Playwright and author Larry Kramer, who was known for his AIDS activism from early on in the epidemic, has died aged 84.
Kramer, who co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) in the early 1980s and later the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power – or ACT UP movement – died in a New York hospital with pneumonia on Wednesday, his close friend and literary executor Will Schwalbe said.
His death was not said to be related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The award-winning writer was known for his 1985 play The Normal Heart, depicting a writer’s battle with society to raise awareness of AIDS – the immunodeficiency disease from the HIV virus that Kramer had himself.
Image: Larry Kramer was known for his activism to raise awareness of the AIDS crisis
Image: A TV adaptation of Kramer’s play The Normal Heart won an Emmy for best movie
Described as an “angry but compelling indictment of a society as well as a subculture for failing to respond adequately to the tragedy,” by AP drama critic Michael Kuchwara, the revival of the play in 2011 earned it several Tony awards.
A TV movie adaptation in 2014 starring Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts, won an Emmy Award for best movie.
Kramer was also nominated for an Academy Award for writing the screen adaptation of DH Lawrence’s novel, Women in Love, for which actress Glenda Jackson won her first Oscar.
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The 84-year-old was perhaps best known for his lifetime of advocacy work as a fierce activist for LGBTQ rights and securing medical treatment for those with AIDS.
Larry Kramer’s passing is the saddest news. 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… (1/3) pic.twitter.com/GRkAkNZrLg
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) May 27, 2020
Journalist Randy Shilts described an article Kramer had written for gay newspapers in the 1980s as “inarguably one of the most influential works of advocacy journalism of the decade” and credited it with “crystallizing the epidemic into a political movement for the gay community.”
In the 1983 article, Kramer had written about the epidemic: “Our continued existence as gay men upon the face of this earth is at stake…Unless we fight for our lives, we shall die.”
Image: Larry Kramer (left) married his longtime partner David Webster (right) in 2013
Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in June 1935, Laurence David Kramer went on to study at Yale University and served in the army.
He later worked at the William Morris Agency and for Columbia Pictures.
In 2001, he had a liver transplant due to hepatitis B.
Kramer married his long-time partner, architect David Webster, in 2013, with the couple making their vows while Kramer was recovering from a bowel obstruction surgery in an intensive care unit at hospital.
They had planned the wedding before he was forced to have surgery, but they didn’t let the health emergency stop them.
Source : Sky News