Larry Kramer, author and longtime AIDS activist, died Wednesday morning at the age of 84 of pneumonia, reports The New York Times. Kramer was a playwright, screenwriter, and gay rights trail-blazer. He’s commonly credited with spurring on the early response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States.
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Following the outbreak of Kaposi sarcoma in August 1981, Kramer created a group that would eventually become the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the first service organization dedicated to AIDS in the world. Fed up with inaction from the federal government over the spread of the disease, Kramer helped fellow activists form ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unlease Power) in 1987. The group was a guerrilla AIDS organization that staged protests and public interventions in an attempt to force officials to spend more money on AIDS research.
“I was trying to make people united and angry,” Kramer told the New York Times in 2017. “I was known as the angriest man in the world, mainly because I discovered that anger got you further than being nice. And when we started to break through in the media, I was better TV than someone who was nice.”
Activism was at the center of everything Kramer did. He wrote “The Normal Heart,” a semi-autobiographical Off-Broadway play about the immense toll of the HIV/AIDS academic, which won him the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature in 1996. The play was made into a film by Ryan Murphy in 2014.
Born in 1935, Kramer grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated from Yale University in 1957 and joined the U.S. Army reserves before working in film production. Kramer married partner David Webster, an architect, in 2013.
Rest In Power Larry Kramer.