Gay Actor Rupert Everett Recalls the Terror of the Early AIDS Years

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#1 Gay Actor Rupert Everett Recalls the Terror of the Early AIDS Years

Postby fountainhall » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:56 am

British actor Rupert Everett came out quite early in his career. In "Another Country", his character was based on the life of the gay British spy Guy Burgess and he has remained in the public consciousness as a "gay actor". In a long interview in today's Guardian, he reminds us of that ghastly period in the early 1980s by revealing the terror he felt as a young promiscuous gay man that, like many of his friends, he might have become infected with the untreatable HIV virus.

We are in a pub in Paddington station, London, drinking fizzy water because it is 10am, talking about his youth, which looked so gilded. “To be honest, that whole period, I was living in basic terror for my life. I’d had a very promiscuous sex life from the moment I arrived in London. I’d thrown myself into the gay world, coming from this convent background, and then Aids began and there was no way of finding out if you carried the virus until 1985, the HIV test. So my whole world, lots of people that I’d been with, were dying. And dying in a most terrifying way. Everybody was terrorised by the disease. Even people who loved you, your family, you’d notice them taking your plate and washing it separately. That was my whole world – of every 60 seconds, 30 were in sheer panic. Especially being in front of a camera; I lived in fear of a cameraman saying: ‘What’s that on your face, Rupert?’”

He says all this with a certain – I suppose you’d call it a trademark – languid humour, while at the same time very precisely, economically, conjuring a time that is so rarely memorialised, when men in their prime were dying, and society just moved around it, like an aneurysm in the bloodstream. He remembers sitting in a hotel room with the actor Amy Irving when an ex-boyfriend of his appeared on a current affairs show, one of the first people to come out and say he had “gay cancer”: the fear draining the blood out of his body, his skull tightening. “I was always wondering where I would go to hide. You were getting quite famous on the one hand, and on the other, preparing to disappear completely.” ... -interview

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