How Studio Execs Sacrificed George Nader on the Altar of Rock Hudson

It was the mid 1950s and the only thing worse than being gay was being a communist; heaven help you if you were a gay communist. After appearing in small roles in about twenty mostly forgettable films, a strapping, handsome young actor born with the name Roy Scherer finally got the chance to make a real impression in a glossy soap opera opposite an Oscar-winning Hollywood mainstay. That actor was better known as Rock Hudson and that film, Magnificent Obsession, turned him into one of the hottest commodities in Hollywood overnight. At roughly the same time another strapping young actor was appearing in secondary roles in even more forgettable films. His name was George Nader and he shared only two things in common with Rock Hudson in 1954. They both had incredible physiques and they were both gay.

In fact, on pretty much any given night both Rock Hudson and George Nader could be found somewhere having sex with a pretty young man. One night in particular Rock Hudson dallied with a pickup. It was either the wrong guy or the wrong place or the wrong time; whatever the circumstances, Rock and his boytoy were not exactly alone. Studio heads received a phone call from Confidential Magazine in which they claimed to have photos incriminating Hollywood's hottest new star and were ready to disclose his homosexuality on the front page. A star like Rock Hudson doesn't come along every day; women wanted to sleep with him and men wanted want to hang out with him, if only to sleep with the girls who wanted to sleep with him. With his big disarming grin and friendly demeanor he was the kind of man your mother wouldn't mind your having sex with. As long as you were her daughter, of course. The studio heads and Rock's management were thrown into a tizzy. How to save what clearly looked to be a cash cow?

Enter George Nader. To suggest that George Nader inspired hope as a future Rock Hudson is to suggest a miracle. Nader was mostly memorable for his looks; if he had anything on Rock Hudson it was that he looked even better in a skimpy swimsuit. The idea that he could be groomed to take Hudson's place was ludicrous. And so the decision was made. The suits in charge of protecting their interests above all else made a fateful decision that forever cemented Rock Hudson as a Hollywood icon and banished George Nader to obscurity. Confidential agreed to ruin Nader's career by outing his homosexuality in exchange for taking a lot of money to keep Rock's gay escapades out of their pages forever. What happened to Rock Hudson is the stuff of Hollywood legend. But whatever happened to George Nader?

His career in Hollywood was all but over, of course. But a funny thing happened to George Nader on the way to becoming a footnote and the resurrection of his career can be traced to an exorcist known as Bond. James Bond. The James Bond craze of the 1960s in the wake of the Sean Connery films spread far and wide, making stars of everyone from Don Adams to Robert Vaughn to...George Nader. Nader found fame in Germany of all places during the mid-1960s playing G-Man Jerry Cotton, an action hero in the mold of 007. For a brief period Nader was the second biggest star in Germany. Once the Bond delirium ran its course, and following an eye injury that made being in front of klieg lights very difficult, George Nader became a science fiction writer of some renown. He is credited, in fact, with writing one of the first SF novels in which a homosexual relationship was at the forefront of the story. That novel is titled Chrome.

Despite the fact that Nader was forced to sacrifice his career for the sake of Rock Hudson, the two remained great friends and, in fact, it was Hudson's private secretary who became Nader's lifelong companion. Such was the bond between the two beefcakes that Nader was mentioned in Hudson's will.

Published by Timothy Sexton

Timothy Sexton was honored by being named the very first Writer of the Year of Associated Content, now known as Yahoo! Contributor Network. Timothy has published two novels and contributed chapters to S...  View profile