By | Rachel Brooks
Staff | Telegraph Local
Above, PBS Newshour remembers Larry Kramer.
Larry Kramer, the writer who sounded an alarm on AIDS, has died at the age of 84. The New York Times reported that Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Health was close friends with the late playwright stating “we loved each other” at the time of his passing. In public, Kramer had “berated” Dr. Fauci, an infectious disease specialist, for federal inaction on the AIDS front. Yet, The New York Times states that off-camera Dr. Fauci and Mr. Kramer had an affection for one another. One that lasted for decades and changed the narrative regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
“How did I meet Larry? He called me a murderer and an incompetent idiot on the front page of the San Francisco Examiner magazine,” said Dr. Fauci as quoted by The New York Times.
The unlikeliest friendship formed from Mr. Kramer used the press to hold accountable the institution. Two men who should have by rights been enemies bonded over AIDS. As Mr. Kramer leaves the world on the eve of another pandemic issue, Dr. Fauci recalls a glimpse of the life they shared as friends.
“It was an extraordinary 33-year relationship. We loved each other. We would have dinner. I would go see him in the West Village, he would come down to Washington. But even recently, when he got pissed at me about something, he said to some paper, ‘Fauci’s gone over to the dark side again.’ I called him up and said, ‘Larry? What the….’ And he’d say, ‘Oh, I didn’t really mean it. I just wanted to get some attention,” said Dr. Fauci, recalling how Kramer would use the power of the press to “get things done” but would apologize to Fauci afterward for the harshness of his criticisms.
Dr. Fauci states that Mr. Kramer spoke to him directly via the San Francisco Examiner in an open-letter that told him his refusal to act soon enough led to thousands of deaths in that era’s LGBT community. The letter, which has since been obtained by The New York Times, was printed in the June 26, 1988 issue of the San Francisco Examiner.
Mr. Kramer himself suffered from HIV and various other infections that he contracted as a result of a compromised immune system including hepatitis B. Dr. Fauci realized that Mr. Kramer needed a liver transplant and referred him to the N.I.H. to receive one.
Mr. Kramer even wrote Dr. Fauci into one of his plays. In the play 1992 “The Destiny of Me”, Kramer named a character Anthony Della Vida or “Tony of Life” after Dr. Fauci.
Aside from his unlikely friendship with Dr. Fauci, the playwright is best remembered as an activist both for AIDS and for the LGBT community.
The Daily Caller’s Dan Savage commented on his passing noting the value he placed “on every gay life.”
“Larry Kramer valued every gay life at a time when so many gay men had been rendered incapable of valuing our own lives. He ordered us to love ourselves and each other and to fight for our lives. He was a hero,” said Savage via Twitter at 11:14 am on May 27.