ROCK HUDSON, A Quiet Man by Tony Piazza
I met ROCK HUDSON one sunny summer day in downtown San Francisco. He was there filming his television series McMillan and Wife (1971-1977) with Susan Saint James. The show was a crime drama in the tradition of the “The Thin Man” series of the 1930s and 40s. McMillan (Hudson) was a police commissioner with an attractive, engaging wife, named Sally (Saint James) who enjoyed meddling in on his crime cases. John Schuck and Nancy Walker also starred in the series (the later as their maid) and usually provided humor for the episodes. It aired originally on NBC, but returned later on CBS.
Mister Hudson took a few minutes away from filming to shake hands and poise for this picture. He was a very quiet man, serious except twice when he cracked a smile for the camera, and again at my thanks for the picture. He didn’t have much to say at this meeting however except a few polite complements about my father.
I knew a local talk show host on bay area radio who was acquainted with one of Hudson’s former film co-stars. His name was LEE RODGERS and his friend was DORIS DAY. On one special occassion Lee called her up when on the air to wish her a happy birthday. By her voice, answering the phone it seemed as if he’d awaken her- his show was on very early in the morning- but, Ms. Day always the gracious lady conducted herself afterwards in her usual bright and charming way. As an aside, Ms. Day supports wonderful charities for the well-being of animals, especially dogs and cats. She also owns The Cypress Inn, in Carmel, CA which welcomes pets of all kinds. We’ve stayed there with our dog and I’ll tell you, every amenity is taken care of for the comfort and enjoyment of both you and your pets. Bravo Ms. Day!
Tony Piazza is author of the 1930s Hollywood murder mystery novel; “Anything Short of Murder,” which had its roots on the TCM fan website. His next novel, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” has just been released. He was an actor/extra during the 1970s and worked with such legends as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Karl Malden.