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Rock Hudson Has AIDS; Diagnosis Made Over Year Ago

July 26, 1985|JUDITH MICHAELSON | Times Staff Writer

Rock Hudson--whose recent frail appearance stunned a public that retains an image of him as a tall, dark and handsomely square-jawed romantic screen hero--has AIDS, and he has had the usually fatal disease for more than a year.

A spokeswoman for the 59-year-old actor revealed Thursday in Paris that he "was diagnosed (for acquired immune deficiency syndrome) in the United States over a year ago." She also confirmed that Hudson was suffering from "abnormalities" of the liver. Hudson's Los Angeles publicist, Dale Olson, had said Tuesday that the actor has inoperable liver cancer.

Hudson, whose continuing popularity was enhanced last season by television appearances in the prime-time soap "Dynasty, " is the first international celebrity revealed to have the killer disease.

Spokeswoman Yanou Collart said that when doctors at the American Hospital of Paris first examined Hudson they found "abnormalities in (Hudson's) liver, which, without knowledge of the AIDS diagnosis, were either suspected to be caused by an infectious problem or were consistent with metastatic (the spread of disease from one part of the body to another) liver disease."

Collapsed at Hotel

Hudson's doctors later learned about the earlier AIDS diagnosis from Hudson's secretary and personal business manager, Mark Miller, Collart added. "These abnormalities are currently being evaluated," she said.

Miller flew to Paris to be at the actor's side after Hudson collapsed at his hotel Sunday night; he urged Hudson to enter the American Hospital. Hudson had been scheduled to see physicians at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, which is considered a leading international facility in AIDS research. The current trip is the actor's second to Paris for medical consultation in less than a year.

In response to reporters' questions, Collart's office later said: "Mr. Hudson . . . has AIDS, and he has something in the liver as well, although it's not clear what he has. Doctors are continuing to analyze his liver. His state of health is that he is continuing to improve."

While Collart dispensed encouraging tidbits that Hudson was feeling so well that he was telling doctors to make him reservations at his favorite Parisian restaurant, there were simultaneous reports that the actor was "too weak" to undergo a liver biopsy to test for malignancy. Meanwhile a hospital spokeswoman said, "He is hoping to go back to the U.S., but he doesn't know when. . . ."

In Los Angeles, Olson said he was "stunned" by the AIDS revelation and insisted that he had known nothing about the diagnosis in advance.

He said that he got his information for his statement that Hudson had inoperable liver cancer from Miller and Wally Sheft, Hudson's business manager in New York. "I was told about it by them and I was told to repeat it," Olson said. Sheft denied that.

Primary Victims

Bill Misenhimer, executive director of the AIDS Project LA here, said he believes that the news about Hudson "will have an impact within all communities. It will specifically make the entertainment community realize there is a need to support the AIDS issue: speaking out, raising money, lending their talent. . . ."

While AIDS counts homosexual men among its primary victims, it also has struck intravenous drug users and hemophiliacs. Others have contracted the disease through blood transfusions. In November, 1981, Hudson underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery and received blood.

In Atlanta, the Centers for Disease Control reported that as of July 22, 11,871 people in the United States had contracted AIDS and 5,917 had died.

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