Saturday, November 06, 2010

Remembering... Brad Davis

Politically, Brad Davis has served the AIDS movement well, since he is widely regarded as the first well-known heterosexual man to die of AIDS; Magic Johnson notwithstanding, the myth that men can contract the disease exclusively through heterosexual sex has largely been debunked.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAlthough Davis (born on this day in 1949) technically died of an assisted suicide in September 1991, he did have AIDS at the time; whether or not he was strictly heterosexual, though, remains a matter for debate. His widow insists he was, but then she would; Davis had been addicted to needle drugs prior to his sobriety in 1981, which in theory could have led to a relapse and accounted for his infection.

Or he could have dabbled in the man-on-man action; judging by the photo he certainly would have been given ample opportunity. Certainly he was no stranger to it, having been an actor in New York in the 1970s and having appeared in 1978's Midnight Express (which featured a graphic prison rape) and Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Querelle (1983), as well as playing the lead in the original run of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart (1985), which was about AIDS.

Davis kept his illness (along with many other things) secret right up until the end; in his last film appearance (which was posthumous) he played himself in The Player (1992).
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Y | O | Y said...

Midnight Express is one of my all-time favorite movies. His prison scene doing the yoga sun salutations was just incredible.

michael sean morris said...

I must say, I have seen Querrelle, but not Midnight Express. One of these days...