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Monday, 06 Jul 2020

Larry Kramer, the playwright about AIDS has died at 84

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Larry Kramer, the playwright about AIDS has died at 84Larry Kramer, the playwright about AIDS has died at 84

News24xx.com - Larry Kramer, the playwright about AIDS and roused thousands to militant protests in the early years of the epidemic, has died at 84.

Bill Goldstein, a writer who was working on a biography of Kramer, confirmed the news to The Associated Press. Kramer's husband, David Webster, told The New York Times that Kramer died Wednesday of pneumonia.

“We have lost a giant of a man who stood up for gay rights like a warrior. His anger was needed at a time when gay men’s deaths to AIDS were being ignored by the American government,” said Elton John in a statement.

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Kramer, who wrote “The Normal Heart” and founded the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP, lost his lover to acquired immune deficiency syndrome in 1984 and was himself infected with the virus. He also suffered from hepatitis B and received a liver transplant in 2001 because the virus had caused liver failure.

He was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for “Women in Love,” the 1969 adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s novel. It starred Glenda Jackson, who won her first Oscar for her performance.

He also wrote the 1972 screenplay “Lost Horizon,” a novel, “Faggots,” and the plays “Sissies’ Scrapbook,” “The Furniture of Home,” “Just Say No” and “The Destiny of Me,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1993.

But for many years he was best known for his public fight to secure medical treatment, acceptance and civil rights for people with AIDS. He loudly told everyone that the gay community was grappling with a plague.

In 1981, when AIDS had not yet acquired its name and only a few dozen people had been diagnosed with it, Kramer and a group of his friends in New York City founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), one of the first groups in the country to address the epidemic.

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Kramer split with GMHC in 1983 after other board members decided to concentrate on providing support services to people with AIDS.  After leaving GMHC, Kramer wrote “The Normal Heart,” in which a furious young writer — not unlike Kramer himself — battles politicians, society, the media and other gay leaders to bring attention to the crisis.

The play premiered at The Public Theater in April 1985.  The play was turned into a TV film for HBO in 2014 starring Mark Ruffalo, Jonathan Groff, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Alfred Molina, Joe Mantello and Julia Roberts. It won the Emmy for best movie. Kramer stood onstage in heavy winter clothing as the statuette was presented to director Ryan Murphy.





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