Larry Kramer 'still has work to do' as film celebrates his life

Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:08pm EDT
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By Maria Caspani

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Larry Kramer's confrontational style has mellowed. Now 80, the playwright, novelist and AIDS activist, speaks softly and looks almost frail in a big leather armchair in his New York apartment overlooking Washington Square Park.

Kramer, co-founder of the ACT UP movement that made AIDS a national issue during the U.S. epidemic of the 1980s and 90s, just published his latest book and is the subject of "Larry Kramer in Love & Anger", a documentary about his life that premieres Monday on HBO.

"I didn't originally want to do it (the documentary) because there's something final about it, and I still have work to do," the author of "The Normal Heart" told Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"I still have it. It's my motivation," Kramer said of the anger that made him the loudest voice in a movement against government inaction as AIDS proceeded to kill hundreds of thousands of people, many in the gay community.

His activism helped lead to the first effective AIDS antiretroviral treatments and prompted changes in U.S. public policy.

"Plague, we're in the middle of a fucking plague...and nobody acts as if it is," Kramer screams at a New York City forum in 1991 featured in the documentary. The disease had already killed over 150,000 people in the United States.

"NAYSAYER"   Continued...

Playwright Larry Kramer attends the premiere of "The Normal Heart" in New York May 12, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly