Tab Hunter

LOS ANGELES – AUG 4: Hunter appearing at the “Hollywood Show” at Burbank Marriott Convention Center on August 4, 2012 in Burbank, CA, kathclick/

Birth Name: Arthur Kelm

Date of Birth: July 11, 1931

Place of Birth: Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Death: July 8, 2018

Place of Death: Santa Barbara, California, U.S.

*Jewish (father)
*German (mother)

Tab Hunter was an American actor, pop singer, film producer, and author. He was a major 1950s movie star and teen idol. His roles include the films The Lawless, Return to Treasure Island, Battle Cry, The Sea Chase, The Burning Hills, The Girl He Left Behind, Gunman’s Walk, Damn Yankees, They Came to Cordura, That Kind of Woman, The Pleasure of His Company, The Golden Arrow, Operation Bikini, Ride the Wild Surf, City Under the Sea, The Loved One, Birds Do It, Vengeance Is My Forgiveness, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood; Polyester, Grease 2, Lust in the Dust, and Cameron’s Closet. He released the number one song, “Young Love.” He was also known as Art Gelien.

Tab was the son of Gertrude Ida (Gelien) and Charles Kelm. His brother, Walter John Gelien (1930-1965), was killed in Vietnam. Tab was raised by his mother in California, living in San Francisco, Long Beach, and Los Angeles. He competed in figure skating as a teen. Tab was married to film producer Allan Glaser, until his death.

Tab’s mother, a German emigrant originally from Hamburg, moved to the United States around 1927. Tab’s mother had changed his name from Arthur Kelm to Arthur Gelien. Tab was raised Catholic by his mother, and was a practicing Catholic for his whole life. As an adult, Tab researched his genealogy and discovered that his father was Jewish, and that he had two half-siblings, Sarah and Rebecca. His long-time partner/husband Allan is Jewish.

Tab’s maternal grandfather was Johann Heinrich Gerhard “John Henry” Gelien (the son of Jürgen Emil Gelien and Mathilde Louise Auguste Martens). Johann was born in Ottensen, Hamburg.

Tab’s maternal grandmother was named Charlotte Henriette Ida Sonneufleth/Sonnenfleth/Sonenfleth/Sonnefel.

2010 TCM Classic Film Festival Opening Night Screening of the Restored "A Star is Born" - Arrivals

Hunter in 2010, photo by Prphotos

Sources: Interview with Tab Hunter –

Tab Hunter on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Genealogies of Tab Hunter (focusing on his mother’s side) –


Curious about ethnicity

2 Responses

  1. follers says:

    Bablah, I wonder if you can find Hunter’s father on the census, or any more information about Hunter’s ancestry?

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