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Tab Hunter Dies at 86

The 1950s heartthrob played Joe Hardy in the screen adaptation of Damn Yankees, among his stage and screen credits.

Tab Hunter has died at the age of 86.
(photo courtesy Tab Hunter Confidential)

Damn Yankees star and 1950s heartthrob Tab Hunter died yesterday as a result of a blood clot that caused a heart attack, according to Hunter's partner, Allan Glaser. He was 86.

Born Arthur Andrew Kelm on July 11, 1931, Hunter achieved fame in the 1950s as a teen idol in film, television, and music. Among his many credits during that decade was his performance as Joe Hardy in the 1958 screen adaptation of Damn Yankees.

His one Broadway credit was as Christopher Flanders in Tennessee Williams's 1963 play The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, in which he starred alongside Tallulah Bankhead and Marian Seldes. Even after his teen-heartthrob image became passé in the 1960s, Hunter continued to act, most notably starring opposite Divine in John Waters's Polyester (1981) and Paul Bartel's Lust in the Dust (1985).

Only with the publication of his 2005 autobiography Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star did he confirm long-standing rumors about his homosexuality. His affair with Psycho star Anthony Perkins is the focus of the upcoming docudrama Tab & Tony, written by Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife) and produced by J.J. Abrams and Zachary Quinto.

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