Actor Rock Hudson received a get-well telephone call from President Reagan yesterday afternoon as he remained in a Paris hospital amid conflicting reports about the nature of his illness.
Hudson was described as being in "stable" condition by Bruce Redor, spokesman for the American Hospital. Redor, reached at his Paris home yesterday evening, would not confirm that Hudson had inoperable liver cancer -- as stated Tuesday by Hudson's Los Angeles publicist. Nor would he confirm widespread reports that Hudson was being examined or treated for AIDS, acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
In his phone call to Hudson, the president "wished him well and told him that he and Mrs. Reagan were keeping him in their thoughts and prayers," White House press spokesman Mark Weinberg said. "Rock Hudson told the president he was feeling good." The 59-year-old Hudson has been a friend since the president's acting days.
Weinberg described the length of the phone call as a "brief conversation."
The office of Hudson's Beverly Hills physician, Rexford Kennamer, confirmed that Hudson had gone to Paris to seek medical attention at the Pasteur Institute, a medical facility that has done major research on AIDS. A statement from the office of Drs. Kennamer, Gary Sugarman, and Jeffrey Helfenstein yesterday said: "The doctors have no statement to make concerning his Hudson's condition other than to confirm that he went to Paris as a follow-up to a previous visit at the Pasteur Institute."
AIDS, believed to be caused by a virus that was discovered in the United States and France in 1984, has struck 11,271 people in the United States. Since 1979, 5,641 have died after contracting the disease.
The disease seems most often to strike homosexuals, abusers of injectable drugs and hemophiliacs; it is thought to be transmitted through sexual contact, contaminated needles and blood transfusions, but not by casual contact. Hudson underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery four years ago.
Hudson's publicist Dale Olson at first said that he would hold a press conference this morning at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It was later announced that Olson would read a statement but that there would be no press conference. Olson said that he had no further information from the hospital.
American Hospital spokesman Redor said, "The situation when I left the job was that we didn't have enough information to confirm that reports of liver cancer or deny that." According to Redor, Hudson was examined by several house physicians and underwent "a whole battery of diagnostic exams" for "a full range of problems."
Redor denied earlier reports that Hudson had been in and out of a coma. "He hasn't been in a coma since he was hospitalized," said Redor.
The spokesman, who said he saw Hudson yesterday in the hospital, described the actor as "alert." Asked how he looked, Redor said, "okay to me." Hudson also received some visitors, but Redor didn't know their identities, he said.
Hudson, a top box-office star in the '50s and '60s, has appeared in dozens of films. He costarred for several seasons on the TV series "McMillan and Wife," and last season made several appearances on "Dynasty."