Revisiting My Sad and Trivial Night With Rock Hudson
April 3, 2013
This memory still brings back fear and melancholy, like a ghost story that stubbornly haunts me after all these years ...
Over and over, footage of Rock Hudson standing next to Doris Day was playing on television, and he looked ghastly. His skin was wrinkled and sunken as if by very old age. It was 1985, and it was one of the last close-up images most of us would ever see of the movie icon. And it was terrifying.
My heart was pounding, and I tried to listen to the voice-over, which spoke of the sudden illness of Rock Hudson and speculation that he might have AIDS. Throughout the newscast, memories of a night in 1982, nearly three years earlier, sprang to life. The images taunted me and screamed at me and said gonna getcha gonna getcha gonna getcha ...
Charley and I had recently moved to Los Angeles and the city still held such mystery and promise for us. We were excited about spending our anniversary at the gay restaurant New York Company, where you got a candle on your table and mushrooms on your prime rib and they would probably sing to us or bring a special piece of cake.
No sooner had we settled at our table and ordered drinks than Charley started nudging my arm and staring at something behind me. I glanced in that direction, and was stunned to find Rock Hudson seated there, talking with another man.
In our short time in Los Angeles, I had developed the attitude that famous people deserved their privacy and one shouldn't ogle them. I thought it was cool not to care they were there, even though I was dying to look. In any case, Charley was staring across our table in a gay restaurant directly at Rock Hudson and I wanted him to stop right this minute.
I was definitely jealous, not only of being upstaged by a movie star at my anniversary dinner, but because I wanted to look at him so badly myself, and Charley had the perfect view. So I pestered poor Charley for the next ten minutes about how rude he was and how I couldn't believe he found the man so fascinating and why couldn't he pay attention to me on this special night and all sorts of other such lies.
"You men having any fun?"
There was no mistaking the voice, and I looked up from my pouting stance to Charley, who was grinning across our table at the man behind me. "Sure," Charley managed to say. I turned around and Rock Hudson was smiling at me. I was a star struck boy and there was no hiding it now.
"Yeah, me too," I said. How completely embarrassing.
"You sure?" he asked, "Because my friend and I were just discussing it, and I was saying that the two of you were having a fight."
Rock Hudson was discussing me. Rock Hudson was discussing me.
"Uh no, not at all," I lied, jumping in before Charley had a chance to say what a bitch I was and how I thought you shouldn't ogle movie stars. "I think we're just kinda tired. As a matter of fact, today is our anniversary and we're celebrating."
"Yeah," said Charley, "we're doing fine. How are you tonight?" He was playing along, had forgiven me, and was asking Rock Hudson a question. This was unbelievable.
"It's really wonderful that you two are having an anniversary. How long have you been together?"
"Three years," we said in unison.
"That's just great. Congratulations." At this point he introduced his friend, who went "way back" and who's name I couldn't tell you in a million years, and then he offered an invitation. "Come sit with us, boys. Have a drink. It's a special occasion."
I looked at Charley, holding on to my "protect their privacy" stance for a few more seconds, but he had already risen to join them. What the hell. Like I would have refused. I took my spot beside Rock Hudson because I would have broken Charley's arm if he had tried that seat and he knew it. Another round of drinks appeared, and the star launched into clever stories that I don't quite remember but were more than fascinating at the time.
The conversation wandered onto Trivial Pursuit, the game which was then new and all the rage.
"Yes, I've heard of that," Rock said. "I haven't played it yet."
"We've got the game, Rock," Charley said. "You should really come over some time and we'll play it with you." I couldn't believe what he was saying. He actually called Mr. Rock Hudson "Rock." Furthermore, my partner had just invited this man "over some time," like that was really in the realm of possibility.
More drinks arrived. This man can drink like a cow, I thought, and not even show it. He was playful, though, and shot a few looks my way that I would have taken quite differently if it weren't clear I was celebrating my anniversary with the man to my immediate left.
"It's a great game," I found myself saying. "You wanna come over and play it with us?" I was a teensy bit smashed, no doubt about it.
"Yes, I would."
I'm sure there was more to it, more of a rationale as to why he felt comfortable crashing our anniversary evening, but I don't remember. His friend kindly begged off of the event, and it was decided that Charley would take his friend home while I rode with Rock so he had no problem finding our apartment. I still will never believe he parked his classy import on Edgewood Avenue, because it made me nervous parking my car there. Once inside, I found a full bottle of Scotch, poured him a drink, and gave him a tour of our tiny apartment until Charley got back.
I was no fool. What we had here was a prescription for something ... unseemly. But I was barreling through these bizarre circumstances and wasn't weighing the specific possibilities. That's a lie. I was pursuing it because I suspected what was to come.
We played the game for a couple of hours, Rock winning and drinking. Before it was over the Scotch would be history and I would offer to roll a joint. "Pot makes me horny," he said, "so I don't know if I should" and of course I was passing him the joint faster than you could say Star Fucker.
He talked about movies. And sex. And people he loved and hated. The juiciest tales began with "I was really drunk one night when" and the meanest had to do with people he thought had treated him badly professionally ("You need Julie Andrews like you need a knife in your back," said he).
Charley had taken it all in, but knew when enough was enough. He excused himself quite late to go to bed, Rock offered to go, I wouldn't hear of it, and we continued sitting in the dining room passing the joint.
I knew what was being played out. Questions floated about in the back balcony of my head, just within earshot. What kind of guy was I? Was I going to have sex with this man right here in the living room? What about my anniversary? What about the man I loved asleep in the bedroom? Was Rock Hudson as well hung as everyone said? Some questions got my attention more than others.
Rock made motions for the umpteenth time that it was time to go home, so while he whispered another insincere goodnight, I drunkenly opened the pants of Mr. Rock Hudson. The fact that this was a famous escapade had overruled the anniversary etiquette issues.
Thirty minutes or so later, I stood in my robe outside the bathroom, wondering what Rock Hudson thought about the rust stained bathtub in which he was quickly showering. The sex had been in near dark, and without the pretext of romance -- no tender caresses or meaningful glances.
I can remember only one direct look from the man. I stared down upon his face after the exhaustion of labored sex -- too much bourbon, too much pot -- and my eyes tried adjusting to his face in the dark. And then there it was, staring back at me, with a surprisingly impatient look. Stern and almost elderly.
"Are you done?" he asked blankly.
Well, life ain't the damned movies, I suppose.
I would make small talk with him as he toweled dry and dressed, and then me, in a final act of staking my claim, asking for his autograph. Yes, so help me, I asked the damp, drunk and spent star to scribble "All my best, Rock Hudson" on a piece of notebook paper before his hasty exit down the duplex stairs and out to the dingy street below.
I watched the car pull away and walked slowly back to the bedroom, where Charley was sound asleep and snoring. I laid down in the dark and the night replayed in my mind. Was I triumphant? Excited, thrilled, guilty? I had just bedded the ultimate male screen icon of a generation, and I hadn't the slightest idea how to feel about it.
Rock Hudson was now a ghastly figure on a television screen in my living room. My heart raced every time the evening news began and some new tidbit of information about his disease, his sex life, his kiss with Linda Evans on "Dynasty," his lovers and his drug treatments were reported with morbid tones and oh-my-God urgency.
I had not yet been tested for HIV. In 1985, what was the point? There were no known effective treatments, the first drug treatment, AZT, was just being introduced and people with AIDS were dropping like flies. It was politically incorrect to get tested because it could lead to discrimination, brand you as terminal and assure you that every pathetic image of a dying AIDS patient applied directly to you.
And that is exactly what the Rock Hudson coverage was doing to me, test or no test. Magazines and Dan Rather news stories were talking to me specifically. ROCK HUDSON HAS AIDS, the headlines screamed, AND MARK KING WILL DIE AS WELL.
"Rock Hudson is now resting in his Los Angeles home beyond a doctors care," reported Mary Hart on Entertainment Tonight, "and Mark, you're an idiot if you think you can escape this now. You're dead as a door nail, buddy. What were you thinking?"
I would stare at the coverage without a word, and nod my head at parties when someone said how tragic it was and excuse myself.
My parents had been told the censored version of the anniversary night story that very next day, and called me in Los Angeles shortly after Rock was reported ill. "Why not go down to the hospital?" my father asked. "You could try to cheer him up, maybe bring Trivial Pursuit!" I explained the man had a million fans and wouldn't remember me, without mentioning how trivial the pursuit had been.
