Doris Day gave a rare interview about her beloved friend Rock Hudson decades after she left Hollywood behind in 1973.
Closer Weekly recently reported the 96-year-old actress and singer participated in Mark Griffin’s new book, titled “All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson.”
Hudson, a screen idol during the ‘50s and ‘60s who was often paired with America’s Sweetheart in romantic comedies, died in 1985 at age 59 after suffering of AIDS for more than a year.
The New York Times reported Hudson was the first major public figure to openly acknowledge that he was suffering from the incurable disease. The newspaper added that while acquaintances often described Hudson as being gay, the actor never publicly commented or acknowledged the reports.
Closer Weekly revealed that Day, who fiercely preserves her private life away from cameras and rarely gives interviews, didn’t hesitate to sing the praises of her close friend.
“Between scenes, we’d walk and talk and laugh, and I guess our comedic timing grew out of our friendship and how naturally funny we were together,” Day told Griffin.
“I honestly don’t think I taught him anything he didn’t already know after all his years in the business,” she added.
Hudson and Day played leading roles in 1959’s “Pillow Talk,” 1961’s “Lover Come Back” and 1964’s “Send Me No Flowers.” Griffin told the magazine their chemistry both on and off the screen was undeniable.
“They just played off one another beautifully,” said Griffin. “What’s interesting now, years after these movies have been released, is if you say Rock Hudson, the next thing people inevitably say is Doris Day. They’re synonymous with each other.”
While Day and Hudson made the perfect on-screen couple, Griffin revealed in his book the star struggled as a closeted gay man who publicly played the role of a red-blooded, heterosexual male.
“Long before he landed in Hollywood, he understood that if he wanted to be accepted, the very essence of who he was would have to be edited out of the frame,” wrote Griffin, as reported by Closer Weekly. “From an early age, he learned that you could talk about pretty much anything, except what you truly felt and what you really wanted.”
This isn’t the first time that Day, who has settled into a quiet life in California, has given glimpses about her friendship with Hudson.
Back in 2015, Day admitted to People magazine that the star, who loved to make her laugh even when cameras stopped rolling, never left her mind.
“I still miss him,” said Day.
Day still vividly remembered the first time they met on the set of “Pillow Talk.”
“I remember asking someone ‘Is his name really Rock? That’s odd, don’t you think?’” she said. “I knew nothing about him! [But] he was so funny. He always had a nickname for me but he liked Eunice best. He’d come into the makeup area and holler, ‘Eunice, are you here? I’ll be over in a minute with a donut.'"
And despite being diagnosed with AIDS, Hudson kept his vow to appear on her variety show in 1985. Day was stunned by what she witnessed.
“I hardly knew him,” said Day. “He was very sick. But I just brushed that off and I came out and put my arms around him and said ‘Am I glad to see you.’”
Day shared his last visit broke her heart.
“He’d get very tired,” said Day. “I’d bring him his lunch and fix him a big platter but he couldn’t eat it. I’d say, ‘What if I get a fork and feed you?’ But he said ‘Doris I can’t eat.’
“They had a small plane to get him to the airport. We kissed goodbye and he gave me a big hug and he held onto me. I was in tears. That was the last time I saw him — but he’s in heaven now.”
Day has since dedicated her life to helping animals in need through the Doris Day Animal Foundation. However, Day insisted she still cherishes the love she once shared with Hudson, an admiration that still lives on.
“I think the reason people liked our movies is that they could tell how much we liked each other,” said Day. “It came across that way on screen. He was a good friend.”
Back in March, Barbara Rush, who starred as evil Nora Clavicle in the hit series “Batman” in 1968, told Fox News Hudson was head over heels for Day long before the pair bonded as close friends on and off the screen.
The duo starred together in “Taza, Son of Cochise,” “Captain Lightfoot,” and “Magnificent Obsession” during the ‘50s.
“He loved Doris Day before he even met her,” said Rush. “He did, he absolutely did. He just loved her singing. We were on location [filming] and he would play some of her music. He just loved it. Doris had such a wonderful singing voice. I remember him playing her records on the jukebox. He played it a lot.”