Thursday, 26 November 2015

Celebrities With HIV

Since the announcement by Charlie Sheen that he is HIV positive the whole Hollywood has buzzing crazy. In an exclusive interview with Good Morning America, Sheen shared the heartache of the diagnosis that occurred just four years ago, which has been treated with a cocktail of medicine over the past few years.
Sheen’s announcement instantly made him one of the most notable celebrities to publicize the diagnosis, a brave act by any standard. Add in the spotlight of stardom and the criticism of being a celebrity and this kind of announcement can be catastrophic to any red carpet career, even for someone as wild as Charlie Sheen.
With Sheen announcement I decided to research on “How many celebrities have HIV?” I did a broad research from world renowned athletes and musicians to Broadway composers and political commentators and I found 21 celebrities you probably had no idea are HIV positive and they are as follows
1.  Andy Fraser
At just 15 years old in 1968, Andy Fraser made history when he became the founding member and base player for the rock band Free. With a career lasting over an astonishing 40 years, Fraser and the band rocked the world with mega hits including “All Right Now” and “The Stealer”. First training as a classical pianist until the age of 12, Fraser spent his adult life on the road playing the guitar and living the rock star life. By the early 2000s, Fraser revealed that he had been battling HIV since the 1990s as well as Kaposi’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Disappearing from the spotlight between 1994 and 2005, Fraser made his final return as part of the new Free album titled Naked and Finally Free. Sadly, Fraser lost his battle with AIDS and cancer in March 2015.
2.  Chris Smith
Chris Smith is a celebrity of his own right in his native Great Britain. Beginning his career as a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, Smith was named as the Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment and later for the National Heritage, Health and finally Culture, Media and Sport. With an impressive career of firsts, Smith made headlines across Europe in 1984 for more personal matters when he became one of the first Members of Parliament to come out as gay. Making headlines yet again in 1997 as Great Britain’s first openly gay Cabinet minister, Smith received even more backlash in 2005 when he told the media he had been HIV positive since 1987. Also the first MP in Great Britain to publicize his diagnosis, Smith now works as the Master of Pembroke College in Cambridge as well as the Chairman of Trustees at Cambridge Union Society.
3.  Eazy-E
One of the most influential rappers during the surge of gangster rap in the early 1990s, Eric Lynn Wright is better known as Eazy-E. First launching his career as the owner of Ruthless Records, the known “Godfather of Gangsta Rap” joined the group N.W.A. On February 24, 1995, he was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital for what he believed was an asthma attack. Unfortunately, doctors discovered that Eazy-E not only had the HIV virus, he suffered from AIDS as well. Just a few weeks later, Eazy-E made his diagnosis public and detailed his sexual history, which resulted in several children coming forward from numerous women. Knowing that his time was nearing its end, Eazy-E said his goodbyes and resolved matters with N.W.A., Snoop Dogg and sent a message to his fans. At the age of 30 years old and only a month after his diagnosis, Eazy-E passed away on March 26, 1995.
4.   Robbin Crosby
Robbin Crosby was a guitarist for the famous band Ratt. Outside of the band’s fame, few rock fans knew that Crosby had contracted HIV until the band was featured in an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music. On the show, Crosby revealed that his life had basically been ruined because of drug use and HIV. Just two years later, in 2001, Crosby announced that his 1994 diagnosis had progressed into AIDS, which led to numerous hospital visits due to complications. Though Crosby picked up other hobbies to take his mind off the disease, rumors of his June 6, 2002 death still run wild as many believe he overdosed on heroin.
5.   Anthony Perkins
Known by many as the infamous Norman Bates in Psycho, Anthony Perkins was already an Academy Award nominated actor thanks to his stellar performance in the 1956 film Friendly Persuasion. By the mid-1980s with Psycho III already in production, Perkins found out that he was HIV positive. Worried about his future in film, Perkins had long avoided getting tested but a fake story in The National Enquirer spreading rumors about him having HIV led him to find out the truth. Once the test confirmed the rumors, Perkins did his best to maintain his privacy until his death, at just 60 years old, in September 1992 from AIDS related pneumonia.

