‘Thought I Was Dead Man,’ Rock Hudson’s Ex-Lover Tells Court

Times Staff Writer

Rock Hudson’s former lover testified in court Wednesday that “I thought I was a dead man,” upon hearing a television broadcast from Paris that the actor had been suffering from AIDS for more than a year.

“At first I didn’t believe what I was hearing and then I began to sweat,” Marc Christian told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury. “Then I blacked out. Later, I vomited, I got chills and I became depressed. I got nightmares because I was scared of dying of AIDS.”

Christian said that when he asked Mark Miller, Hudson’s personal secretary, why he had been repeatedly lied to about the film star’s deteriorating health during the previous year, Miller told him, “I was only following orders. The movie star made me do it.”


Claims Conspiracy

Christian is suing Miller and Hudson’s estate for conspiring to conceal the late actor’s illness from him. Christian claims that he suffered extreme emotional distress after learning of Hudson’s illness in July, 1985, because he had been repeatedly exposed to acquired immune deficiency syndrome through his sexual contact with Hudson.

A former bartender, Christian, 35, said he met Hudson at a fund-raiser for senatorial candidate Gore Vidal in late 1982. “I heard this voice, ‘Where the hell’s the booze?’ I turned and saw Rock Hudson standing next to me,” Christian said.

The two men became lovers in April, 1983, and Christian moved into Hudson’s West Hollywood mansion in November.

Christian, often speaking so low that he was asked several times to repeat his statements, gave graphic testimony to the jury about the two men’s alternating, high-risk sexual practices, which he says continued for nearly a year after Hudson was diagnosed with AIDS. So far, Christian has tested negative for the AIDS virus.

Under questioning by his attorney, Harold Rhoden, Christian also emphatically denied the claims of defense attorneys that he was a promiscuous gold-digger who filed a lawsuit against Hudson’s estate in pursuit of money and publicity.

No Knowledge of Will

Christian testified that he never had any knowledge of the contents of Hudson’s will and said that any publicity about the lawsuit would only hurt, not help, a career as a possible Hollywood actor or writer.

“I knew that by filing this lawsuit that I would never, never have an opportunity to work in this town,” he said. “Anyone who wants to have a working career here can never identify themselves as a homosexual.”

Christian portrayed his relationship with Hudson as a budding love affair in which the two men saw each other up to 80 times before Hudson asked him to spend a night with him. Christian said the night “turned into a weekend.”

“At that time he told me he was beginning to develop very deep feelings for me and that he thought he was falling in love with me,” Christian said during his daylong testimony. “I told him I also was developing feelings for him and that I also was attracted to him. I was falling in love with him.”

Christian told jurors that Hudson and Miller and others employed by the actor repeatedly lied to him about Hudson’s illness, diagnosed as AIDS in 1984. At various times, he said Hudson told him that he had a form of skin cancer, a lingering flu or was drinking too much scotch. Later, when Hudson began suffering severe weight loss, Christian said Miller told him the “movie star” was suffering from anorexia, a severe eating disorder.

After Hudson appeared on several episodes of “Dynasty” in 1984, Christian said he told the actor that he looked horrible, “like a walking cadaver.” But Hudson continued to conceal his illness from him, telling him that he had been “checked for everything.”

Had Faith in Hudson

“I believed that he would have told me if he had AIDS,” he said. “I felt that I had nothing to fear from him.”

Christian said it still didn’t occur to him that his lover might be dying of AIDS when the two men watched a television newscast one evening about the spread of the disease in gay bathhouses. He said when he asked Hudson what he would do if the actor contracted AIDS, Hudson replied, “I’d have one last good (sex act) and then I’d say ‘Goodby, cruel world.’ ”

Hudson died in 1985 of complications from AIDS at the age of 59.

Defense attorneys contend that Christian threatened to expose Hudson’s homosexuality by publishing love letters the late actor penned to him while shooting a film in Israel shortly after they met. The attorneys are scheduled to cross-examine Christian today when testimony in the trial continues.