About 30 years ago when I was giving a screenwriting seminar at the University of Alberta I noticed that Tab Hunter was headlining a dinner theater at the nearby Mayfield Inn.
I phoned him to see if he would honor the seminar with his presence.
“Ok,” he said. “When do you want me?”
“How about tomorrow — I’ll send a limo.”
“Ah, don’t make a big deal out of it. I’ll grab a cab.”
The next afternoon I told about 100 of Canada’s would-be screenwriters that it helps to sell a script if you have a star attached.
Yeah. Right. Someone asked how anyone was going to meet a star in Edmonton, a city which seemed light years away from Hollywood.
“Good question. Why don’t you ask Tab Hunter.”
And onto the stage he waltzed, his enormous fur coat glowing with fresh fallen snowflakes.
For the next hour Tab Hunter graciously shared stories about his life with everyone — then answered questions to the delight of the class. Hunter was a class act — on or off the stage.
I thanked him and called him by his real name: Art.
“Not many people in Canada know that name,” he said and away he want to get ready for the evening show at the Mayfield Inn. One of our TV and Film Institute board members and her family owned the Mayfield Inn and she sent Tab flowers and wine that evening.
I knew Tab’s name was Arthur Gelien because a single friend of mine I met in the Mormon church had a gold wedding band. There were two sets of initials engraved inside the band. One was AG and the other was my friend’s.
I’ll call my friend “Brigham.”
Brigham, 22, was as good looking as Tab. Brigham was gay inside a tight closet.
He spent several months in Hollywood in his late teens and Tab introduced Brigham to things that most Christian churches did not approve of. Tab and Brigham had a falling out and my friend was kicked out of the movie star’s bedroom.
You can read about Tab Hunter’s real life in his autobiography: Tab Hunter Confidential. It was recently made into a Netflix film.
Tab never made a pass at me. Brigham did. I passed. Brigham said I was a hopeless hetrosexual. He became a leader in the LDS church.
Here’s my novel about my failed attempt as a Mormon missionary.