Larry Kramer Biography
Larry Kramer is an American playwright, author, film producer, public health advocate, and LGBT rights, activist. He began his career rewriting scripts while working for Columbia Pictures, which led him to London where he worked with United Artists.
Larry Kramer Age
He was born on 5 June 1935, Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States. He is 83 years old as of 2018.
Larry Kramer Married|Spouse
He married William David Webster back in 2013.
Larry Kramer Net Worth
Has an estimated net worth of $3 million dollars.
Larry Kramer Photo
Larry Kramer Hiv|Aids
He was diagnosed with the killer disease at the age of 66 years. He was on surgery operation suffering from a congenital hernia. While in surgery, doctors discovered liver damage due to Hepatitis B, prompting Kramer to learn that he was HIV positive.
Larry Kramer Movies
- Sissies’ Scrapbook, aka Four Friends (1973)
- A Minor Dark Age (1973)
- The Normal Heart (1985)
- Just Say No, A Play about a Farce (1988)
- The Furniture of Home (1989)
- The Destiny of Me (1992)
- Faggots (1978)
- The American People Volume 1, Search for My Heart (2015)
Larry Kramer Quotes
- There will always be enemies. Time to stop being your own.”
- “Of the 2,639,857 faggots in the New York City area, 2,639,857 think primarily with their cocks.
- You didn’t know that the cock was a thinking organ?
- Well, by this time, you should know that it is.”
- “Almost more than talent you need tenacity, and an infinite capacity for rejection, if you are to succeed.”
- “Holy shit,” somebody muttered in the dark.
- “A virgin,” sputtered another.
- “I didn’t know they still made them.”
- “And I always thought: the very simplest words Must be enough. When I say what things are like Everyone’s heart must be torn to shreds. That you’ll go down if you don’t stand up for yourself Surely you see that.”
- “All I want is someone who reads books, loves his work, and me, too, of course, and who doesn’t take drugs, and isn’t on unemployment.”
- “And then he thought, profoundly, how there was something grand about living in hope, but also something terribly unreal and incomplete about it because when you were hoping, you were not doing or living or experiencing the Now,”
- “We’re all different in many ways and alike in many ways and special in some sort of way.”
- “A penis has never been something that you pick up and put down and put away idly without consideration.”
- “I belong to a culture that includes Proust, Henry James, Tchaikovsky, Cole Porter, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Christopher Marlowe, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Tennessee Williams, Byron, E.M. Forster, Lorca, Auden, Francis Bacon, James Baldwin, Harry Stack Sullivan, John Maynard Keynes, Dag Hammarskjold… These are not invisible men. Poor Bruce. Poor frightened Bruce. Once upon a time, you wanted to be a soldier.
- Bruce, did you know that an openly gay Englishman was as responsible as any man for winning the Second World War? His name was Alan Turing and he cracked the Germans’ Enigma code so the Allies knew in advance what the Nazis were going to do — and when the war was over he committed suicide he was so hounded for being gay. Why don’t they teach any of this in the schools? If they did, maybe he wouldn’t have killed himself and maybe you wouldn’t be so terrified of who you are. The only way we’ll have real pride is when we demand recognition of a culture that isn’t just sexual. It’s all there—all through history we’ve been there, but we have to claim it and identify who was in it, and articulate what’s in our minds and hearts and all our creative contributions to this earth. And until we do that, and until we organize ourselves block by neighborhood by the city by the state into a united visible community that fights back, we’re doomed. That’s how I want to be defined: as one of the men who fought the war.”
- “We have the ultimate in freedom – we have absolutely no responsibilities! – and we’re abusing it.”
“I gave you books. You gave me plants. Books live. Plants die.”
- “Ah, did he not hate that word ‘gay’? He thought it a strange categorizer of a lifestyle with many elements far from zippy. No, he would de-kike the word ‘faggot’, which had punch, bite, a non-nonsense, chin-out assertiveness, and which, at present, was no more self-deprecatory than, say, ‘American’.”
- “Indeed, to be fucked pleasurably is a gift.”
- “Straights don’t compare themselves to us!”
- “We shouldn’t have to be faithful, we should want to be faithful.”
- “When in doubt, eat donuts.”
- “And every faggot couple I know is deep into friendship and deep into fucking with everyone else but each other and any minute any bump appears in their commitment to infinitesimally obstruct their view, out they zip like petulant kids to suck someone else’s lollipop instead of trying to work things out, instead of trying not to hide, and…unh…why do faggots have to fuck so fucking much?!”
