In the wake of Hudson's passing, with his “private life” at last officially made part of “polite” parlance in and out of show biz, a sense that Hudson's brand of marital charade was common in Hollywood has emerged. And was it any more the rule—or the exception—anywhere else?“I don't think Rock Hudson went to Universal and said 'Hey I'm gay you've gotta find me a broad to cover it up,'” veteran publicist Howard Bragman remarks.

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Not that this result is any less grotesque, especially as regards the marital soap opera of Liza Minnelli and David Gest—a multi-car collision on the I-Five when set alongside “Bennifer's” relatively modest Route One “roadkill.” Gest, an entertainment promoter whose appetite for self-promotion is almost as marked as his Groucho-Marx-styled eyebrows, married Minnelli, the emotionally-troubled, controlled-substance-challenged singer-actress-Studio 54-party-girl with grotesquely lavish fanfare in 2002.

“Celebrities” ranging from Anthony Hopkins, Michael Douglas, Barbara Walters, Elton John , Donny Osmond, Graham Norton, Gina Lollabrigida, Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor, to that peerless pop music freak Michael Jackson were in attendance to see a man chiefly known as said freak's most recent publicity ally marry a woman who only a few months before was near death from encephalitis.

Demonstrating that there is indeed such a thing as bad publicity, “Bennifer” proved that the public isn't invariably enamored of off-screen romance.

Moreover it also proved how resistant the public has become to heavily stage-managed publicity of the sort that made PMK's Pat Kingsley such an “inside show biz” semi-legend.

Hopper and Parsons let fly at anyone ever so slightly to the left of Dwight Eisenhower at every opportunity.

And Mike Connelly, the deeply closeted gay columnist for the Hollywood Reporter was even more vociferous—recklessly screaming “Commie” at individuals with no affiliation to the party whatsoever.

Nowadays it would be more the manager or press rep. The problem in Hollywood is you don't know who's real to begin with.

That's why there was all this snickering about 'Bennifer'.” “Bennifer,” as more than one Hollywood wag has dubbed it, refers to the inordinately hyped alliance of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, two far-from-publicity-shy actors whose cancellation of a ceaselessly-promoted marriage in the wake of the unmitigated disaster of Gigli—the romantic comedy-drama that was supposed to have rendered them the postmodern Bogart and Bacall—was one of the biggest entertainment stories of 2003.

No one was expecting that the ever-medicated Minnelli to the (not to put too fine a point on it) sexually ambiguous Gest would last.

Village Voice gossip scribe Michael Musto said of the ceremony “When Dominique Dunne showed up, I knew it was a crime scene.” A year later a “separation” announcement was greeted with world-wide yawns.

But this seems unlikely as all that Confidential would have been able to supply would have been the testimony of ex-boyfriends or the word of co-workers.