Actor Rock Hudson, who died Wednesday morning, was cremated shortly after his personal physician pronounced him dead.
"Those in fact were his wishes," said Hudson's publicist Dale Olson.
There are no plans for a funeral, although there may be a private memorial, possibly on Oct. 13, according to Yanou Collart, a Paris publicist and friend of Hudson's. It was Collart who announced to the world in July that Hudson was suffering from acquired immune deficiency syndrome when the actor was hospitalized in Paris.
"His will says his ashes will be scattered over Catalina Channel, 25 miles off Los Angeles, where he loved to sail," said Collart, who was in New York yesterday. The ashes will be spread from a yacht, and Hudson wanted 50 people in attendance, including Collart, Elizabeth Taylor, Roddy McDowall and Hudson's personal manager Mark Miller, she said.
"After that, he wanted a big party with mariachis and champagne," added Collart.
"He made out this list a long time ago," Collart said of the guests, "not just when he found out he had AIDS."
Olson said that he could not confirm those plans but said that Hudson had discussed with his associates such arrangements as the scattering of ashes over the water and the cremation of the actor's body.
"At some point, during the last year, that was all done with Wallace Sheft [Hudson's business manager] in New York and done very privately," said Olson.
In the weeks after Hudson returned to his home from UCLA Medical Center, his longtime friend Tom Clark, a Los Angeles publicist, was often with him at the house, taking care of Hudson. In addition, there was a household staff of six, including secretaries who had been called in to handle the enormous quantities of mail that Hudson received, according to Olson.
A member of the household staff, who wishes to remain unnamed, called Hudson's physician, Rexford Kennamer, to the home Wednesday morning. At first it appeared that Hudson died in his sleep. "Ostensibly, he did," said Olson, "but I am told that his eyes opened and he was awake and then he died."
Kennamer, who has not commented publicly on the cause of Hudson's death, attributed it to "complications," according to one source. Hudson suffered from extensive Kaposi's sarcoma, a form of skin cancer common to AIDS victims, and severe liver disease, according to a doctor familiar with Hudson's case.
Collart said she was in a meeting Wednesday morning with Hudson's personal manager, Mark Miller, and writer Sara Davidson, who has been working with Hudson on the actor's memoirs, when she was informed of his death.
Hudson's proceeds from the Davidson book "My Story" will go to the Rock Hudson AIDS Foundation, which is now a fund of the newly formed American Foundation for AIDS Research. Hudson had already donated $250,000 to the American Foundation for AIDS Research.
Davidson spent the last six weeks working often with Hudson at his house on the book. "She's not finished her research at all," said Sherry Arden, president of William Morrow, the publisher of "My Story." "She's talking to his very close circle of friends." Hudson, according to Arden, issued a statement to his friends, asking them to talk to Davidson for the book.
The publishing house hopes to publish the book in the spring. "We can't rush it much more than that," said Lela Rolontz, publicity director for William Morrow. "We don't know that we're going to get it out then but we're going to try. Whenever [The manuscript] is ready, it'll be rushed through."