NY Mirror

Phyllis Gates—the wife of closeted movie icon Rock Hudson—recently died, and now Bob Hoffler, who wrote The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson about agent Henry Willson, has some juice to spill.  As Hoffler tells me, "After their divorce, Gates, who was a lesbian, blackmailed Rock. In the book, I detail the story where Henry hired a hit from Las Vegas on two guys who were blackmailing Rock. Well, Gates put them up to it, and the hit also paid her a visit. Later, she tried again, but was quelled by photos take of her with other women. Rock had somehow acquired these photos."

The author adds: "Phyllis had told various people that marrying Rock 'would be fun.' She then became addicted to being the wife of a star, and didn't want the divorce. Mark Miller, [movie star] George Nader's lover, told me that she had a double standard: Phyllis could play around with women but Rock had to remain faithful to her. In a way, she was just being pragmatic: she feared that Rock's exposure would ruin his fame, which was in turn her gravy train.

"By the way, Phyllis did not meet Rock at Henry Willson's office, as she claimed. She met Rock at Mark Miller and George Nader's home in Studio City. She had been out on a movie date with Rock Hudson's then-lover, Jack Navaar. So Phyllis knew the score. She met Rock in the company of gay men." And now it's gay men who are telling the truth about the whole situation.

Oh, one more thing: Says Hoffler, "In the last two years, Gates was actually mentioned as the correspondent in a divorce case in which a husband accused his wife of having an affair with Gates. I don't know how that case resolved."


WEB EXTRA

The invite said "Paper and Mac celebrate Zac Posen at Village restaurant," so I went and dove into the pear crumble and special guest Bryce Dallas Howard, who was unspoiled and fun. Was she only there because she starred in The Village? "Yes," she played along, "I only go to restaurants named Village." (16-month-old spoiler alert: It's set in the present!) Of course she would also go to any restaurant named Manderlay; that's the title of the new Lars von Trier weirdie with Bryce as Dogville's Nicole Kidman character, this time stumbling upon slavery in the '30s. "It's an interesting film," she told me, wide-eyed. "Interesting is the operative word."


musto@villagevoice.com

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