In October of 1985, Rock Hudson died in his home. News reports tortured me for months to come.
Edited from A Place Like This, by Mark S. King. Copyright 2008.
I love checking the analytical data produced by my blog software. It tells me what pages of my site you are visiting, what link sent you here, and even where you live (Hello, Cleveland! G'day, Sidney!). It also tells me what keyword searches bring people to my site, and once I sort through all the porn references (that piece on porn star Dawson still reels in the readers), the most popular Google search that brings people to my site, still, is the two words "Rock Hudson."
Since interest in him remains so high, I don't mind sharing this piece again (it appeared on my site in 2010). It allows me to provide a perspective on AIDS, celebrity and our communal fear during the 1980s that those Google visitors might never have expected.
Thanks for reading, and please be well.
Send Mark an e-mail.
Read Mark's blog, My Fabulous Disease.
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Visit Mark's live blog at www.MyFabulousDisease.com.
Comment by: Wowzers
Thu., May. 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm EDT
I read this a few days ago and couldn't stop thinking about it. However, this article pisses me off more than anything. I'm so sad for your ex and how your irresponsibility infected him.
Instead of sounding cool and bragging about having sex with Rock Hudson on your livingroom floor, you really just sound like a monster.
Infecting my former partner is the worst thing I've ever done in my life. And I have great stories to go along with it too. But I will never, ever brag about a story resulting in destroying someone's life that I love.
You really should be ashamed of yourself for bragging about this.
Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Mark S King
Mon., May. 4, 2015 at 10:01 am EDT
Hmm. I don't recall writing that I infected my ex. I never did.
This is a sad and pathetic story, which most people reading past the title would comprehend. It is as much about my immaturity and selfishness at the time (my early 20's) as it is about the horror of AIDS in the 1980's. But if I have to explain that to you I think we're probably never going to see this the same way.
Comment by: Clyde W.
Tue., Apr. 16, 2013 at 2:37 am EDT
Mr. Fabulous Mark S.King,
AKA ~ MARK,
Thanks for sharing your life with us in so many ways. I too can remember like this morning, the sad and shell shocked look on Doris Day as she obviously wanted to protect her friend from more suffering. My oldest Brother, an infectious Disease doctor was diagnosed in 1985, and watching how Mr. Hudson succumbed, told me we had no hope! My Brother is alive and well today. In November of 2004, with 7 t-cells, and an unimaginable viral load I was told I had full Blown AIDS and surely would not survive to leave the hospital.
You always share from your heart and with your vast experience and firsthand knowledge.You ask us to think, question, and explore, ourselves, our disease, and out of this I see OUR FUTURE!
I often get so involved in the medical side of my life, I forget to live.
I would have loved to have met Rock, Doris, Elizabeth and so many, but back then actors and actresses were different, you were made by their appearances and actions to feel that you did know them. My hope is to meet You one day in person! Maybe go to Carnies for a burger, or to the Original Bob's Big Boy.
I am certain, you wonder, what does he want? Well You are pretty hot! But mostly I want to just to say Thank you for your willingness to share your life, your disease, your stories of sadness and of victory. To somehow express my appreciation that you show all of us that follow you, that yes we have a disease that can and does kill, that is the very fact that says HEY YOU you and I and so many thousands of others have a chance today to make a positive difference in this world today. We would not have this chance without HIV/AIDS, but moreover, without you and others like you, we might not see the purpose we have today.
BECOME THE POSITIVE CHANGE YOU DESIRE IN THE WORLD WE LIVE IN. Thanks for the example to follow!
You remind me of that every time I see an article!
Thank You Mr. Fabulous Mark S. King!
Clyde B. Wade
Comment by: Ricky
Wed., Apr. 10, 2013 at 3:50 am EDT
Just like many gay men who have had ten second contacts with celebs, Mark King can't help name-dropping; it's a feature of his writing. Being that much of an attention junkie means that you fail to show respect for the horrible death in the limelight that Rock Hudson had to endure. You survived and he didn't, so why would you want to reduce his memory to a meaningless fumble in the dark and boost the number of notches on your bedpost. I just don't understand it but then again, you have thousands of 'follower's so i guess it must be okay then!
Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Mike
Thu., Apr. 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm EDT
Being green, is not about envy, or the money you have, it's about saving the environment. Sadly, you fail! Now, back to MS!
Comment by: Harvett
(East Cleveland, OH)
Tue., Apr. 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm EDT
April, you brought up something quite interesting, I forgot about that. HIV wasn't identified until when 1983 give or take, and the test was when 1985 give or take? Once again you brought up a very good point. Thank you!
Comment by: April
(Thunder Bay, ON)
Thu., Mar. 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm EST
Perhaps Rock had gotten the disease from you or your partner - who knows when one has not been yet tested. Or perhaps you had gotten it from someone afterward - men who gotten the disease in that era seemed to die within 6 months...not 3 years later....just a thought.
Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Mark S. King
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Tue., Jul. 26, 2011 at 8:28 pm EDT
Well, actually, people with AIDS in the mid-80's tended to die very shortly after DIAGNOSIS, not after infection. Only with the advent of new medications did this begin to change.
Rock died within about three years after this event I write about. I never suggest in this piece that he infected me, only that he was someone with whom I had had sex who was now dying, and that made AIDS extremely intimate to me.
Certainly, as you suggest, it could have been me who infected HIM, since I could have already been carrying HIV in 1981 and not known it, since the epidemic had not become known at the time Rock and I met. Knowing both of our sexual histories (he was notoriously promiscuous, as was I), I'd say we were both already infected when we met.
Comment by: Queen
Tue., Oct. 13, 2009 at 11:05 am EDT
Rick, How dare you to say that people who catch HIV now are stupid, I am part of that 20 to 40 year old group who does not have HIV nor want HIV, My ex left me for another woman because he wanted to live the bisexual lifestyle and by the grace of God, I didn't catch anything. He was disrespectful and treacherous, You are wrong for saying that. There were diseases back then also; human beings need to stop making excuses about what happens to them, I think us younger people today are a lot more honest.
Comment by: Harvett
(East Cleveland, OH)
Wed., Sep. 23, 2009 at 9:34 am EDT
Peter, by the way, I am younger than Mark King and Rock Hudson put together, also.
Comment by: Harvett
(East Cleveland, OH)
Mon., Sep. 21, 2009 at 12:36 pm EDT
This comment is to Peter, It is a sad story you have to agree , but the real question is," Do you think that the real men or women will receive profit?" No this society (American)is only happy when there is drama, and knowingly destroy yourself sad to say.
Comment by: Harvett
(East Cleveland, OH)
Thu., Sep. 17, 2009 at 10:21 am EDT
My comment was that I feel terrible that this had happened to you, Mark King. From what I had read Rock Hudson obviously knew he had AIDS and didn't tell you, that was so cruel. Yes you were young and foolish but he should had been sent to prison. It was a true act of treachery, he got off easy.
Comment by: Nik
Sun., Jan. 4, 2009 at 4:41 pm EST
Your writing captures the feeling of having AIDS in 1980s America. I could almost feel your fear as you watched Hudson fail and undoubtly saw many of your friends die of this disease. At the time I was watching my friends die too. I'm just so happy you survived and moved on to help so many other people.
Comment by: johnny
Wed., Dec. 31, 2008 at 8:51 am EST
HjPOeC Thanks for good post
Comment by: Jhnnny
Sat., Jun. 21, 2008 at 9:00 pm EDT
Mark, great job. I was there during this time of the early AIDS epidemic and we all heard stories of Mark Chritian and Rock. And many other celebs who frequented the bars and clubs of We-Ho. Remember Backlot and all the famous who went there. Great reading Mark, it's real, honest and it was what we were all doing at the time.....
