TAB HUNTER RECEIVES OUR 2015 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD IN PHILADELPHIA AT BENEFIT TRIBUTE ON 10/20

When qFLIX Philadelphia goes Hollywood, the city’s LGBTQ film festival does it up BIG. It’s hosting a benefit tribute evening to Tab Hunter, the leading box office heartthrob, matinee idol, and America’s boy next door who dominated movie screens across the country for a decade in the 1950s. He played opposite a long A-list of leading ladies, including Natalie Wood, Debbie Reynolds, Sophia Loren, Gwen Verdon, Connie Stevens, and, decades later, played opposite pop superstar Divine, in campy John Waters’ classic, Polyester and Paul Bartel’s Western spoof, Lust in the Dust, also staring Divine.

During a career that spanned more than four decades, he made 42 films with an impressive list of A-list directors, among them, Joseph Losey, Raoul Walsh, Sidney Lumet, George Abbott, John Huston, Patricia Birch, John Waters, Paul Bartel and David Hemmings.

The multi-talented Hunter wasn’t just a pretty face but he could sing, too, and made eight albums and plenty of singles during his lifetime, hitting the Billboard Charts with “Young Love” that made the girls (and plenty of boys) swoon. He starred in a major musical, Damn Yankees, so he did his song-and-dance routines for the annals of Hollywood musicals.

The qFLIX Philadelphia benefit evening consists of the following:

  • Intimate host dinner at the The Prime Rib with Tab Hunter @ 5 PM. (Ticketed and open to the public)
  • VIP Happy Hour Reception at the Prince Theater @ 6:30 PM (Ticketed and open to the public)
  • Awards ceremony with the presentation of the first-ever qFLIX Philadelphia Lifetime Achievement Award 2015, a specially-produced entertaining tribute reel of his filmography, the regional premiere of the critically-acclaimed Tab Hunter Confidential, directed by Emmy Award winning documentarian Jeffrey Schwartz (I Am Divine, Vito), distributed by The Film Collaborative), at 8 pm at The Prince Theater, Broad (Avenue of the Arts) at Chestnut Streets., and a talkback with the audience moderated by a leading film critic. (Ticketed and open to the public)
  • An informal after-party, hosted by Tavern on Camac, with Max Ashley in the Piano Bar, at 10:30 PM, and Karaoke in Ascend Lounge, with bartender Danny, and your favorite songs spun by Penny Productions, to conclude the evening’s proceedings. (Free and open to the public)

“This event will be the city’s most talked-about experience of this film-going season among film devotees and lovers of nostalgia,” said veteran film festival co-producer Thom Cardwell and president of the board of directors of Philadelphia Independent Film & Video Association (PIFVA).

Hunter, who has been publicly out as a gay man for decades, lived the classic closeted life of a major Hollywood star in typical sign-of-the-times fashion in the 1950s under the watchful eye of Jack Warner himself and the wildly successful (and notorious) talent agent Henry Willson, who specialized in creating “male pinups” for the women of America, who collected a stable of handsome beefcake leading men, many of them closeted, gay and/or bisexual.

As a commodity at the end of the era of the studio system, Hunter fit the bill perfectly, landing on more movie magazine covers than any actor of his period and linked romantically to enough female stars to have easily accumulated a real harem.

But like his screen name, which of course is not real, neither was his sexual orientation. While the official policy of the era within the film industry was to nail shut the Hollywood Closet, Hunter had relationships with names like Rock Hudson (briefly) to Anthony Perkins (that was fairly intense and lasted for a longer period of time).

Based upon the best seller autobiography (written with Eddie Muller, 2005), Tab Hunter Confidential, the movie recounts an intriguing and fascinating life of “a true product of Hollywood, a movie star created from a stable boy, a shy kid made even more so by the way his schoolmates—both girls and boys—reacted to his beauty, by a mother who provided for him in every way except emotionally, and by a secret that both tormented him and propelled him forward.”

If there was ever a true creation of the dream machine, it was Tab Hunter who, through all the challenges in his professional life (he wanted to have some control of what films he appeared and what acting he wished to pursue) and his personal life (keeping the secret of his sexual orientation) made him a survivor.

“We at qFLIX Philadelphia are pleased and proud to celebrate the life and career of Tab Hunter by bringing him to our city for the first-ever qFLIX’s Lifetime Achievement Award and this very exciting evening,” said co-producer James Duggan.

For more information and tickets, please visit qFLIXphilly.com, or in person at the box office at The Prince Theater.

Support for qFLIX Goes Hollywood: 2015 LIFETIME Achievement Award TAB HUNTER comes from The Tavern Group, Breaking Glass Pictures, Sofitel Philadelphia Hotel, K. I. Designs & Branding, Philadelphia Independent Film & Video Association, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Verde Salon by Kevin Gatto, LinguiSearch, FarmCat Media, The Prime Rib, QUEERtimes.net, The Prince Theater, and The Film Collaborative, et al.

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