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'Physician to the Stars,' Rexford Kennamer, dies in Alabama

By Verna Gates

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - Rexford Kennamer, the so-called "Physician to the Stars" who told actor Gary Cooper he had terminal cancer and whose high profile client list included Rock Hudson and Frank Sinatra, has died in Alabama at 93, his nephew said on Wednesday.

Kennamer, who long worked as an internist and cardiologist in Beverly Hills, died of natural causes on September 28 at the Montgomery home of his nephew, Richard Kennamer.

"He was always interesting and very, very sharp. He practiced medicine past 80. We went out daily at noon to restaurants and he was always happy to run into old friends and classmates," his nephew told Reuters.

Kennamer met a teenaged Elizabeth Taylor on the set of the movie "National Velvet," when he was a contract doctor for the studio, according to his nephew. He later walked a grieving Taylor to the grave of her beloved husband, Mike Todd.

Kennamer received degrees from the University of Alabama and the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia before becoming a cardiology intern at a veteran's hospital during World War Two, which led him to California, according to his nephew.

Although he had many offers, Kennamer steadfastly refused to write a tell-all book on his famous patients, his nephew said. A private service was planned in his hometown of Guntersville, Alabama, on Monday.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Andrew Hay)

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