Comment by: Rebecca
Tue., Jun. 17, 2008 at 6:36 pm EDT
Beautifully written Mark! I've been touched by your article. I'm a black African and have lost many of my relatives through AIDS. It's through people like you that, i have hope that one day we will fully conquer the disease and declare it CURABLE! I`m humbled by your honesty.You are not alone, i was also once a self-absorbed teenager in search of God among the ruins!Good luck in your future publications and above all,may you live to see the cure for AIDS and bear testimony to the cure. I`m with you. xxx
Comment by: A AL YAZOURY
Mon., May. 19, 2008 at 4:08 pm EDT
JUST ASKING GOD TO REST HIS SOUL , AND THE SOULS OF ALL THE VICTMS OF HIV , GUYS PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOUR SELVES, LIVE YOUR LIVES BUT TAKE CARE OF YOUR SELVES AND YOUR LOVED ONES AND LOOK AT THE BRIGHT SIDE WHICH ALWAYS THERE IN ALL THE CONDTIONS ... GOD BLESS U ALL
Comment by: Katy
Thu., May. 15, 2008 at 8:59 pm EDT
In 1988 my beloved brother was diagnosed with AIDS, no warning, just sudden respiratory failure from PCP and he was on a vent. He did survive that episode and several others, but we lost him in 1990. He was a joyful, bright,(brilliant, really) and charismatic gay man who I miss every day. Thank you for sharing the story of what the epidemic looked like in the 1980's. I am now a nurse and have worked with many PWA in medical and social contexts. In my life, I have tried to spread the word of compassion and care, not judgment, about a virus and what it does to the human body it inhabits, no matter how it got there.
Comment by: Neal B
Sat., Apr. 19, 2008 at 2:28 pm EDT
I read this book and found it to be very up front and honest. Mark S King is a wonderful writer and I love the way he puts it out there, telling it like it is. I look forward to more books from Mark S King
Comment by: Michael S.
Tue., Apr. 8, 2008 at 4:08 pm EDT
Rock Hudson aside, this chapter brought a very scary time back to life for me. King remembers this time just as I did, and it is damn important we all remember what we went through. This chapter gave me me the creeps, but I'm going to read the book anyway. Hopefully his humor will keep me from crying through the whole thing.
Comment by: Rick
Tue., Apr. 8, 2008 at 2:33 pm EDT
Mark. I haven't read your book, however I am looking forward to it. What most of these 20 and 30 olds do not understand is that we (meaning anyone who contracted HIV in the 80s)were the real victims of the disease. Anyone beween 20 and 40 who has HIV now was just stupid. A loaded gun does the same thing only quicker. It will take awhile for the new generation of self-absorbed snotties to find their God among the ruins.
Comment by: Selfless
Sun., Apr. 6, 2008 at 1:52 am EDT
After watching Mark in the doc "Meth" and now seeing this - I can't wait to read the book! 'Real men' help others in their community become real men and definitely aren't searching for them! I applaud your courage to Man Up Mark, I look forward to shaking your hand soon!
Comment by: NasrAllah Ahmad Hassan
Sat., Apr. 5, 2008 at 4:41 am EDT
Am writing from kenya,and am Muslim.Gotten to read the piece by mark and am captivated by the encouraged he exhibits.One point though, here in kenya homosexuality in not so pronouncrd though its practised and its onlythrough such articles that people get a reason to come out of their cocoons and eventually get the much needed assistance.
As i said am Muslim and equally hiv positive and am finding it disturbing that not many Muslims are coming out and talking about these issue,or are we to believe that Moslems dont get on the wrong side of things at times?
Similarly there is the issue of Disabled persons living with HIV/AIDS and the communities we live in tend to over look these persons to an extent one may believe that these guys dont play sex!
Personally am not disabled but kind of have a soft to the disabled poersons living with HIV/AIDS and have started an organisation locally that will bring them on board and create a fora for them such that they can met fellow diableds and share experinces,you will realise that these persons always feel inferior to the able bodied persons and now rub in the issue that the turn out to be having the virus and you get a picture of a person who is so hurting inside and with no avenue to ventilate his/her predicament,
I believe its us persons who have taken a positive view of our status and who are willing to make a positive contribution to humanity and fellow hiv patients who should carry the flame proudly and fight on behalf our our brothers and sisters who are not so lucky.
These message goes out to all Muslims out there and disabled persons and all who have a strong will to support others to come out.Raise up your heads,add a bounce in your stride and realise that its only HIV and no body is gonna die tommorrow, please correspond through firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment by: Terry
Fri., Apr. 4, 2008 at 10:24 pm EDT
"A Time Like This" starring Mark King as "Mark King" and me as the handsome Rock Hudson! Okay, I'll settle for a part as an extra. "You've got spaghetti sauce on your tie, sir."
