After an introduction from actor Dick Clayton, notorious starmaker Henry Wilson decided to take young Arthur Gelien as his client and named him “Tab Hunter.” Hunter had his first film role in 1950, but only after he appeared on the screen without his shirt in several B-movies, including Island of Desire (1952), The Steel Lady (1953), Gun Belt (1953) and Return to Treasure Island (1954), that he began to attract more attention. His decision would eventually pay off with a lucrative contract with Warner Bros, and beefier roles.
Hunter shot to even higher stardom with another World War II epic Battle Cry (1955), in which he played a boyish soldier seduced by an older navy wife. As his beefcake charm was the key of his popularity, it was vital for Hunter’s character to shed his itchy uniform on screen, a strategy to keep Hunter’s ever-growing fans, both female and male, satisfied in The Sea Chase (1955), The Burning Hills (1956) and The Girl He Left Behind (1956).
Take a look back at the actor at his hom in 1952 through 10 gorgeous vintage portraits taken by Earl Leaf: