Tab Hunter will host a screening of the cinematic
in the Dust.’
Hunter, a Hollywood star whose career began as a 1950s heartthrob and
the author of the recent national bestseller “Tab Hunter Confidential:
The Making of a Movie Star,” will be appearing at the 11th annual
North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (NCGLFF) on Saturday,
Hunter will host a screening of his cult classic film “Lust in the
Dust,” starring himself, Divine and Lainie Kazan. Afterwards, he
will participate in an on-stage Q&A, followed by a book signing and
the festival’s reception, where Hunter will be the guest of honor.
For many years a major star of screen, stage, and television, Hunter
appeared in more than 50 films, including the hits “Damn Yankees,” “They
Came to Cordura,” “That Kind of Woman” and “Battle
Cry.” His feature roles in “Lust in the Dust” (which
he also produced) along with John Waters’s “Polyester” solidified
his standing as a cult icon.
In Nevada on business, Hunter talked with Q-Notes by phone about his career
and the appearance at the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
How challenging was it to look back over your life when you were working
on your book?
It wasn’t challenging. It was actually pretty easy — but
I guess I did have a few issues, because I’m a very private person.
Looking forward to the screening
of “Lust in the Dust’ in
Oh yes! That was such a fun
film to do and I’m looking forward
to showing it to a whole new generation of viewers. I co-produced that
film and I think it’s a very important piece, because it’s
one of Divine’s final roles.
What was your favorite film to work on?
. It’s hard to say. There are so many different categories. “Damn
Yankees” was my first musical and I really enjoyed that. “Gunman’s
Walk” was the first time I got to play a villain, so that was a lot
of fun. Live television was interesting, too. My favorite in that genre
was a Playhouse 90 presentation called “Portrait of a Murder” with
Tell me about working with
Sophia Loren in “That Kind of Woman?”
A very talented woman, under all that fiery sex she exuded, I found
her to be terribly venerable.
Rita Hayworth in “They
Came to Cordura?”
I feel very fortunate that
I had the opportunity to work with her — she
was everything good you hear about her. It was a sad time in her life,
though. She had gone through so many divorces and was having a lot of
problems. At that time, too, it was becoming more and more difficult
for actresses her age to get work and I believe when she did that film
she was just over 40. She was frightened and shy and quiet, but so sweet
and kind. Everybody loved her.
Divine in “Polyester” and “Lust in the Dust?”
I’ve always said that Divine is one of my favorite leading ladies!
He was wonderful. Such a comic talent. Sorry that he left us at such
a young age and sorry we didn’t get to see more from him. He was
How did John Waters approach you about doing “Polyester?”
He called me in Indianapolis and said, “I’m John Waters,
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of me before.” I laughed
and said “Of course, I’m a huge fan.” I had seen ‘Pink
Flamingos’ and ‘Female Troubles’ and some of his other
earlier stuff. So he said he had a script for a movie and he wanted me
to do it. I told him to send it over and I would take a look at it. The
agent I had at the time, I don’t remember his name, said I’d
be crazy to do a John Waters movie. I didn’t think so. I wasn’t
working on anything else. It was funny, and I was introduced to a whole
new age group of people. What were your initial thoughts?
I remember you were in an episode of “McMillan and Wife” — what
kind of relationship did you have with Rock Hudson?
We were friends. He lived up the street from me in Beverly Hills,
but I don’t think I really knew him that well. He was a very private
person and in his later years he was very secluded.
What prompted you to come out publicly?
I had some things I had to say and I felt if people didn’t like
it — well — that was gonna be their problem. I think it’s
important to be who you are. I’ve always been kind of a quiet, conservative
person, that’s who I am. I don’t really care for those “in-your-face” kind
of tactics. But, like I said. I just had some things to say, and it was
Q. If you were in your 20s today do you think you would handle things
differently than you did in the ’50s?
I don’t know how to answer that. But I do know I wouldn’t
want to be in my 20s today. The world’s crazy and everything’s
so fast. I have a great little house. I work in the yard. I do some writing.
Do you have any words of wisdom for today’s gay youth?
Be truthful to yourself. And be thankful for everything.
Tickets for “Lust in the Dust” hosted by Tab Hunter are $12.
They can be purchased at the Carolina Theater box office, located at
309 W. Morgan St. in Downtown Durham or by calling the box office at
919-560-3030 or toll-free at 888-241-8162. More information is available