The Story Behind The Giant Of Hollywood: Rock Hudson’s Net Worth And More

According to Harper’s Bazaar, The Golden Age of Hollywood was between the 1920s to 1960s when Hollywood films and the Big Five studios ruled the film industry. During this time, movies produced stars known for their glitz and glamour, like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, etc. In the present time, we still watch, admire, and idolize most of these stars, to the point that we pay homage and reference the iconic films they starred in and their lives in pop culture.

While it was called the Golden Age of Hollywood, the lives of the stars of this time were living lives far from being golden. Not all stars of that time were able to rise to the expectations of the image Hollywood wanted them to portray that many didn’t have a Hollywood ending.

One of the stars who rose to prominence during this era of Hollywood is Rock Hudson. He may not be a household name like the aforementioned stars, but he was one of the most sought-after heartthrobs during his career’s prime. Because of Hollywood’s strict control of his persona, he met a tragic end to his glamorous life. While not many people would recognize his name, Rock Hudson’s net worth, life and legacy are worth a closer look. 

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The Life And Legacy Of Rock Hudson

Early Life And Career

Like most Hollywood stars of that time, Rock Hudson was not his real name – he was born as Roy Harold Scherer, Jr on the 17th of November in 1925. His early life wasn’t the kind of life that most young kids enjoy these days, as the Great Depression caused his family to suffer, and his parents eventually divorced. Growing up, Hudson took on a job as an usher in a cinema, which sparked his interest in acting. 

After many years of doing some failed acting stints, enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and working some odd jobs, including being a truck driver, he finally landed his acting debut. His first acting stints from 1948’s “Fighter Squadron” until 1951’s “Here Come the Nelsons” helped him pave his way to his first role as a leading man in 1952’s “Scarlet Angel”.

1956’s “Giant” is one of the films that made his career fully take off into superstardom, which also allowed him to land in heartthrob land. His role in the film earned him a nomination in the Academy Awards’ Best Actor in a Leading Role Category. But like most celebrities, Rock Hudson was no stranger to living a secret double life that attracts controversy, as his other persona – the one we don’t see on screen – is different from the roles he plays.

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The Man Behind The Giant

Like most celebrities during that time, studios heavily controlled Rock Hudson’s image, and he went to great lengths to uphold this onscreen persona made for him. You see, Rock Hudson had to hide his real sexuality as a homosexual, and he even had to stay in the closet for most of his life, as that period wasn’t as accepting as it is today for the LGBTQ+ community.

From 1962 to 1965, Rock Hudson dated Lee Garlington, another popular actress of that time. The actor considered her his true love, despite his attraction to other men. According to the actress, the pressures of the industry and the homophobia of that time kept Hudson from living his life, despite him being the kindest man she’s ever met.

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Rock Hudson’s Death And Net Worth

From Tragic To Happy Ending
Rock Hudson as a pop art showing how colorful his life was, albeit the tragic end. Source:

In 1984, Rock Hudson died from complications of AIDS shortly after he publicly announced his diagnosis. These events made him the face of the crisis as he was one of the few well-known people of that time to have been infected and died from the disease. Healthcare professionals of that time considered his public announcement of his disease and his death an important event that made the world care about the epidemic.

If you search for the celebrities’ net worth during that time, Rock Hudson appears to be one of the richest alongside Cary Grant, Greta Garbo, and John Hudson. When Rock Hudson died, his net worth was a total of $10 million, and it is roughly $23 million if you adjust the amount due to inflation. His estate eventually donated this amount of money to charity and one of his former male lovers.

WATCH VIDEO: The Untold Truth Of Rock Hudson – Rock Hudson’s net worth

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From Tragic To Happy Ending

While Rock Hudson isn’t a household name today like James Dean or Elvis Presley, he has left behind a life worth knowing about. His life may not have that Hollywood movie ending that he deserves, but we should celebrate his life and remember his legacy.


Leonard hails from the Philippines and works as a freelancer, author, poet, and visual artist. He discovered his passion for writing and painting at an early age, leading him to pursue a degree in Mass Communications. He worked at a few places after college before landing what he thought was a "life-changing" writing career. He was also the lead singer and songwriter for a band. His career as an English teacher, poet, and visual artist took him to Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2018. You can see more of his work on Instagram at @anumalei.