Larry Kramer, the groundbreaking author and tireless activist for gay rights and a national effort to tackle the HIV/Aids crisis, has died in New York at the age of 84.
Kramer died on Wednesday morning in Manhattan, the New York Times reported, citing his husband, David Webster, who said Kramer had died of pneumonia.
Born in 1935, he grew up in and around Washington, D.C. He graduated from Yale University in 1957 and served in the U.S. Army Reserve, before working in film production in London for Columbia Pictures.
Kramer was a founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the pioneering organization to assist those with HIV, and also a founder of the direct action group Act Up that demanded an end to the sluggish response to HIV treatment and research in the US as the Aids crisis worsened in the 1980s.
He wrote the iconic off-Broadway play The Normal Heart, a largely autobiographical play that looked at the rise of the Aids crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks, the gay founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group.
He earned an Oscar nomination in 1971 for adapting DH Lawrence’s Women in Love, and he wrote 1992’s The Destiny of Me, and the controversial novel Faggots in 1977. In 1996, Kramer received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature.
The Normal Heart became an Emmy award-winning television drama in 2014, starring Mark Ruffalo as the central character, and had been produced on Broadway in 2011, where it won three awards.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the high-profile physician and immunologist who has been assisting the US president during the COVID-19 crisis had a combative relationship with Larry Kramer but fondly remembered him following news of his death.
Mia Farrow called Kramer “a great man” on Twitter.
“Larry Kramer was a magnificent force whose intellect, heart & outrage awakened the nation to the horrors & losses of AIDS, the need for treatment & the inexcusable apathy of the Reagan WH,” she wrote. “Love to David Webster, his husband.”
Larry Kramer saved countless lives and he changed our behavior. Back in the 80s few wanted to listen, but that didnt stop him. He ran on outrage. So, if you’re looking for something truly inspiring to watch, dont miss ‘Larry Kramer in Love and Anger’ Thank you Larry. Ill miss you pic.twitter.com/TwWgnGPdoM
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) May 28, 2020
Jamie Lee Curtis remembered Kramer as “a warrior when there was nothing but fear.” The actress tweeted, “We all owe him a debt.”
“Don’t know a soul who saw or read The Normal Heart and came away unmoved, unchanged,” Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote on Twitter. “What an extraordinary writer, what a life.”
Andy Cohen praised Kramer’s advocacy. “Everyone in the LGBTQ community owes you a debt of gratitude,” he tweeted.
God Bless You, Larry Kramer. Everyone in the LGBTQ community owes you a debt of gratitude.
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) May 27, 2020
Movie Producer Ryan Murphy wrote on Instagram: “[Kramer] was so passionate and so vital I never imagined he would pass. I thought he’d outlive us all. His work and his spirit will. In his memory, watch ‘The Normal Heart’ on HBO today. Or better yet, send an outraged email or tweet to a neglectful politician of your choice. He would have liked that.”
Actor Matt Bomer wrote on Instagram: “Larry Kramer. I don’t have the words to properly express my gratitude, admiration, and love for you. Your writing was bold, courageous, and urgent. It educated, stirred people to action, and saved lives. A towering intellect and an amazing wit. My time with you is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. Rest In Peace my friend.”
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