- “Humiliation is so essential to Catholics. And to faggots!”
- “If Fred’s history will seem less unbiased then some would wish, let it never be overlooked that it is no small task to record a history of hate when one is among the hated.”
- “The only safe place left in the dark.”
- “How to phrase it? Ma, I want to fall in love with a fella.”
- “There is no love in Puritanism. It turns out that these monsters that won’t allow any deviation from that rigid orthodoxy is obsessed with frigging, fucking, wanking, twatty sex. Don’t do it, they screamed, while that’s exactly what they did. My mother’s cunt was all bent out of shape to prove it…All those Puritan preachers were vindictive, vengeful men spouting hateful thoughts and threats, and it’s disheartening that they’re still taught in the schools with reverence. They were shits. And they spouted shit. And a goodly portion of the world is still spouting shit.”
- “Don’t lose that anger. Just have a little more patience and forgiveness. For yourself as well.”
- “Religion is such an icky, sticky thing, full of tortuous—well, everything. Why is it so essential for man to be forced, for that is what religion relies on, force, to believe in anything but himself? And this is what John Winthrop should represent for us: the utter disdain he and Puritanism have for the self, for the human, for the human being.”
- “Fred had first come to Fire Island Pines when he was thirty. He wasn’t ready for such beauty, such potential, such unlimited choice. The place scared him half to death. It was a warm and sunny weekend and there were one thousand bathing-suited handsomenesses on The Botel deck at Tea Dance. They all seemed to know each other and to touch and greet and smile at each other. And there he was, alone. Though he had acquired his 150-pound body for the first time (of his so-far three: the first for himself, the second for Feffer, number three, with muscles, for Dinky), he still felt like Mrs. Shelley’s monster, pale, and with a touch of leprosy thrown in. Not only had he no one to talk to, not only did the overwhelmingness of being confronted by so much Grade A male flesh, most of which seemed superior to his, which would make it difficult to talk to, even if he could utter, which he could not, floor him, but everyone else seemed so secure, not only with their bodies (all thin and no doubt well-defined since birth), tans, personalities, their smiles and chat, but also with that ability to use their eyes, much like early prospectors must have looked for gold, darting them hither and yon, seeking out the sparkling flecks, separating the valued from the less so, meaning, he automatically assumed, him. Their glances his way seemed like disposable bottles, no deposit, no return. He felt like Mr. Not Wanted On The Voyage, even though it was, so be it, his birthday. Many years would pass before he would discover that everybody else felt exactly the same, but came out every weekend so to feel, thus over the years developing more flexible feelings in so feeling.”
- “For he knew there was a pit of sexuality out there and that he longed to throw himself into it.”
“The straight and narrow, so beloved of our founding fathers and all fathers thereafter, is now obviously and irrevocably bent. What is God trying to tell us…?”
- “When would insight, knowledge, hope, and beauty meld?”
- “Like the deepest secrets in psychoanalysis, our lives stay hidden, harboring our precious information like a piece of decaying food behind a major molar in our country’s maw,”
Larry Kramer The Normal Heart
Astonished and saddened about being forced out of GMHC, Kramer took an extended trip to Europe. While visiting Dachau concentration camp he learned that it had opened as early as 1933 and neither Germans nor other nations did anything to stop it.
He became inspired to chronicle the same reaction from the American government and the gay community to the AIDS crisis by writing The Normal Heart, despite having promised never to write for the theater again.
The Normal Heart is a play set between 1981 and 1984. It addresses a writer named Ned Weeks as he nurses his lover, who is dying of an unnamed disease. His doctors are puzzled and frustrated by having no resources to research it. Meanwhile, the unnamed organization Weeks is involved in is angered by the bad publicity Weeks’ activism is generating, and eventually throws him out.
Kramer later explained, “I tried to make Ned Weeks as obnoxious as I could … I was trying, somehow and again, to atone for my own behavior.”The experience was overwhelmingly emotional for Kramer, as at one time during rehearsals he watched actor Brad Davis hold his dying lover played by D. W.
Moffetton stage; Kramer went into the bathroom and sobbed, only moments later to find Davis holding him. The play is considered a literary landmark. It contended with the AIDS crisis when few would speak of the disease afflicting gay men, including gays themselves; it remains the longest-running play ever staged at the Public Theater, running for a year starting in 1985.
