- 25 min
Larry Kramer is an American dramatist, author and gay rights activist.
One of Kramer’s earliest works was the film ?Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush? which he co-wrote and directed.
Kramer next produced and wrote the screenplay for ?Women in Love?, based on the novel by D. H. Lawrence, which was nominated for an Academy Award. Kramer had far less luck on his next film, a musical version of James Hilton’s ?Lost Horizon? released in 1973. It became one of the most notorious flops of the decade.
Kramer was a gay rights advocate from the early 1970s, but never an orthodox one. His 1978 novel, ?Faggots?, was one of the best-selling gay-themed novels, but was heavily criticised by many gay activists for its negative portrayal of male homosexual lifestyles.
Kramer was living in New York City when the AIDS epidemic began in 1981. He published a series of articles in the gay newspaper the ?New York Native?, including the famous “1,112 and Counting,” urging action in response to the new epidemic. He was one of the founders of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a New York-based AIDS advocacy organization, which is still the world’s largest provider of services to gay men with AIDS.
In 1987, increasingly discontented with the response to AIDS by both the U.S. government and the gay male community, Kramer helped found the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), an AIDS advocacy and protest organization often engaged in civil disobedience.
Kramer’s 1985 play about the early years of AIDS, ?The Normal Heart?, remains one of the most important cultural responses to the devastation of AIDS in the 1980s. It has had over 600 productions all over the world. Its New York production starred Brad Davis, who later died of AIDS. It is now used as a set text in many schools and universities.