Larry Kramer who is best known for writing the play “The Normal Heart”, passed away on Wednesday from pneumonia. Kramer, who also courted fame as a playwright, author, and gay rights and AIDS activist, died at the age of 84. Now the producer and director Ryan Murphy has shared a moving tribute for Larry Kramer.
The Oscar-nominated Larry Kramer’s harrowing 1985 play about the early years of the AIDS crisis in New York had a troubled history in Hollywood. The play was stuck in development hell for three decades, with Barbra Streisand attached as director. It finally came to life in 2011 when Ryan Murphy came aboard. Hours after news of Kramer’s demise, Ryan remembered his late friend with an emotional note.
Ryan Murphy took to Instagram and 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 for 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 health care system as we know it. 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”.
He further added – “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. In his memory, watch “The Normal Heart” on HBO today. Or better yet, send an outraged email or tweet to a neglectful politician of your choice. He would have liked that”.
Larry Kramer also wrote the screenplays for “Women In Love”, for which he earned an Oscar nomination in 1969.