Comment by: Jake
Fri., Apr. 4, 2008 at 6:19 pm EDT
perhaps peter and al should date....? King's book is distinguished by the writing, not the subject matter, and his treatment of himself far tougher than his treatment of Rock Hudson.
Comment by: Spike
Fri., Apr. 4, 2008 at 4:25 pm EDT
I read Mark's book and am appalled by Peter's comments. The modest financial reward that Mark is hopefully receiving is hardly "cashing in." Unless history is taken seriously, it is doomed to repeat itself. Truth is sometimes tawdry and ugly, but, it does make good reading. I enjoyed the book and hope that another appears soon. Movie?????
Comment by: roger
Fri., Apr. 4, 2008 at 4:15 pm EDT
"cashing in"? Hardly. If little Peter had an inkling of the time required to write as beautifully as Mark King, and the modest financial reward that kind of effort produces, I suspect little Peter would have a better attitude. Read a book, Peter. Then read another.
Comment by: Hal
Fri., Apr. 4, 2008 at 3:38 pm EDT
Peter? Did you actually read the book? How would you know what is passed it's time? This book (which I did read) is not only by an accomplished writer who should be heard, but he lived through the 1980s with HIV and survived to record his journey. You're tired of people "cashing in on their sorry stories"? Measure yourself against the life(s) described in this biography and ask yourself, truly, if it is Harlequin romancelike? This book is incredibly honest and exposes the writer to be, in his sophomoric youth, shallow, naive and, he thinks, bullet proof. This author has bared his soul that another generation might NOT follow in his footsteps. Who qualifies, Peter, as a real man in your community?
Comment by: alangeo
Fri., Apr. 4, 2008 at 1:34 am EDT
how wonderful! I am most pleased to know he had the chance to party with the "REAL ROCK " HUDSON ....
I am here to tell you by experience, that nothing will stop you, when you are doing drugs... ( The only thing , I did not think it was creadible, was the fact, that , the only drugs , they use, was smoke...
Every one knows that ROCK, loves to rock , then rolled...
be save, and keep your nose clean.
Comment by: Charles
Fri., Apr. 4, 2008 at 12:40 am EDT
Peter, if you don't understand your gay history, you are destined to repeat it.
Comment by: Katie
Fri., Apr. 4, 2008 at 12:24 am EDT
I love Mark King and his writing style. I find his insight interesting and I want to hear his story.
Thank you Mark...for sharing with us your story. :) I have been a fan for several years reading about your story about "The Price is Right" I've been hooked ever since.
Comment by: abitmuch
Fri., Apr. 4, 2008 at 12:08 am EDT
Well, they say whats done in dark will come into the light. God bless Rock H. and Mark too. Have we oome to a full circle yet?
Comment by: Terry
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 6:38 pm EDT
Whether Rock Hudson chose to come out or not doesn't matter - he did. King CHOSE to come out in a public format to tell HIS story. That makes him a brave and compassionate man. We ALL have the right to profit from our own stories. With Mark’s book, we ALL profit through his normalizing of human behaviors we ALL engage in to cope with homophobia, AIDS phobia, etc. Profit from his book yourself by recognizing similarities in our own lives, and then by doing something to change.
Comment by: Carey
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 2:10 pm EDT
Reposting your erroneous remarks don't make them true, Ed/Alan. Rock Hudson NEVER came out of the closet. Like many gay men of his generation he hid his sexuality and never publicly acknowledged it. Hudson's contributions to AIDS awareness were purely by default. He deserves about as much gratitude from AIDS activists as Sen. Larry Craig. But yeah, he sure made some great movies!
Comment by: Ed
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 11:10 am EDT
Well, Peter, maybe Mark King WILL acquire a fair bit of cash as a result of this disclosure, however I have got to say it has proved fascinating reading. There is great genuineness about it and it does make you think very hard about the dangers that we can place ourselves in, when feelings & emotions take over and we fail to behave as we know we ought to. Mark King admits throughout this article that he felt at the time that he shouldn't have been going down the road that he did.
Comment by: k.k.
