Tab Hunter has passed away at the age of 86. The movie star, musician, novelist and gay icon passed away just three days shy of what would have been his 87th birthday. The news of his death was confirmed by the Tab Hunter Confidential Facebook page, which has been an official source for news regarding Hunter in recent years. Here’s what the page had to say about his passing.
“Sad News: Tab passed away tonight three days shy of his 87th birthday. Please honor his memory by saying a prayer on his behalf. He would have liked that.”
Starting in the early 1950s and lasting through the early 1990s, Tab Hunter starred in more than 70 movies and TV shows. He rose to fame in 1955 with a starring role in Track of the Cat and would later cement himself as a true star and heartthrob in movies such as Battle Cry and The Burning Hills. Hunter was also an accomplished musical artist, scoring a number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1956 with his song Young Love.
Though it was Tab Hunter’s work on screen that earned him fame, he is remembered for being one of the few movie stars from the 1950s to come out as gay. Hunter made the reveal in his autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, which was released in 2005. The book would ultimately go on to inspire the 2015 Netflix documentary, Tab Hunter Confidential.
During his most prominent years in Hollywood, despite the fact that being gay at the time was very taboo, Tab Hunter had relationships with Psycho star Anthony Perkins and figure skater Robbie Robertson. At the same time, he was participating in a fictitious romance with actress Natalie Wood. J.J. Abrams, Hunter’s husband and producing partner Allan Glaser and Neil Koenigsberg are working on on a movie about the star for Paramount titled Hunter, with Zachary Quinto set to star. Quinto took to social media to pay tribute to Hunter after hearing news of his passing.
“So sad to wake up to the news of the passing of tab hunter. i was honored to get to know him in the past year and am so grateful to have experienced his sheer joy and love of life. and what a life! such a rich experience. such a vital and generous nature. and such a pioneer of self-acceptance and moving through this world with authenticity as his guide. he will be missed greatly. may he rest in peace.”
Many stars took to social media to share their thoughts on the late star. “RIP to the most handsome and special man. ‘Young Love’ forever. #RIPTabHunter E xx,” said Elton John in a tweet. GLAAD also took to social media to honor Tab Hunter by sharing one of his quotes which reads, “I don’t care whether people like me or dislike me. I’m not on earth to win a popularity contest. I’m here to be the best human being I possibly can be.” Some of the actor’s other notable works include Damn Yankees, The Six Million Dollar Man and Grease 2. RIP, Tab Hunter. This news was previously reported by Variety. You can check out more social media tributes to Hunter for yourself below.
Grateful that we were able to meet the incredible Tab Hunter and thank him for his authenticity and courage. Rest In Peace. https://t.co/5e740V7uXv
— Matt Bomer (@MattBomer) July 9, 2018
— Bo Derek (@boderek) July 9, 2018
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) July 9, 2018
Condolences to the family of Tab Hunter.
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 9, 2018
Sad to report that Tab Hunter, the gawjuss gay icon, and true gentleman, has left the building. We shared some good laughs back in the 80’s. I was always fond of this dear man.
— Harvey Fierstein (@HarveyFierstein) July 9, 2018
just got the news of Tab Hunter passing…i was fortunate to spend an evening with him when he came to an @officialgogos show a couple of years ago. what a wonderful human being full of so much grace. i was lucky to know him #RIPTabHunterpic.twitter.com/Ze6bvvnSzt
— Belinda Carlisle (@belindaofficial) July 9, 2018
— Matthew Bourne (@SirMattBourne) July 9, 2018
“I don’t care whether people like me or dislike me. I’m not on earth to win a popularity contest. I’m here to be the best human being I possibly can be.” – Tab Hunter, 1931 – 2018. Our hearts are with Tab’s loved ones. https://t.co/2YOCKcsDpj
— GLAAD (@glaad) July 9, 2018
Stay beautiful on Heaven forever Tab Hunter
— Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) July 9, 2018
RIP Tab Hunter. pic.twitter.com/TBdo6Y6AR9
— Mario Cantone (@macantone) July 9, 2018
Tab Hunter and DH 1980 pic.twitter.com/C2moyrZBqA
— chris stein (@chrissteinplays) July 9, 2018