6.   Jim J. Bullock
Jim J. Bullock first got his start in acting when he appeared on the television show Too Close for Comfort. From there, he became one of the regulars on the popular game show, Hollywood Squares, from 1986 to 1989. In 1985, Bullock was working on The Ted Knight Show when he learned that he had contracted HIV. Shortly after, Bullock appeared on a game show where the host said that he looked “in the pink of health”. Bullock had much more to deal with as his partner, John Casey, passed away in 1996 from AIDS. Now, at 60 years old, Bullock remains healthy and manages his HIV while staying active in the industry
7.  Gene Anthony Ray
Best known in the 1980s during the dance craze, Gene Anthony Ray appeared in the film Fame and the television series that followed from 1982 to 1987. Widely characterized as a flamboyant partygoer, life after Fame proved to be difficult for Ray as he attempted to open a dance school in Milan that quickly failed. With his life falling apart at the seams, Ray went from sharing a flat with three porn stars to sleeping on park benches after his 1996 diagnosis as HIV positive. Avoiding all questions about his sexuality until his death in November 2003, Ray’s mother finally confirmed the rumors about her son’s disease.
8.  Amanda Blake
This is the only female on the list Amanda Blake was a member of one of the longest running television shows, Gunsmoke. Though many knew that Blake’s cigarette habit had led to her 1977 diagnosis of oral cancer, few knew that she also had AIDS. Many assumed from the reports by her doctor, family and friends that cancer claimed her life on August 16, 1989. However, Blake’s death certificate told an entirely different story as it reported that she passed away due to CMV hepatitis, an AIDS related illness. It was finally confirmed by Blake’s family that she had contracted HIV from her fourth husband, Mark Spaeth, who died in 1985.
9.  Holly Johnson
Holly Johnson is an English artist, musician and writer, Johnson and his band achieved huge success with hit songs including “The Power of Love” and “Relax”. By the early 1990s, Johnson had debuted as a solo artist just as the popularity of Frankie began to wane. At the same time, in November 1991, he was diagnosed as HIV positive. Because of the series of unfortunate events, Johnson took a break from music to live a more private life while managing the virus. Now, after more than two decades, the 55-year-old Johnson has given up smoking and drinking in exchange for vitamins and medications, which has obviously served him well.
10.  Andy Bell
Andy Bell is one half of the famous British pop duo known as Erasure. Shortly after joining Vince Clarke in 1985, Bell announced to the world that he was openly gay in an interview with Melody Maker in 1986. Bell told reporters, “If you’re doing music, you should use it for something and have substance. Being gay and open about it is my substance”. In December 2004, Bell made another public announcement, this time telling his audience that he had been HIV positive for six years. Despite other health problems, Bell has managed to keep his virus in check and is still performing at 51 years old.
11.  Chuck Panozzo
Chuck Panozzo formed the famous rock band, Styx, in 1970. Launching in the heart of Chicago, Styx took over the world with their progressive rock style releasing 15 albums filled with hits including “Lady”, “Come Sail Away”, “Babe”, “Best of Times” and “Mr. Roboto”.
In 2001, Panozzo surprised his fans and the media by announcing that he was not only gay but was also living with HIV and AIDS. Since then, Panozzo has been very active in promoting AIDS awareness as well as fighting for equal rights for gay men and women. Despite his illness, the 67-year-old rocker continues to tour with the band and says, “My T-cells are up and I keep up with my prescription. I can’t complain…You have to have goals and faith in yourself.” In other words, just keep on rocking.
12.  Danny Pintauro
Danny Pintauro is better known as Jonathan Bower on the sitcom Who’s the Boss? running from 1984 to 1992 starring Tony Danza. Currently working as a restaurant manager in Las Vegas, Pintauro appeared on a 2015 episode of “Oprah: Where Are They Now” when he revealed that he had HIV. In the shocking interview, Pintauro went into great detail and told Oprah, “Believe it or not, with this guy I was actually safe. We did use condoms. I got it another way, which was through oral sex, which is a complicated story.” While it’s a rare way to contract the virus, Pintauro said that it was a mix of different factors that created the perfect storm for his diagnosis in 2003.
13.  Robert Reed
Robert Reed is Florence Henderson’s husband, Mike Brady, on The Brady Bunch. Aside from managing six Brady children on screen from 1969 to 1974, Reed also had memorable and award-winning roles on Medical Center, Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man. Reed was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1991 but that wasn’t the whole story. In May 1992, Reed passed away at the age of 59 with many assuming that cancer took his life. However, his death certificate revealed otherwise as the world learned that Reed had HIV. Valuing his privacy and avoiding unwanted publicity, Reed only told a few close friends of his diagnosis. It was only after his death that they realized Reed had lived his life privately as a gay man.
