted to your seat; it is not a book of exposes; it is a reminisce on someone's life, and whilst it probably doesn't tell us everything (and why should he), it does at least flesh out the man.

I fell in love with Tab when I frist saw him in films, and I have to say today that looking at the photographs in the book have made me realise why! He was and is a dreamboat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tab Hunter, 23 Sept. 2009
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For lovers of autobiogrpahies of the film community of Hollywood, especially those days or a past naive era, this is a great book to read and highly recommended. It covers his rise to fame and relationships and the Hollywood star system of the 1950s and how it covered up much of the true life activities during that era. A wonderful insight into the Hollywood star system of the past and a deep insight into one of its youngest finds and stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good insight into the studio system and how it used and abused., 16 May 2014
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This review is from: Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star (Paperback)
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 someone on the other side of it – and that was where this autobiography came in useful.

It is worth remembering that Tab Hunter (his screen name over which he had no control) or Art Gelien celebrated his 82nd birthday this year. He has suffered heart attacks and strokes but still battles on forever the optimist. This book was his testament and his attempt to get his side of the story out before a tabloid journalist decided to write a version based only on old newspaper reports and magazine ‘interviews’. The reader should bear in mind that a fair few of his contemporaries are still alive and if they aren’t their beneficiaries are and even the dead can make money for them. A lot of what he could have written would be unverifiable because it would be his word against theirs – who else would have been part of the encounter? I suspect the passage of time dims a lot of his memories of how a late teenager made his way in Hollywood in the 50s. The casting couch had men on it as well as women.
Although an avid film lover, and his distant, cold, ever working German mother made sure he had every reason to flee to the cinema for a break from reality, Tab Hunter had no burning ambition to be an actor. He never attended acting school and found the whole thing off putting. His first sexual encounter was in a cinema when he was fourteen and it wasn’t his last. If you look at the photographs of him you can see why he was the object of so much interest even at so young an age. He was very, very attractive and the camera loved him. Acting was an extra. Louis B Mayer never worried if someone with that X factor could act – as long as they could perform they would find a slot for him. Tab Hunter fell into this box at Warners. They knew they had a product – now they just needed to package it. He was to be sold to the emerging teenage market.
They didn’t do a very good job of it though. He peaked very young and although he wanted to learn the craft the studio wasn’t too concerned and loaned him out for quite hefty fees to other studios where he was contractually obliged to go. Whether he wanted to be in the film or what he thought of it were irrelevant. He was a successful product. With the studio system he was only paid a weekly salary which was peanuts compared to what the studio was earning from him.

Likewise his singing career. He never wanted to be a singer – only ever sang in the shower according to himself. However a small record company felt they could cash in on his teenage girl popularity and run off a few records that were bound to sell. His voice is passable enough. Anyone who has had to endure Rod Stewart will find it a relief. He made a small fortune from a few songs which shocked him. The shock was the fact that the studio had first call on all income derived from the product ‘Tab Hunter’ so they took most of it. He was terribly unlucky.

He is sometimes criticised for not ‘dishing the dirt’ on other closeted celebrities but he doesn’t seem the type of person to want to cause others discomfort. The gay liberation movement passed him by living as he did in Hollywood and spending years on the move where he could find any work. And even if he was aware of it he hadn’t the temperament or interest in marching. He was never open because making a living for him was very touch and go and he was robbed of his money by some very untrustworthy men that he had to start again on a regular basis. Basically he was just too trusting. If it hadn’t been for his manager he would have been left penniless. His repressed childhood with his overbearing mother didn’t lead to a grown man with healthy self esteem. He didn’t know what he was for most of his life and explains this. If he didn’t talk about it he didn’t have to confront it. When he was at his peak homosexuality was defined as a mental illness and a criminal offence. Even the Hollywood elite lived in fear of being exposed at a party.

What I found fascinating in the book was the whole public persona that was fabricated by the studio for their product ‘Tab Hunter’. He recounts standing at a news stand in Hollywood with his unemployment cheque for $55 reading all about the wonderful life he was living and how the glamorous life of a Hollywood star was playing out for him. He’d never been interviewed but he was reading about his romantic interests, his family and where he was going to go next. As if he had any say in the matter. He spends a lot of time quoting articles from the enormously popular teen magazines of the time and how none of it bore any resemblance to reality. Makes you wonder how true anything you read about today is.
Art Gelien is a nice man basically. He was much used and when of no more use as a cash cow he was disposed of. He never felt he became the actor he could have become because his looks always got in the way and no one could see beyond the face. He writes extensively about his love of horses from his youth and they figure quite a lot. The horsed grounded him but they cost him a lot of money too. Without that grounding he may have gone off the rails. He finally had the courage to out himself by starring with Divine in Polyester but even at that late stage he was castigated for kissing a man (albeit one in drag). After this he became much more settled in himself as a gay man but it was a very long journey.
This is not a salacious book but it is a very interesting one. You will never read an interview with a Hollywood ‘star’ in the same light again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great dignity, 7 Oct. 2014
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Alison Petrie - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star (Paperback)
People like Tab Hunter cleared the way for the modern gay community and, after reading this book, I have the utmost respect for him as an individual.

He has conducted himself with great dignity and I cannot begin to imagine how he coped with the constant probing into his private life when he was a "pin up" in the 50s.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A hoot!, 12 Mar. 2015
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Bungo (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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A real wallow in Hollywood fan mag legends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star (Paperback)
A1
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SPLIT PERSONALITY, 26 Dec. 2005
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M. Russell "Michel" (Winchester.) - See all my reviews
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I was told by a friend that this book was not available thro' bookshops in the UK, so he bought one on Amazon and lent me his copy. It is well-written but it stops short of being very good!
Throughout the biography he tells us several times of how he looks after his mother, financial wise, although keeps saying its a 'promise', even though they row a lot! He seems to be almost broke one minute, but buys a horse the next, and then being robbed of everything, including antiques, then next buys a house to owing money to Warner Bros. One night stands, movie and ballet stars and forever 'on the road' to make ends meet.
He is not a Hollywood star anymore but many fans want to see the 'movie star' in all his glory. He likes older women and settles down with partners of guys decades younger.
Perhaps in the end he should have stuck to horses and became a pretty boy breeder or now write a screenplay of his life with Heath Ledger in the lead?
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Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star
Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star by Eddie Muller (Paperback - 18 Sept. 2006)
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