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AIDS: The hot stars we lost

Mark Arbour


I've been known to be a prick from time to time, especially on the boards when someone really pisses me off, and rarely will you hear me talk about actually crying. I was always taught that crying was something you didn't do very often, and certainly not in public, because it wasn't masculine and it wasn't socially proper. Well, I'm breaking the rules today, sitting here with tears streaming down my face, remembering some of the people that we as a society lost to AIDS in the 1980s.


I started doing a little research into just this topic when I was researching the 1980s for "Be Rad" (link at the bottom: shameless self-promotion). I wanted to find some actors that were young and hot (so you guys could actually get hard thinking about having sex with them) yet were hit by that terrible disease. There's a site on Wiki that lists people that have died from AIDS-related causes: Wiki - AIDS Deaths in California. Obviously this is an abbreviated listing, but it includes many famous people.


There were two that I picked out. The first is Timothy Patrick Murphy, a really hot guy who starred briefly on "Dallas" as a love interest for Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton). For my story, there is no show more "1980's" than Dallas. I posted a few youtube links for him on a E-fiction discussion entry: Be Rad Forum Entry. I feel for his parents, who lost this son to AIDS, and their youngest in the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001.


The second is Merritt Butrick (it's okay to snicker at the last name). If you ever watched Star Trek, you will remember him as Dr. David Markus, the son of James T. Kirk. What I didn't know was that he was also featured in TNG, as T'Jon: T'Jon Blurb. Here's what Wiki says about his death:

Butrick developed AIDS. Although he never discussed his private life in public, Butrick's friends have come forward in recent years to refute speculation that he acquired HIV through drug use, as Butrick acquired the virus through sex.[citation needed]

In the week before his death, Butrick received a spinal tap/lumbar puncture to help relieve cranial pressure as he was suffering from toxoplasma of the brain. At the time, Butrick was suffering from pneumonia and as of consequence of his combined illnesses, brought about by his AIDS status, Merritt died in his own apartment in Hollywood on 17 March 1989. He was cremated and returned to his family in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

In 2008, Square Pegs was released on DVD, which included a featurette dedicated to Butrick, in which his co-stars, including Jami Gertz and Sarah Jessica Parker, and show creator Anne Beatts paid glowing tributes to and recounted anecdotes about Butrick. Butrick's Star Trek III: The Search For Spock costar Robin Curtis offered similar praise on the DVD commentary for that film.


I couldn't find a link to the tribute.


Then there's famous Academy Award winner Anthony Perkins. Here's what Wiki had to say about his Death and AIDS:

On August 9, 1973, Perkins married photographer Berry Berenson. They had two sons: actor Oz Perkins (b. February 2, 1974), and musician Elvis Perkins (b. February 9, 1976).

He was bisexual. Sources say he had exclusively same-sex relationships until his late 30s, when he had an affair with actress Victoria Principal, at which point he underwent therapy [1] He reportedly had affairs with actors Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter, dancer Rudolf Nureyev, composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim and dancer-choreographer Grover Dale. Perkins had a six-year relationship with Dale prior to marrying Berenson.

Perkins died at age 60, on September 12, 1992, from complications of AIDS. He was cremated. His ashes were given to his family.

Berry Berenson died on American Airlines Flight 11, during the September 11, 2001 attacks.


There's something incredibly ironic, in a macabre way, that both Timothy Patrick Murphy and Tony Perkins would ultimately loose loved ones in 9/11.

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There's something incredibly ironic, in a macabre way, that both Timothy Patrick Murphy and Tony Perkins would ultimately loose loved ones in 9/11.


It certainly is ironic in a horrible, tragic way. It almost seems that these families, once "marked" by some kind of grief, are fated to get more of it. :( Awful. And I'm a scientist, ahaha.


Of course there's a great deal of other people whom we lost to AIDS, some of them better known than others. I personally most saddened by the passings of Alan Menken and Freddie Mercury.


Oh, and here's a great quote from Anthony Perkins: "I have learned more about love, selflessness and human understanding from the people I have met in this great adventure in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cutthroat, competitive world in which I spent my life."

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