Thirty years after the Oct. 2 death of screen icon Rock Hudson, many are honoring his legacy, including former costar Joel Grey.
“He was so funny and loose and kind. He was a really nice man,” Grey, 83, told PEOPLE at the screening of Amazon Prime’s new comedy series Red Oaks earlier this week.
Hudson revealed he had AIDS in 1985, and was the first well-known celebrity to succumb to the disease amid fear and hysteria surrounding the epidemic.
“Society had quite a ways to go, and whoever knew what kind of an impact the AIDS crisis made on moving that forward? I don’t know,” Grey added.
The openly gay Broadway legend and Hudson were costars in the 1961 romantic comedy Come September.
“I had to go into the Tiber River in Rome on a shoot and he didn’t have to go in – it was just the kids,” Grey recalled a specific moment shared between the two that stuck out.
“He saw me and saw that there were feces going by. He was laughing his a– off at my expense. It’s sort of a s— memory!” he joked.
During an interview earlier this year with PEOPLE, Grey reminisced about working with Hudson on that film.
“I was in a movie with him. Nice man, very friendly – I didn’t know him personally really, we were working together in Italy with Gina Lollobrigida,” Grey said. “He’s a funny comedian.”
Grey lamented the loss of his friend, and recalled the debilitating stigma that hovered over those who had AIDS.
“Oh, it was horrendous. And I mean, for him to be stripped bare that like that and everybody is still so afraid they didn’t know – you know, people were at dinner parties and not drinking from each other’s glasses, did you know that? Thinking that you can catch it – there was great paranoia among everybody, not just the gay community, but all New Yorkers. Just such a mystery, and he was so shamed. You know what I mean? That was not right.”
Recently, Hollywood icon Doris Day spoke fondly about her dear friend Hudson: “He was a good friend. I think the reason people liked our movies is because they could tell how much we liked each other. It came across that way on screen.”
• Reporting by HAIWEN LU