Tab Hunter (born July 11, 1931, in New York City, New York) is an American actor and singer.
He was born Arthur Andrew Kelm, the son of Charles Kelm and Gertrude Gelien. His father was Jewish, and his mother was a Roman Catholic. Shortly after his birth, his mother decided on the first name of Arthur. Within a few years of his birth, his parents divorced, and his mother moved with her two sons to California and all three took her maiden name of Gelien. Hunter's older brother, Walter ("Walt"), a medic, was killed within 2 weeks of his arrival in Vietnam.
As a teenager in the late 1940s, Gelien was a figure skater, competing in both singles and pairs.
Signed to a film studio contract at Warner Bros. and renamed "Tab Hunter" by his first agent, Henry Willson, he was one of many Hollywood actors whose rights were owned by the studio. Marketing and control of their image was under total control of the studio, as per their contract. His good looks got him pegged as a teen idol and he obtained a role in the film Island of Desire mostly for this reason. His Island screen partner was 1940s beauty Linda Darnell. He went on to become a full-fledged movie star appearing in over 50 features.
Although he had a mediocre singing voice, based on his teen idol status he had a 1957 hit record with a cover of the Sonny James hit song, "Young Love," which topped the charts at #1 for over a month - actually beating out an Elvis Presley single at that time. It was because of Tab's success with this recording that Warner Bros decided to form "Warner Bros Records" for Tab. He was their first recording artist on the new label.
His own television show, The Tab Hunter Show, had a brief run (1960-1961). During this time, he was one of the finalists for the lead role in West Side Story, the film adaption of the Broadway show. Several other Hollywood men, like Elvis, Warren Beatty, Troy Donahue, and Anthony Perkins, were in the running for the role, which eventually went to Richard Beymer. Hunter didn't get the part, because the producers felt he was "too old" at 29.
Hunter settled, for a short time in the late 1960s, in the south of France. This came to be a place where Hunter loved to film the spaghetti westerns he was appearing in at the time.
An avid horseback rider, Hunter has always maintained a great love of horses and continues to ride on a regular basis.
For his contribution to the recording industry, Tab Hunter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6320 Hollywood Blvd.
His career was revived in the 1980s when he starred opposite transvestite actor Divine in two films: John Waters' Polyester (1981) and Paul Bartel's Lust in the Dust (1985). He also wrote the story for, and appeared in, the movie Dark Horse (1992).
Tab Hunter currently lives in Montecito, California, near Santa Barbara. He shares a home with his partner of 23 years, film producer Allan Glaser. His autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star (ISBN 1565124669) was released on October 10, 2005, and became a national best-seller. There is talk that the book may be made into a movie.