Dynasty icon Linda Evans is one of the many Hollywood stars who speak about the life of handsome screen legend Rock Hudson in the new Max documentary, Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed. Linda opens up about her kissing scene with Rock via their characters Krystle Carrington and Daniel Reece on Dynasty in 1985, which became controversial after it was revealed that Rock had been diagnosed with AIDS.
“When we had that scene we had to do with the kiss, it was a pivotal moment. We showed up that day and shot that scene, and it didn’t turn out like they wanted. Nobody quite knew what to do. I mean, I knew he could deliver that kiss,” the actress says in the documentary.
“It’s not up to me to say anything. I let the director handle it, and we did over and we did it over, and he did it consistently. It makes me cry because I know he was protecting me,” she cries. “I didn’t know that at that time. I was confused at the time. But in thinking back, part of the reason I get so upset is that he was doing everything he could do to make it alright for me in case because nobody knew in those days about that. It hurts my heart even now when I think about it.”
Rock had been diagnosed with AIDS in 1984, but he didn’t publicly disclose his condition until July 1985. In a diary entry from February 5, 1985, Rock’s close friend George Nader revealed how Rock felt about the Dynasty kiss.
“Rock returned from work that day after shooting and said, ‘This is the worst day of my life. I used every possible type of mouthwash known to man. An awful day.’ He also said, ‘I kept my mouth closed, and so did she,’” George wrote.
Rock’s AIDS diagnosis shocked the world, especially because Rock never publicly came out as gay. He was one of the most notable figures to have been diagnosed with the emerging disease. In the early days of the AIDS crisis, it wasn’t clear exactly how the disease was transmitted — via blood and bodily fluids — so Rock’s diagnosis sparked questions about whether or not Linda could get AIDS from their Dynasty kissing scene.
“There were, to my shock, people on the set who wouldn’t come into the makeup room when I was there,” Linda reveals. “There were people who wouldn’t work with me and so they had to change scenes because I might have AIDS. I had personal friends who wouldn’t come over to dinner. I mean, people went into fear, tremendous fear. I was never afraid I would have AIDS, no matter what they printed, no matter what science they told me. I thought, where was your humanity? Where’s your compassion? What’s wrong with this world right now?”
As we now know, Linda was never in any danger. In July 1985, Rock traveled to France to receive further treatments for AIDS. While hospitalized in France, his French publicist, Yanou Collart, confirmed that the actor had AIDS. He was eventually flown back to the United States where he died on October 2, 1985, from AIDS-related complications. He was just 59 years old. Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed is now available on Max.