HIV turns 30 today! Since the beginning of the epidemic, nearly 30 million people worldwide have died from HIV/AIDS. This is a tribute to a few familiar faces of folks we loved and continue to miss who lost their life to AIDS. February 7, is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness day.
1. Franklyn Seales 1952-1990
Born in St. Vincent, Seales is best known for his role on the hit comedy series Silver Spoons. On the show, he played Dexter Stuffins, a business manager and family friend. He also appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Taming of the Shrew. The actor died from complications due to AIDS on May 14, 1990 at his family’s home in Brooklyn, New York. He was only 37.
2. Jermaine Stewart 1957-1997
Jermaine Stewart was an American pop singer. The Columbus, Ohio native’s hits’ include “The Word is Out” and “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off.” From performing on American Bandstand to becoming a backup singer for Shalamar and The Staple Sisters, his love of music was apparent, leading to a solo recording deal with Arista Records. He died of liver cancer caused by AIDS.
3. Gia Carangi 1960-1986
One of the hottest supermodels of her time, Gia Carangi appeared on the covers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan. She was also the face of Armani, Christian Dior, and Versace. With her success came demons. Carangi became addicted to heroin, contracting AIDS from needle use. She died at the young age of 26.
4. Sharon Redd 1945-1992
Redd was a singer and actress from New York. She starred in an Australian production of the rock musical Hair and sang background vocals for Bette Midler before striking out on her own. She died at age 46 of pneumonia, complicated by AIDS.
5. Pedro Zamora 1972-1994
Pedro became known to the public as a member of The Real World: San Francisco. Becoming the face of HIV/AIDS in the early 1990s, he learned that he was HIV positive as a junior in high school. Soon after, he became an HIV/AIDS activist, educating youth on the importance of safe sex. He died in 1994 at the young age of 22
6. Freddie Mercury 1946-1991
The lead singer of the popular rock group Queen was only 45 when he died of AIDS. Known for his four-octave range, Mercury was also a talented song writer. There was speculation that he was HIV-positive, which he admitted publicly before his death.
7. Anthony Perkins 1932-1992
Anthony Perkins received an Academy Award nomination for his role in Friendly Persuasion. Perkins was also a theater actor who received many Tony Award nominations. His most notable role, however, was Norman Bates in Psycho. Decades later, Perkins kept a secret–that he had been diagnosed with AIDS. He feared he would not get any acting roles if he went public. Perkins died on September 12, 1992 from pneumonia related to AIDS.
8. Robert Reed 1932-1992
He is best known for his role as Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch. The loving and sensible husband and father of six graced our television screens from 1960-1974. He was diagnosed with HIV, but kept it a secret. Reed died of colon cancer in 1992 at the age of 52, at which point the public learned that he was gay, as well as HIV-positive.