Hollywood Cast vs. Real Life


In Hollywood, the new Netflix limited series from Ryan Murphy, a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers try to make it big in Tinseltown. Among fictional dreamers played by Darren Criss and Laura Harrier are a few depictions of real-life performers and entertainment fixtures. Considering the show’s mission to dismantle the image of Golden Age Hollywood and rewrite a more inclusive history, it’s likely you’ll see characters such as Rock Hudson, Anna May Wong, and Vivien Leigh in a whole new light. Below, a look at the compelling cast of Hollywood, including Queen Latifah as Hattie McDaniel and Harriet Harris as Eleanor Roosevelt, compared to their real-life counterparts.

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1

Rock Hudson (Jake Picking)

The leading man known for his roles in Giant and Pillow Talk ascended the Hollywood hierarchy while harboring a major secret: He was gay. After Confidential magazine threatened to out him, Hudson married Phyllis Gates, secretary to his agent Henry Willson. They divorced three years later. Hudson publicly disclosed his AIDS diagnosis shortly before dying in 1985 at the age 59. He was the first major celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness.

2

Anna May Wong (Michelle Krusiec)

3

Hattie McDaniel (Queen Latifah)

4

Vivien Leigh (Katie McGuinness)

5

Henry Willson (Jim Parsons)

Willson’s name is not as recognizable as the others on this list, but he wielded impressive influence over some of Tinseltown’s most powerful players. The controversial talent agent repped a squad of attractive young actors, including Rock Hudson, Troy Donahue, and Tab Hunter. He infamously traded scandalous information about other clients to halt an exposé about Hudson’s secret homosexuality. In the later years of his life, Willson’s own sexuality became more public and his clients shunned him.

6

Eleanor Roosevelt (Harriet Harris)

Roosevelt was the former First Lady and wife of the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. After her husband’s paralysis, she began attending campaign events in his place and making her own way politically. She drew criticism for her outspoken nature, particularly on issues of civil rights, but remained active until her death in 1962.

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