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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 7:38 pm | Fair 56º


Actor-Singer Tab Hunter Dies in Santa Barbara Days Before 87th Birthday

The 1950s teen heartthrob, who lived in Montecito, was best known for his role in the musical 'Damn Yankees'

Tab Hunter Click to view larger
Actor-singer Tab Hunter, a teen heartthrob from the 1950s and ‘60s, passed away Sunday night at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. He would have been 87 on Wednesday. (Facebook photo)

Actor, singer and author Tab Hunter, a teen heartthrob of the 1950s and '60s, died Sunday night at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, just days before his 87th Birthday.

Hunter’s passing, from complications of a blood clot, was announced on the Tab Hunter Confidential Facebook page:

"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."

Hunter appeared in more than 40 films and television shows, and was perhaps best known for his role as Joe Hardy in the musical Damn Yankees.

He lived in Montecito with his husband, film producer Allan Glaser.

Glaser told the Los Angeles Times that Hunter collapsed in his arms at their home, and he was rushed to the hospital.

Glaser also told the Times that Hunter was a religious man who worked with paralyzed veterans and animals.

“He was a tremendous human being. If he could do anything to better someone else’s life, he would,” Glaser was quoted as saying.

A list of Hunter’s co-stars reads like a who’s who of Hollywood, and includs John Wayne, Lana Turner, Natalie Wood, Gary Cooper, Rita Hayworth, Sophia Loren, Fred Astaire, Debbie Reynolds, Vincent Price, Divine and many others.

Tab Hunter and Debbie Reynolds Click to view larger
Tab Hunter co-starred with some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Debbie Reynolds. (Facebook photo)

He was also a music star, and his recording of “Young Love” knocked Elvis Presley off the top of the charts in 1957.

Locally, Hunter was a supporter of various nonprofit groups and causes, including the annual Unity Shoppe telethon.

Hunter was born Arthur Andrew Kelm on July 11, 1931, in New York City. His parent divorced when he was young, and he moved with his mother and brother to California.

He joined the U.S. Coast Guard at age 15, but eventually was discharged when the service discovered his age.

He was working as a stable boy when he was discovered, and his first film was a minor part in The Lawless in 1950. Hunter eventually was offered a contract with Warner Bros., and went on to star in many films.

In 2005, Hunter published his autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, in which he acknowledged that he was gay, confirming rumors that had followed him for many years.

In addition to Glaser, Hunter is reportedly is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were pending on Monday.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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