It has been produced over 600 times in the U.S., Europe, Israel, and South Africa. Actors following Davis who portrayed Kramer’s alter ego Ned Weeks included Joel Grey, Richard Dreyfuss (in Los Angeles), Martin Sheen (at the Royal Court in London),
Tom Hulce and then John Shea in the West End, Raul Esparza in a highly acclaimed 2004 revival at the Public Theater, and most recently Joe Mantello on Broadway at the Golden Theater. Upon seeing the production of The Normal Heart, Naomi Wolf commented, “No one else on the left at that time … ever used the moral framework that is so much a part of Kramer’s voice, and that the right has co-opted so skillfully. Conscience, responsibility, calling; truth and lies, clarity of purpose or abandonment of one’s moral calling; loyalty and betrayal …”
In a review for The New York Times, Frank Rich said:
He accuses the governmental, medical and press establishments of foot-dragging in combating the disease—especially in the early days of its outbreak, when much of the play is set—and he is even tougher on homosexual leaders who, in his view, were either too cowardly or too mesmerized by the ideology of sexual liberation to get the story out. “There’s not a good word to be said about anyone’s behavior in this whole mess”, claims one character—and certainly Mr. Kramer has few good words to say about Mayor Koch, various prominent medical organizations, The New York Times or, for that matter, most of the leadership of an unnamed organization apparently patterned after the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
In 2014, HBO produced a film version directed by Ryan Murphy with a screenplay by Kramer. It starred Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer (who won a Golden Globe Award for his performance), Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Alfred Molina, Joe Mantello, Jonathan Groff, and Julia Roberts.
Larry Kramer Act Up
In 1987, Kramer was the catalyst in the founding of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), a direct action protest organization that chose government agencies and corporations as targets to publicize lack of treatment and funding for people with AIDS. ACT UP was formed at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Services Center in New York City.
Kramer was asked to speak as part of a rotating speaker series, and his well-attended speech focused on action to fight AIDS.
He began by having two-thirds of the room stand up and told them they would be dead in five years. Kramer reiterated the points introduced in his essay “1,112 and Counting”: “If my speech tonight doesn’t scare the shit out of you, we’re in real trouble.
If what you’re hearing doesn’t rouse you to anger, fury, rage, and action, gay men will have no future here on earth. How long does it take before you get angry and fight back?”Their first target became the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which Kramer accused in The New York Times of neglecting badly needed medication for HIV-infected Americans.
Engaging in civil disobedience that would result in many people being arrested was a primary objective, as it would focus attention on the target. On March 24, 1987, 17 people out of 250 participating were arrested for blocking rush-hour traffic in front of the FDA’s Wall Street offices.
Kramer was arrested dozens of times working with ACT UP, and the organization grew to hundreds of chapters in the US and Europe. Immunologist Anthony Fauci states “ACT UP put medical treatment in the hands of the patients. And that is the way it ought to be … There is no question in my mind that Larry helped change medicine in this country. And he helped change it for the better.
In American medicine, there are two eras. Before Larry and after Larry. Playwright Tony Kushner offered his opinion of why Kramer fought so relentlessly: “In a way, like a lot of Jewish men of Larry’s generation, the Holocaust is a defining historical moment, and what happened in the early 1980s with AIDS felt, and was in fact, holocaustal to Larry.”
Two decades later Kramer continued to advocate for social and legal equity for homosexuals. “Our own country’s democratic process declares us to be unequal, which means, in a democracy, that our enemy is you,” he wrote in 2007. “You treat us like crumbs. You hate us. And sadly, we let yo
Larry Kramer Documentary
Larry Kramer News
At 83, AIDS activist Larry Kramer isn’t done ripping into his foes in pharma, FDA, and NIH over
the course of three decades, the name Larry Kramer has become synonymous with the gay rights movement, patient rights — and savage attacks on public officials and drug companies.
Today, with controversy over drug prices and concern over public health funding, we were curious what Kramer had on his mind. We also wondered whether at the age of 83 he has mellowed.
“I don’t mince any words,’’ he said.
His take on Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health: “Collins is a wimp.’’
On Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “The consummate manipulative bureaucrat who speaks out of too many sides of his mouth.’’
On Gilead, a manufacturer of the HIV-blocker drug Truvada: “Gilead is evil, pure and simple.’’
At the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, Kramer co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, created ACT UP, and helped mount a pressure campaign against U.S. health agencies that were slow to provide access to experimental treatments.
Frail after a liver transplant and with hearing issues, Kramer asked that our interview is conducted via email. Even in print — he answered our questions in blaring capital letters — it was clear his tendency toward belligerence has not dissipated.
Kramer is as pessimistic about the state of public health as he was during the Reagan years when he emerged as a strident voice denouncing the president for neglecting the AIDS crisis.
