Hollywood Columnist Army Archerd Dies at 87
Longtime Daily Variety reporter and Hollywood gossip columnist Army Archerd has died at 87. He brought a disease that was taboo and in the process of killing millions out into the light by talking publicly about Rock Hudson. L.A. Times:
"Archerd's biggest scoop was published July 23, 1985, the announcement that Hudson was battling AIDS. The actor had never publicly acknowledged his homosexuality, and became the first major Hollywood figure to be linked to the scourge. 'The whispering campaign on Rock Hudson can and should stop. He has flown to Paris for further help. . . . His illness was no secret to close Hollywood friends, but its true nature was divulged to very, very few. Doctors warn that the dread disease is going to reach catastrophic proportions in all communities if a cure is not soon found.' The story sent shock waves around the world. 'It was a thunder strike,' said Bob Thomas, the veteran Associated Press reporter who helped get Archerd his first reporting job in 1945. For two days, Hudson's representatives maintained that the actor had flown to Paris to be treated for liver cancer or unexplainable fatigue. 'Someone had anonymously mailed him [Archerd] a photocopy of the doctor's records,' Archerd's wife, Selma, told The Times in 1999. 'And he'd had them for months, but it was so devastating to print it. It was so shocking -- someone that you actually knew! But he waited until Rock was really out of it. The press agents tried to discredit Army. His [previous] editor said he might have to retract it. And Army said, 'Please don't do that to me. The story is right.' And, of course, it proved to be right.'"