The night First Lady NANCY REAGAN turned down a desperate and dying ROCK HUDSON’s appeal for help!
In late June 1985, Rock Hudson began appearing very gaunt and skeletal-like in public. Yet he seemed fine when he had guest-starred on TV hit “Dynasty” a few months earlier.
But then Rock shocked the world when he made a rare public appearance with frequent co-star and lifelong pal Doris Day.
What was wrong with Rock Hudson, only 59, the one-time “hunkiest he-man in Hollywood” the world wondered? Meanwhile, throughout his career Rock had remained firmly closeted to the public – even taking a wife Phyllis Gates — although his homosexuality was well known to Hollywood insiders.
In July 1985 he had just checked into the Ritz Hotel in Paris when he suddenly collapsed. After being examined by the hotel doc, Rock was rushed to the American Hospital of Paris in a nearby suburb.
Rumors ran rampant. His PR flack said liver disease. Anorexia, Rock’s lawyer claimed. Fatigue, others claimed.
They were all wrong – Rock was dying from complications due to the then-mystery illness AIDS. But why was Rock in Paris seeking specialized treatment, which surely a wealthy American could have received back home?
Dr. Dormant, a French army doctor, had already treated Rock in secret but with the Reagan administration proposed cuts in AIDS research and few knowledgeable physicians Rock but to seek help in France.
Rock’s team –his French and American publicist and longtime personal assistant tried everything to get the failing thesp admitted into an Army hospital so he could be treated by Dr. Dormant, who had previously diagnosed Rock after performing a biopsy.
As Rock lay stricken – hovering between life and death, his publicist Dale Olson sent an urgent telegram to the White House pleading for a transfer to the army hospital.
The telegram was sent to Rock’s former-acting colleagues – President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan and Rock had been a fervent Regan political supporter.
“Only one hospital in the world an offer necessary medical treatment to save the life of Rock Hudson or at least alleviate his illness,” Dale Olson wrote in the telegram addressed to Regan staffer Mark Weinberg.
The White House logged its receipt of the telegram at 2:07 p.m. on July 24, 1985, a copy of the telegram in the archives of the Reagan administration Library revealed, BuzzFeed noted.
Weinberg took the matter to First Lady Nancy Reagan.
In a memorandum to Bill Martin, a special assistant to the Nation Security Council, Weinberg wrote: “I spoke with Mrs. Reagan about the attached telegram. She did not feel this was something the White House should get into and agreed to my suggestion that we refer the writer to the U.S. Embassy, Paris.”
Yet, while the First Lady was advising staffers not to do any favors for celebrity pals – be they be dying of AIDS or not – her hubby Ron was on the phone with Rock in Paris wishing him well.
Despite rumors of State Department involvement there are no records of Reagan officials imploring French President Mitterrand to lend his assistance to the matter but days later Rock was admitted to the hospital.
Rock was then advised – he had two choices — remain in Paris or return to the US for treatment at UCLA Medical Center on a secretly chartered jet.
Cable news covered the touchdown of the Boeing 707 jet on US soil as “Rock’s Mystery Illness” captured headlines worldwide. Grainy footage of the only virile star –now emaciated being wheeled from the plane on a hospital gurney unspooled non-stop on TV.
While the mainstream media had kept Rock’s sexuality and the cause of his illness shrouded in secret, the San Francisco Chronicle finally outed Rock with “on-the-record” quotes from pals.
Team Rock then issued a brief statement on July 30 updating his fading condition.
A week later Newsweek trumpeted “AIDS STRIKES STAR!”
Finally on Oct .2, 1985 Rock died, his longtime secret revealed -sending the nation into a HIV panic.
The Reagan Administration was finally forced to admit that the AIDS virus was a plague of potentially catastrophic proportions.
But long-time Rock pal and his “Giant” costar Elizabeth Taylor took matters into her own hands, wasting no time with bureaucrats.
She launched her own personal campaign in memory of her beloved Rock – Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation – which she spearheaded until the day she died.
“It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance,” Liz had said.