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Phyllis Gates, 80; Former Talent Agency Secretary Was Briefly Married to Rock Hudson in '50s

January 12, 2006|Dennis McLellan | Times Staff Writer

In her book, Gates said famed Hollywood lawyer Jerry Giesler, whom she consulted for her divorce, told her that Hudson and Willson had visited him a week before Gates married Hudson and asked Giesler if he could stop the damaging Confidential story. The story never ran.

Hudson, she wrote, later denied marrying her because of the Confidential story. But she received confirmation of his secret life when one of her closest friends told her that Hudson had been unfaithful to her, with an Italian actor, during the filming of "A Farewell to Arms" in Italy.

As Hudson hurried out of the Santa Monica divorce court with his lawyer and Willson, Gates wrote in her book, she thought how "relieved they must have felt, as if the world had been lifted from their shoulders. I had the power to destroy Rock and I didn't use it. To have exposed his other life would have been vicious and vindictive. I faced enough trouble rebuilding my life without bearing that guilt."

That was the last time she saw Hudson.

Shortly before Hudson died of AIDS in 1985 at age 59, he reportedly said he had loved only two people in his life. One of them was Gates.

Gates, who never remarried, is survived by a sister, Marvis Ketelsen; and a brother, Russell Gates.

A funeral service for Gates was held Tuesday in Montevideo, Minn.

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