A traditionally handsome romantic hero in an era when such types were becoming rare, Rock Hudson was a carry-over from the old Hollywood studio system that took attractive non-actors with a special "look" or "presence" and molded them into stars.
He was a box-office property long before he became an actor. And yet he was — or became — more than a mere product.
"The image may be synthetic," George Stevens said after directing Hudson in the "Giant" role for which he received his only Oscar nomination, "but the man is real. There is an inner core of warmth and decency there that can't be counterfeited — and it plays on screen. . . ."
It was this quality that seemed to sustain his career from the formula flicks of the early years, through Westerns, heavy drama, farce comedy, war epics, series television and into the glitz of his appearances in "Dynasty."
It was a reliability and solidity befitting his Hollywood-manufactured name. He died three months after stunning the world when he revealed that he was suffering from AIDS.