Mandatory Credit: Photo by Times Newspapers/Shutterstock (219454a)
LARRY KRAMER
LARRY KRAMER – 1993

(Gordon Cox’s article appears in Variety, 5/27.)

Larry Kramer, the writer and influential gay activist who pressed the U.S. government and the medical establishment to respond to the AIDS epidemic, has died. He was 84.

Kramer died Wednesday from pneumonia, his husband David Webster told the New York Times.

Earlier in his life, Kramer was a screenwriter with credits including “Women in Love” and the 1973 musical “Lost Horizon.”

Spurred by the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, Kramer became a fierce activist and an impassioned writer, and one of the earliest and most vocal advocates for AIDS research, treatment access and institutional recognition of the gay community so hard-hit by the disease. He is best known not only as one of the founders of both Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP, but also as the writer of novels and plays including his 1985 work “The Normal Heart,” his urgent, agitprop depiction of the early days of the AIDS crisis.

A prominent and contentious voice in the gay community, Kramer fearlessly put forth hard truths and controversial opinions, as when, in a 1983 editorial, he urged gay men to stop having sex until more was known about AIDS and how it spread.

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