elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Keith Christopher (April 27, 1957 - February 23, 1998)

Keith Christopher (Thomson) (April 27, 1957, Portland, Oregon - February 23, 1998, New York, New York ), a singer/songwriter, actor and AIDS activist, made television history when he appeared as the first openly gay, HIV-positive performer to portray an HIV-positive gay character on NBC's Another World.

He was next invited to create the role of Wyatt Sanders, a gay HIV counselor, on the daytime drama The Guiding Light. This recurring role led to an NBC News profile by Tom Brokaw, and interview segments on Entertainment Tonight, the PBS show In the Life, Fox's TV Nation and appearances on several network television talk shows and radio shows.

Christopher dedicated the last years of his life to being a spokesperson for Gay Men's Health Crisis. At GMHC's 1997 AIDS Walk in Central Park, Christopher was a keynote speaker, along with Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Rosie Perez. He spoke of his long struggle with AIDS and his body's inability to benefit from the newest drug treatments.

In 1994 Christopher was honored by Billboard Magazine with a Certificate of Achievement award for his song "Smiling in the Dark." His song "One People" was commissioned by the United Nations Environmental Project, and "Pieces of Lives" was written for and performed by Christopher at the first display of the Names Project Memorial Quilt in New York City. At the time of his death in 1998 he was nearing completion of his first CD, Naked Truth, posthumously released by Significant Other Records.

Keith Christopher died of AIDS in New York at the age of 40 on February 23, 1998. —Joseph Dalton

Source: http://www.artistswithaids.org/artforms/music/catalogue/christopher.html

Further Readings:

Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality by Patrick Moore
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press (January 14, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080707957X
ISBN-13: 978-0807079577
Amazon: Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality

The radical sexuality of gay American men in the 1970s is often seen as a shameful period of excess that led to the AIDS crisis. Beyond Shame claims that when the gay community divorced itself from this allegedly tainted legacy, the tragic result was an intergenerational disconnect because the original participants were unable to pass on a sense of pride and identity to younger generations. Indeed, one reason for the current rise in HIV, Moore argues, is precisely due to this destructive occurrence, which increased the willingness of younger gay men to engage in unsafe sex.

Lifting the'veil of AIDS,' Moore recasts the gay male sexual culture of the 1970s as both groundbreaking and creative-provocatively comparing extreme sex to art. He presents a powerful yet nuanced snapshot of a maligned, forgotten era. Moore rescues gay America's past, present, and future from a disturbing spiral of destruction and AIDS-related shame, illustrating why it's critical for the gay community to reclaim the decade.

More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics

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Tags: gay classics, musician: keith christopher

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