Rock Hudson and His Multifaceted Autograph

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Autographs of Rock Hudson are not difficult to find. Rock had a long and illustrious career in movies and television, signing many contracts, letters, and photographs. He was one of Hollywood’s most popular actors and his autograph was in constant demand.

Hudson’s original name was Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. Autographs with his original signature are uncommon. When his mother married Wallace Fitzgerald at the age of 36 years, Hudson changed his last name to “Fitzgerald.” Autographs of Rock with the last name “Fitzgerald” can be found on the autograph market. Documents and letters with his autograph as “Roy H. Fitzgerald” usually sell between $125 and $225. However, in the frenzy of heated auctions, documents signed by Hudson with the last name “Fitzgerald” have been known to sell for over $600.

In 1947, on the recommendation of his agent Henry Willson, the handsome actor changed his name to Rock Hudson. It is said that his first name “Rock” was from the Rock of Gibraltar and his last name “Hudson” was from the Hudson River. Agent Henry Willson had an instrumental influence on Hudson’s career. Not only did Willson introduce Hudson to Hollywood, but he later convinced Hudson to marry his secretary Phyllis Gates so as to conceal Hudson’s homosexual activities. Gates and Hudson divorced after only three years of marriage.

Hudson’s autographs on contracts for movie acting and television roles have provided a major source of his signatures. His first check for an acting job was from Vanguard Films that was dated March 19, 1948. The actor endorsed the check with both of his names: “Roy Fitzgerald” and “Rock Hudson.” Checks signed by Rock occasionally appear on the autograph marketplace. Some of the most interesting checks he wrote are those written as alimony payments to his former wife Phyllis Gates.

Most common among signed contracts with Hudson’s signature are those from AFTRA, Mammoth Films, and Spelling Productions. Collectors of television memorabilia collect Hudson autographs because of his connection with Dynasty. Hudson appeared in one episode of the I Love Lucy television program with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Hudson is well known for his series of movies with costar Doris Day. Hudson’s popularity soared when he acted in the movie Giant with James Dean. Movie-related documents with his autograph as “Rock Hudson” are usually sold for amounts ranging from $100 to $225. Photos signed by Hudson command between $100 and $400.

The world was taken by surprise in July of 1985 when Hudson disclosed that he suffered from AIDS. Hudson died three months later, shortly after appearing with Doris Day in a reunion television special. His former lover Marc Christian MacGinnis sued Hudson’s estate for Hudson’s failure to inform him of his disease. MacGinnis won a jury verdict for $21.75 million. Autographs from MacGinnis are rare since he was not a public figure and died of pulmonary disease at the age of 56 years.

During his illustrious career Rock Hudson epitomized the image of a dashing and debonair Hollywood actor. Hudson’s many movie and television appearances has secured his position in the Pantheon of Hollywood history.

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