14.  Arthur Ashe
Considered one of the greatest tennis players over the last 50 years, Arthur Ashe won three Grand Slam singles titles and two more doubles titles throughout his incredible 21-year career.
In the early 1980s, Ashe underwent a heart bypass surgery during which he contracted the HIV virus through a blood transfusion. Hiding his diagnosis for years, Ashe finally announced his illness in 1992 after becoming extremely ill. With the world in his corner, Ashe worked closely with AIDS awareness groups and started the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS. On February 6, 1993, Ashe passed away from pneumonia that was caused by AIDS. Just four months later, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.
15.  Tom Fogerty
Tom Fogerty and his brother, John, were members of the legendary rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival. Fogerty contracted HIV in the 1980s from a blood transfusion during what began as a routine back surgery. Despite the bleak diagnosis, Fogerty and his brother continued to grow further apart, unable to resolve the ongoing creative differences that stemmed from their time in CCR. On September 6, 1990, at 49 years old, Fogerty died from a tuberculosis infection caused by AIDS.
16.  Greg Louganis
When it comes to diving, Greg Louganis is at the top of the list after winning four gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games. Just six months before the 1988 Olympics, Louganis learned that he was HIV positive but decided to keep the diagnosis private while undergoing treatments every four hours with the experimental drug, AZT. By 1995, Louganis publicized his condition only to have many of his sponsors drop him as HIV was considered extremely taboo at the time. Many others also criticized Louganis for not disclosing his diagnosis especially when he spilled blood into the pool after hitting his head. Today, Louganis continues to serve as an activist for the LGBT community and for those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
17.  Rudy Galindo
Rudy Galindo is an American figure skater known for his incredible talent and grace on the ice. Perhaps best known as Kristi Yamaguchi’s partner in the United States National Championships in 1989 and 1990, Galindo was also the 1996 U.S. In the midst of his success, Galindo revealed in 1996 that he was gay and that his brother, who was 10 years older, had passed away from AIDS complications. Four years later, in 2000, Galindo announced that he had contracted HIV. Now, at 46 years old, Galindo is successfully managing the disease and appears healthy while choosing to keep his health and personal life as private as possible.
18.  Jerry Herman
Jerry Herman, one of the most recognized composers in the industry. The two-time Tony Award winner has composed scores for hit Broadway musicals including Hello, Dolly!, Mame and La Cage aux Folles. With little known about HIV in the 1980s, Herman’s diagnosis in 1984 felt like a death sentence and led him to make his final plans and say his goodbyes to his dearest friends and family. However, thanks to experimental treatments in the 1980s that helped him manage the disease, Herman, who is now in his 80s, is still very much “alive and well and thriving” with little, if any, symptoms.
19.  Magic Johnson
Known as one of the best players in college basketball history at Michigan State, Earvin “Magic” Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. With five NBA championships, 12 All-Star Games, three MVP Awards and an Olympic Gold Medal, Johnson quickly became a basketball star and legend. As HIV became more and more prominent in the late 1980s, many believed that the diagnosis only affected gay men. However, in 1991, as Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV positive, the world’s perspective changed.
20.  Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Sullivan is an incredibly well-educated man with a Bachelor of Arts from Oxford University as well as an M.P.A. and a Ph.D. from Harvard. Openly gay and HIV positive for years, the native Brit had always dreamed of becoming a United States citizen but, because of his HIV-positive status, had always been denied. In 2011 after the ban on immigrants with HIV was lifted, Sullivan was granted citizenship and proudly showed off his Green Card on The Chris Matthews Show. Now living in Massachusetts with his husband, the 52-year-old appears healthy and happy as he openly discusses and advocates for gay rights and HIV awareness.
21.  Charlie Sheen
Perhaps the biggest star to announce that he is HIV positive, Charlie Sheen was an A-list movie star in the 1980s and 1990s with hit films including Platoon, Wall Street and Major League. Transitioning from the silver screen to television, Sheen proved his talent with credits in Spin City, Two and a Half Men, and Anger Management. In fact, despite his brief psychotic break during Two and a Half Men, he was the highest paid actor in all of television after earning an impressive $1.8 million per episode.
Sheen made his announcement on November 17 in an exclusive interview with Good Morning America that he was HIV positive. He told the news program, “I think that I release myself from this prison today” as a weight was obviously lifted from his shoulders. According to Sheen, he has paid millions of dollars to keep his illness in check and will possibly pay millions more as several women sue him for not disclosing that he knew about having the virus. Needless to say, it’s always interesting to see where things go from here with Sheen.

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