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 10:20 am EDT
remembering back to that time when Rock was discovered to have HIV one never gave thought to the number of men he may have infected and that's kind of an unfinished story. most of these men are no doubt dead by now. Mark is one of the unusual survivors and his perspective is interesting. To be 21 during the wrong time --the darkest days of the pandemic in the U.S. -- yikes, what a tale to be told.
Comment by: Mark
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 10:14 am EDT
This conjured up memories for me: The New York Company, Silverlake of a bygone era, Rock Hudson, whose image standing next to Doris Day during that final press conference is burned into my memory. While others may think it tired or an attempt to cash in on someone's fame, I am grateful for the reminder. It was not long after Rock Hudson died that I found out I was a pozzie, too. For me it is alll intertwined.
Comment by: JP
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 10:04 am EDT
I am amused by Alan's comment on Rock Hudson's courage in "coming out". Rock only came out when he was so sick that he could no longer hide his illness. The tragedy is that he did not have the courage to reveal his status before bedding a starry-eyed kid. I applaud Mark's courage in writing this memoir about a time about which young guys today have so little knowledge. He captures the horror of those dark days most vividly.
Comment by: Lou
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 9:56 am EDT
To Peter, Rock Hudson would still be in the closet if he were alive. Read the book for what it is, a true telling of life as it was then. And Peter, your comment shows your age without your mentioning it. The book is history, not a romance novel.
Comment by: Mark, the Author
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 8:32 am EDT
I can certainly understand why THE BODY chose to feature one of the more salacious chapters of my book, and it does its job: this scene reveals me as shallow, self seeking, and pathetic. As the book progresses, a sincere search for meaning (and my AIDS work) expose the younger me for who I was: just another self absorbed, frightened gay man looking for God among the ruins.
Comment by: Alan
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 4:54 am EDT
As a Hollywood Legend whose films gave pleasure to millions and as the first celebrity to publicly acknowledge that he had AIDS and thereby change the publics perception and attitude to the disease the man deserves respect - especially from the Gay Community and even more so from Gay Activists, who should be lauding his bravery in 'coming out' at a time when HIV was labeled the Gay Plague; and not be subjecting his memory to the tittle tattle of queens who need to get a life.
Comment by: Alex
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 2:57 am EDT
Mark King, Thanks for the writing ... and thank you to thebody for providing this excerpt ... It makes me remember that our history is part of our present and our present is part of history ... It makes us who we are today ... I'm glad that Mr. King had the courage to write his book!
Comment by: Greg Hill
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 2:27 am EDT
I am afraid In hgave to agree... King can write, there is no doubt about that, but he comes across as a shall star fucker. What did he feel about Hudson the human being as opposed tpo Rock Hudson the piece of meat he wanted to bed to add a notch to his bedstead. Disappointing Mr King. I suspect that you can do better..
Comment by: fantastic!!
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 2:10 am EDT
Comment by: brian
Thu., Apr. 3, 2008 at 1:43 am EDT
peter, perhaps its a morality tale, maybe its not.what it is is true story about someone who lived thru a terrifying time and can tell the tale...you just don't have any stories of your own to tell
Comment by: Charles
Wed., Apr. 2, 2008 at 11:40 pm EDT
Peter, why are you so eager to discount the experiences of others just because they don't relate to your generation? What is really sorry is the lack of imagination to look past yourself and understand the lives of others.
Comment by: Terry
Wed., Apr. 2, 2008 at 11:32 pm EDT
If Mark's doctors profit off of his history with HIV (they're providing a needed service), then shouldn't Mark? I'm enjoying the honesty he's put forth in his book. It's original because it's his own story. Honesty and originality. Two qualities it doesn't seem you can recognize in the real men you search for, even when they're right in front of you. Write a book...put yourself out on a limb as Mark has so that we all can rip YOU apart.
Comment by: Peter
Wed., Apr. 2, 2008 at 7:40 pm EDT
I am younger than Mark King and definitely younger than the Rock Hudson generation. These harlequin romance novels of hiv, drugs and sex and successful people are so passed their time. Not very original but then the masses need their sugar... especially gay masses (or is that sugar a white powdery substance?)Where are the real men in the community? I'm so tired of people cashing in on their sorry stories.
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