What Netflix’s ‘Hollywood’ Doesn’t Reveal About the ‘Giant’ Actor’s True Story

What Netflix’s ‘Hollywood’ Doesn’t Reveal About the ‘Giant’ Actor’s True Story

Watch Netflix Hollywood, and you will be transported to an alternative universe that tries to reinvent what the golden age of cinema would have looked like if equal opportunities had been given to the LGBTQ community, African-Americans, and other groups underrepresented.

What Netflix's 'Hollywood' Doesn't Reveal

  • A revisionist version of the life and career of actor Rock Hudson is explored in the new Netflix series Hollywood.
  • Rock Hudson is played by Jake Picking in the show, which focuses on the golden days of Tinseltown.
  • Here’s the true story of Rock Hudson and how it compares to the character shown in the Netflix series.

Because the original series rewrites much of the story, the characters’ scripts also mix reality and fiction. In particular, with regard to Rock hudson (played by Jake Picking), a prominent Hollywood actor and an actor who happened to be gay, there were quite a few real details omitted from Hollywood the plot.

Rock Hudson, played by Jake Pickling, in Hollywood from Netflix

Rock Hudson, played by Jake Picking, in Netflix’s Hollywood.


From the very beginning, Roy Harold Scherer Jr. was born on November 17, 1925 in the small town of Winnetka, Illinois. According to Biography, his father left the family when he lost his job as an auto mechanic in the Great Depression. Roy then ended up adopting his stepfather’s last name, Wallace Fitzgerald, after her mother remarried at the age of eight. Unfortunately, Roy was abused and neglected by his stepfather during his childhood, reports RadioTimes.com.

Rock hudson

The real Roy Harold Scherer Jr., or “Rock Hudson”, circa 1941.

Pictorial parade

In 1944 Roy joined the United States Navy during the Second World War. After being released in 1946, he left and ventured to Hollywood. There he was introduced to one of the most powerful (and controversial) figures in Tinseltown in the 1940s, Henry Willson ((Jim Parsons). True to what is described Hollywood, Henry was known for his predatory ways of taking young men from troubled backgrounds and turning them into stars. By Vanity Fair, the talent agent’s actual client list included big names like Robert Wagner, Guy madison, Troy Donahue and, of course, Roy, whom he renamed “Rock Hudson”.

“[Henry] was a tormented gay man who went after tormented gay men. He would be their manager and make them serve sexually “, Hollywood Creator Ryan Murphy said the exit.

In addition, it is believed that Henry pressured Rock to marry Phyllis doors (Henry’s own secretary) in 1955 to keep rumors about his client’s sexuality at bay and further consolidate Rock’s image in the industry. All the while, Rock was forced to hide his true homosexual identity.

Rock Hudson and Phyllis Gates about 1955

Rock Hudson and Phyllis Gates circa 1955.

Michael Ochs Archives

Author Mark griffin from Rock’s biography titled All that the sky allows Once, she told NPR: “Phyllis got married knowing, in a way, what was expected of her and that Rock and Phyllis were doing it in the name of job security. But s “They really developed real feelings for each other – that I couldn’t say. But some people have suggested it to me.”

He also noted, however, that Phyllis maintained in his memoirs of 1987 My husband Rock Hudson that she had been duped into the relationship by Henry and Rock. Shortly after tying the knot, Phyllis and Rock’s marriage ended in divorce in 1958 (Phyllis filed a complaint for “mental cruelty”).

By that time, however, Rock celebrity was already established. Although he has no professional training in theater (and, according to The telegraph, struggling with her aftershocks when she debuted on screen in 1948 Fighter squadron), Rock was a great success in 1954 with his role in the romantic drama Magnificent obsession. His career skyrocketed even more when he played opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the 1956 film Giant, for which he won a nod to the Oscars in the category of best actor. Just like that, Rock had become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

Elizabeth Taylor with Rock Hudson R on the set of GĂ©ant directed by George Stevens in 1956 Photo by Apigammagamma Rapho via Getty Images

Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson on the set of Giant around 1956.


In the 60s and 70s, he went on to do more comedies – like his and Doris Daythis is Pillow talk (1959), and Come in September (1961) and Send me no flowers (1964) – and ended up appearing in a number of movies and TV series.

At the top of Rock’s career, we see a fictionalized narrative of what happened in Hollywood – Rock tells Henry and shows himself gay by walking on the red carpet of the Oscars with his friend scriptwriter Archie Coleman (a fictional character played by Jeremy Pope). The story ends with Rock playing a gay man in a movie.

It never happened in real Rock life, but Ryan explained to Vanity Fair that he rewrote the story in order to give the acclaimed actor a happy ending.

archie jeremy pope and rock hudson jake picking in hollywood from netflix

Archie Coleman (Jeremy Pope) and Rock Hudson (Jake Picking) in Netflix’s Hollywood.


“I thought, what if these people won?” Ryan explained to the magazine. “What if we come back and somehow do a revisionist look, and create an alternative universe where you could win by being gay, you could win by being black, you could win by being Asian?”

In reality, the real Rock never went out publicly and had no other marriage after Phyllis. In 1980 Rock started having health problems after years of smoking and drinking alcohol, by Digital Spy. The same year, he had a heart attack and underwent a heart bypass fivefold.

Although he continued to work after his surgery, including marking a recurring role in the prime-time drama Dynasty, Rock revealed his diagnosis of AIDS in July 1985. In many ways, given his prestige in the film industry, his revelation ended up changing the way the AIDS epidemic was received. In the same year, Elizabeth Taylor co-founded the AIDS Research Foundation and regularly lobbied President Reagan and Congress to deal with the crisis. As a playwright William Hoffman once it was said, Rock helped people realize that “AIDS is a disease, not a moral affliction”.

Rock Hudson in the dynasty

Rock Hudson in Dynasty.

ABC photo archive

In September 1985, Burt Lancaster delivered what would be the last words of a bedridden rock in Hollywood during the AIDS Project Los Angeles Commitment to Life fundraiser.

“I’m not happy to be sick, I’m not happy to have AIDS,” Burt said to Rock, in deadly silence, in words The Hollywood Reporter. “But if it helps others, I can at least know that my own misfortune had a positive value.”

The actor died about two weeks later at the age of 59.


Related Posts