The Cleaning Man, a play written and directed by Michael Holmes whose subtitle is A Deposition in the Estate of Rock Hudson, has reopened at the Chandler Studio in NoHo and will continue through Jan. 21 (with a holiday break between Dec. 23-Jan. 6). The play opened last Oct. in L.A. and ran into November, thanks to rave reviews in such papers as the Times and NoHo News and subsequent box office response.
In the 1950s Hudson was an international film star of the first magnitude, having achieved success in such films as "The Lawless Breed" and "Magnificent Obsession." His masculine good looks were remarkable and his sexuality on screen seemed natural and appealing. There was only one hangup: he was gay. This was a problem Hollywood could neither tolerate nor exploit, so his homosexuality had to be kept secret.
When the powerful Confidential Magazine threatened to reveal the truth, Universal Studios made a deal to save Hudson by tossing Rory Calhoun to the jackals instead. Calhoun, who was perceived by the studio as having less box-office potential, had stolen a car as a teenager, which meant that Confidential could portray him as a thug and a jailbird. His career was never the same after that and for the time being, Hudson's career was saved.
Holmes built his play on the deposition of John Dobbs, Hudson's cleaning man (played by John Beckman). After Hudson died of AIDS in 1985, his lover Marc Christian sued the estate for $14 million for conspiracy to endanger his life. Dobbs, who witnessed the day to day activities in Hudson's home ("the castle"), told one sensational story after another about the conspiracy, deceit, prejudice and sexual games unique to Hudson's lifestyle.
Chandler Studio is located at 12443 Chandler Blvd. For tickets and information call (818) 908-4094.
— By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent