Hollywood History: Get a Piece of the Rock

By Christopher Harrity

Originally published on Advocate.com June 22 2012 4:41 PM ET

Movie lovers will get a chance to score a piece of Hollywood's homo history Sunday at the Entertainment Memorabilia Including Animation Art auction, which is taking place in Los Angeles and online through the prestigious auction house Bonhams. This is your chance to own (or at least fondle) some of Hudson's personal items, including clothing, furniture, and gifts.

Martin Flaherty, a forrmer friend and one of the heirs to Hudson's estate, says many of Hudson's prized personal possessions are included, such as one of the sofas used in his film Pillow Talk and scripts, personal correspondence, even his birth certificate and passport.

"I know it would please him greatly if one of his beloved  fans were able to take possession of and cherish just as much as he did, one of these last, unique, and rare reminders from his amazing life," says Flaherty, who adds that many of the items have a much lower starting point in this auction than their actual listed value.  

The Hudson items are part of a larger collection of Hollywood memorabilia. For more information: Bonhams.com. Check out some of the goods on the following pages. All images courtesy of Bonhams.

A Rock Hudson high school yearbook
A copy of the 1942 New Trier Echos yearbook owned by Rock Hudson. The yearbook features Hudson as a junior in high school and is inscribed to Hudson, then Roy Fitzgerald, by many of his classmates including inscriptions reading in part "Don't smoke too much—" and "To a swell guy." Together with an additional loose and duplicate page featuring Hudson's class photograph inscribed in his hand, "Roy Fitzgerald."
12¼ x 9¼ inches
Estimate:
$1,000-$1,500

A Rock Hudson signed letter
Single page, typed letter dated August 28, 1951, addressed to "Mr. Hodge," referring to Ken Hodge, Hudson's first long-term boyfriend. The letter states that as of the date of the letter, "any and all agreements, particularly that agreement dated August 4, 1949, shall be considered null and void" with the payment of $1,200 to Hodge. The letter is signed in blue ink by Hodge and "Roy H. Fitzgerald PKA Rock Hudson." Hodge is also credited with creating Hudson's stage name.
10 x 8-1/2 inches
Estimate:
$700-$900

passport

A Rock Hudson twice-signed passport
American passport issued June 4, 1956,signed in blue ink on signature line and on photograph, "Roy Harold Fitzgerald a.k.a. Rock Hudson," recording travel to London, Kenya, Italy, Switzerland, and Brazil between June 1956 and February 1958.
5 x 3¼ in
Estimate:
$2,000-$2,500

Key Chain

A Rock Hudson Hermès key chain and house key
Plated brass links, with single brass door key. Rock's personal front door key to the house on Beverly Crest.
5-1/2 inches (l) including key
Estimate:
$400-$600

A contemporary custom-made fully upholstered oversized sofa
With loose cushions. Made expressly for and used in the film Pillow Talk to accomodate Hudson's height (see the scene when Hudson and Doris Day are canoodling on the sofa after their date). After filming wrapped, Hudson acquired this and another sofa directly from the set and had the pair reupholstered for his own use.

A carved stone erotic panel
Housed in wooden shadow box.
13 x 8 inches
Estimate:
$2,000-$3,000

Pair of silver plate wall pockets
With tin inserts. These were a wedding present to Rock and Phyllis Gates. Together with a photograph of the couple sitting beneath the sconces. The divorce papers are also up for auction.
16-1/2 x 10 x 7 inches
Estimate:
$1,200-$1,800

A group of Rock Hudson and Carol Burnett ephemera
Rwo color souvenir books from the mid 1970s musical collaboration I Do! I Do! costarring Carol Burnett and Rock Hudson, one signed on the preliminary leaves by both artists; a ticket stub from the show dated June 13, 1973; a program from a performance of the show at the Huntington Hartford Theatre; and a folder containing two letters regarding Hudson's royalty payments from his appearance on one of Carol Burnett's television specials.
1-1/2 x 2-1/4 inches to 14 x 10 inches
Estimate:
$1,200-$1,500

An Elizabeth Taylor engraved frame gifted to Rock Hudson
Pewter picture frame signed by Cartier featuring a heart shaped cutout with custom engraved inscription reading, "Private Lives 1983 / Darling Rock & Tom / Love Elizabeth." Taylor reportedly stayed with Rock Hudson in his New York apartment while rehearsing for the Broadway opening of Private Lives. The two had been friends since the filming of Giant in 1956, and Hudson's battle with AIDS was one of the factors that led to Taylor's personal involvement in fighting the disease.
11 x 8-3/4 inches
Estimate:
$1,000-$1,500

A Rock Hudson-owned USC Trojans Marching Band Trojan helmet
Painted molded plastic with adjustable straps to interior. Gift of Elizabeth Taylor to Hudson c. 1976 for use in his home theater.
17 inches (height)
Estimate:
$600-$900

A Rock Hudson-owned Tiffany belt buckle
Tiffany & Co. stamped silver belt buckle with banner reading "Circus of the Stars 1980" engraved "Rock Hudson." A participation gift from the production with original box and bag.
2-1/2 x 3 inches
Estimate:
$1,000-$1,500

A group of Rock Hudson White House ephemera
A photograph of Rock Hudson with President and Nancy Reagan, signed and inscribed by Nancy Reagan at the lower margin in black marker to Rock, and also signed "Ron." With a handwritten White House stationery correspondence card in original transmittal envelope dated July 1984, and with a handwritten thank-you note from Nancy Reagan. Together with a group of associated material including invitations, table card, name card, gate card, protocol instructions and other materials related to Hudson's visits to the White House in April and May of 1984.
From 2-1/2 x 4-1/4 inches to 10 x 8 inches
Estimate:
$4,000-$6,000