Remembering Larry Kramer, an AIDS warrior on a soapbox and the stage

Passage: Playwright and AIDS activist Larry Kramer
Passage: Playwright and AIDS activist Larry K... 02:07

It happened this past week ... the loss of a no-holds-barred and unrepentant warrior against an earlier plague. Author and activist Larry Kramer died Wednesday in New York of pneumonia.

An Academy Award-nominated screenwriter (for "Women in Love"), Kramer realized early on the threat AIDS posed to the gay community in the early 1980s.

He founded the militant group ACT UP, known for its acts of civil disobedience on behalf of AIDS research; and he waged a bitter campaign against top federal virus doctor Anthony Fauci, whom he accused of incompetence.

Kramer also battled AIDS with his pen, dramatizing the fight in his 1985 play "The Normal Heart."

Diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS himself in 1988, Kramer struggled with multiple ailments in his later years, while never losing his determination and his distinctive voice.

The 2011 revival of "The Normal Heart" won a Tony Award.

And as for that other Tony, Anthony Fauci, he went on to become a sort of friend to Kramer, even helping him get into an experimental drug trial after Kramer's liver transplant in 2001.

"Once you got past the rhetoric," Fauci told The New York Times, "you found that Larry Kramer made a lot of sense, and that he had a heart of gold."

Larry Kramer with Dr. Mathilde Krim and Dr. Anthony Fauci at a 2006 New York Times panel discussion on AIDS.  Donna Aceto via Gay City News

Larry Kramer was 84.

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Story produced by Robert Marston. Editor: Emanuele Secci.

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