“Neither had/have any concern for public health,’’ he said of Reagan and President Trump. “The dismantling of the system started under Reagan. Trump’s just the latest in a long line of its executioners.’’ Regarding Trump, he said, “Most of us don’t know what to do. He is successfully barricading every avenue of help and progress.’’
Kramer, who learned of his own HIV-positive status in 1988, asserted that “AIDS is worse than ever.’’ He said: “Most of the world remains untested for HIV.
What we only hear about are the small pockets of success which lead to far too much self-congratulation.’’ Those pockets, he said, are “upper and middle-class areas of white men in places like NYC and San Francisco.’’
AIDS is “exploding in countries like Russia, which denies it, Southeast Asia, huge swaths of Africa, South America, Mexico, even in parts of America, Texas, the south, West Virginia. It goes unattended to in these places for the same reasons it’s not been properly attended to here: it’s happening to populations of people that other people hate.’’
Did Kramer think there would be a cure for AIDS by now?
“I am totally convinced that if this were, from the beginning, considered a white male heterosexual disease there most certainly would be a cure by now,’’ he said. “As the late great Dr. Mathilde Krim always maintained, ‘AIDS was allowed to happen.’”
Kramer rebuffed the notion that AIDS activists like himself bear responsibility for leading the Food and Drug Administration to rush risky drugs to the market.
In a recent ProPublica article, Gregg Gonsalves, a former member of ACT UP, said he fears AIDS activists “opened a Pandora’s box.”
Asked to respond, Kramer said, “I don’t think it makes any difference. The FDA is inept whatever they do. Bad drugs turn up on the market both because and despite what the FDA does or doesn’t do.’’
The exchanges with Kramer seemed like a trip back to the peak of the AIDS epidemic; many of his targets are familiar.
Asked about Collins, he raged: “For too many years the NIH has been a cesspool of mediocrity. I don’t know how they’ve managed to get away with it. Has it never occurred to anyone how few cures for anything have come out of the NIH?’’
Asked about Kramer’s critiques, Fauci and Collins responded with strikingly similar restrained statements. They both described him as a hero, even as they rebuffed his criticism.
Collins said: “Larry Kramer played a heroic role in the progress against HIV/AIDS. However, I disagree with his assessment of the progress made in treating HIV/AIDS. The disease was a certain death sentence in the 1980s. Today, those with HIV on antiretroviral treatments can live nearly as long as someone without HIV. I’m not saying that we’re done, but we have come a long way. That said, I have and always will appreciate and respect Larry’s tenacity.”
Fauci said: “Although Larry can be confrontative and combative, I consider him a friend and a hero of the AIDS activist movement. He is correct that much remains to be done in HIV research, but here he clearly understates the accomplishments of NIH and our partners in advancing HIV treatment and prevention research.
Of particular note is the decades-long NIH support for the development of 30+ licensed anti-HIV drugs that can provide many people living with HIV a nearly normal life expectancy.’’
Kramer leveled particularly harsh attacks on Gilead, which manufactures the HIV-prevention drug Truvada.
“Research on Truvada was paid mostly by the American taxpayer via grants to the NIH with which Gilead shares the patent,’’ he said. “All the meds Gilead makes for HIV and Hep B cost only pennies to manufacture, for which they charge tens of thousands of dollars, which is beyond the reach of most people who need them.
I think it is evil to possess something that will save a person’s life and prevent them from having it. That is murder, to my mind. Yes, Gilead has saved many lives. But they have made many billions of dollars doing so. How unchristian, how undemocratic, how selfish can you be?’’
In response, Sonia Choi, vice president of public affairs for Gilead Sciences, said, “We recognize that many people who are at high risk for HIV infection still face challenges in accessing Truvada for PrEP. We are in regular dialogue with public health officials, advocates and physicians to better understand and, where possible, help to address these challenges.
Based on feedback from partners and our work in the field, we believe that one of the greatest barriers to Truvada for PrEP access today is limited awareness of Truvada for PrEP’s role in HIV prevention, which is why we commit significant investments to educate both consumers and healthcare providers.’
Kramer, who is also a prominent screenwriter, novelist, essayist, and playwright, said he was devoting much of his time now to one more book.
“I spend my declining years writing pieces and speeches and finishing what I hope will be my farewell achievement, my two-volume history of homosexuality that I call ‘The American People,’” he said. “In the many years of writing and researching it, I have been appalled how we have been treated likes— since the very beginning of America.”