In his 2005 autobiography Tab Hunter Confidential, the former teen idol (and out-proud gay icon) tells the heartbreaking story of inciting riots at his school during recess because he was just so freaking beautiful.
“Day one (of public school) was a rude awakening,” he writes. “I was surrounded in the school yard by hundreds of gawking freshman girls. No nuns around to quash their adolescant urges or break up the impromptu assembly. The girls kept a not-so-discreet distance, making me feel like an attraction at the zoo. Or more to the point, like a fox cornered by hounds. At the bell, I charged through the gauntlet of squeals to my homeroom.
“Even as a kid, I had the looks that made girls swoon I’d sprouted to five foot eleven and had tousled, sun-bleached hair, my mother’s strong features, and plenty of muscles from a knockabout childhood. Girls went goofy just looking at me.
“It made me miserable.
“I couldn’t stand anybody fawning over me just because of the way I looked.
“Imagine: a 14-year-old with an entourage. An entourage but precious few friends. Girls, mostly. Boys had no use for me; they were jealous of all the attention I got for doing nothing. I couldn’t blame them.
“My popularity with female students was branded ‘disruptive’ by certain faculty members. In particular, the science teacher, Miss Peacock, was outraged at how girls fawned over me. Believing that I willfully instigated their behavior, Miss Peacock picked on me mercilessly, determined to publically sink the girls’ ‘dreamboat.” Finally, Miss Peacock demanded an audience with my mother, assuming she would expose my antics. ‘Your son has no shame,’ the teacher asserted. ‘Look at the disgraceful way he bleaches his hair to get attention.’ Mother and I were dumbfounded. Bleaching my hair was a ‘crime’ I’d never even considered committing. ‘My son does not bleach his hair,’ she said. ‘But YOU might consider touching up those roots!’ After confronting Miss Peacock face-to-face, Mother decided she had no choice but to move me and Walt to a different school.”