Los Angeles, May 28 (IANS) Oscar-nominated screenwriter Larry Kramer, who also courted fame as a playwright, author, and gay rights and AIDS activist, has died. He was 84.
Kramer, best known for penning the play “The Normal Heart”, passed away on Wednesday from pneumonia.
After the news of his demise, celebrities including Julia Roberts and Lin-Manuel Miranda took to social media to pay tribute and express their grief, reports variety.com.
“He was ferocious and tireless in his beliefs. A true hero that so many people owe their lives to today. I was honoured to spend time in his orbit,” said Roberts, who starred alongside Mark Ruffalo in the movie adaptation of “The Normal Heart”.
Ruffalo took to social media to offer condolences, sharing: “Rest in Power, King!”
“Dear Larry Kramer, It was the greatest honour getting to work with you and spend time learning about organising and activism. We lost a wonderful man and artist today. I will miss you. The world will miss you,” Ruffalo wrote in another post.
Miranda also shared a photograph of Kramer, saying: “Don’t know a soul who saw or read ‘The Normal Heart’ and came away unmoved, unchanged. What an extraordinary writer, what a life. Thank you, Larry Kramer.”
Actor-filmmaker Rob Reiner recalled performing in the play “8” with Kramer. Remembering Kramer as “a fierce advocate for gay rights”, Reiner said “his passionate voice will be missed”.
Kramer is also remembered as one of the founders of organizations Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP, which advocate for AIDS research and gay rights.
Screenwriter Ryan Murphy, who adapted Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart”, remembered the late writer and AIDS activist as one of his heroes.
Murphy paid tribute to Kramer on social media.
He wrote: “I first met Larry Kramer in 2012. The film rights to his groundbreaking play ‘The Normal Heart” had become available, and I wanted them. We had a wonderful first meeting, he was kind and excited about my casting ideas — Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts (who would both go on to do the HBO film with us). From there we got into negotiations, and he said he wanted one million dollars for the rights. ‘Larry!’ I said, ‘that’s a lot of money for a low-budget film!’
“He paused and said ‘it’s what I’m worth’ I paid it. And I’m so glad I did. Larry knew the value of his work, his life, all gay people’s lives — and his fundamental stubborn belief in equality for all made him perhaps the single greatest and most important gay activist of all time. His fight against government, discrimination, prejudice and big Pharma helped save millions of lives. His fight changed the healthcare system as we know it.”
Murphy continued: “I admired him above all others. He deserved the Medal of Freedom. I loved working with him, his passion. I eventually even came to love our fights. I won a Golden Globe one year, and the first call I got the next morning was from Larry. ‘I’m glad you won, but I hated seeing you there,’ he sniffed. ‘Larry, you should be happy for me!’ I said. ‘Well, I’m not,’ he replied. ‘Because you should have been at home working on our project.’ He was terrified after 30 years of development hell it wouldn’t be made, that his tale of AIDS and rage and beauty would never be seen widely by young people. But we got it made. He cried when he saw the first cut. ‘All my friends, all my generation, gone…and it’s fucking unfair it didn’t need to happen’ he said. Up until the end, we were still plotting. I recently bought the stage rights to do ‘The Normal Heart’ and ‘The Destiny of Me’ in rep on Broadway. He 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.”
Kramer also wrote the screenplays for “Women In Love”, for which he earned an Oscar nomination in 1969; 1973’s “Lost Horizon” and 2014’s film version of “The Normal Heart”, which was directed by Murphy and starred Julia Roberts. Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, and Jim Parsons.
Apart from “The Normal Heart”, Kramer also wrote the plays “Sissies’ Scrapbook”, “A Minor Dark Age”, “Just Say No”, “A Play About A Farce”, “The Furniture Of Home” and “The Destiny Of Me”. As a novelist, Kramer wrote fiction books such as “Faggots”, “The American People Volume 1”, “Search For My Heart” and “The American People: Volume 2” and “The Brutality Of Fact”.