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Tab Hunter Dead: ‘Damn Yankees!’ Heartthrob Dies at 86

Tab Hunter dead
Tab Hunterilver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Tab Hunter, the actor who rose to fame in the 1950s, died on Sunday, July 8, at the age of 86.

He passed away in Santa Barbara, California from a heart attack caused by a blood clot, his longtime partner Allan Glaser told The Hollywood Reporter. Additionally, a Facebook page linked to the actor announced his passing. “SAD NEWS: Tab passed away tonight three days shy of his 87th birthday. Please honor his memory by saying a prayer on his behalf. He would have liked that,” the post read on Monday, July 9.

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Hunter’s most famous role was Joe Hardy in the 1958 Damn Yankees! movie. He also starred in two films with drag queen Divine.

In 2005, he released a memoir, Tab Hunter Confidential, in which he revealed that he had been a closeted gay man throughout his acting career. He also claimed he had studio-approved relationships with some of his female costars – like Natalie Wood – to cover up real affairs with men – like Anthony Perkins. The memoir was developed into a documentary in 2015 and his affair with Perkins is the subject of Tab & Tony, an upcoming film starring Zachary Quinto. It will be produced by Glaser, Quinto and J.J. Abrams.

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Hunter had a music career, releasing a hit song “Young Love” in 1957, which sold over one million copies. He also went on to star in his own sitcom, The Tab Hunter Show, in the 1960s and landed leading roles in The Pleasure of His Company, The Golden Arrow and Operation Bikini.

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