In 1991, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY ran a feature called ”Faces of AIDS” that became an annual fixture for six years. Each time we published the gallery, it served as a visual reminder of the people lost to the disease over the course of the previous 365 days. Ironically, since then the very concept of the Face of AIDS has become a contentious subject. As the profile of patients has shifted, the politics of the illness have gotten more complicated. In reality, politics shouldn’t play a role at all because AIDS has now taken more than 22 million lives worldwide, and there is still no cure.
In the early years, no field was as affected by the epidemic as the arts. AIDS has claimed the lives of actors, musicians, writers, photographers, and countless others in every facet of entertainment. While their work endures, it’s hard not to imagine what might have been. AIDS has taken from us in equal measure both the prolific and the legendary, and those who — if given more time — would have become both.
The following photos represent only a fraction of the many artists and entertainers who have died with or from HIV/AIDS since it was first mentioned by the Centers for Disease Control 25 years ago. In the CDC’s initial report, the disease was still a nameless malady preying on a faceless few. But the past quarter century has forced us to confront the true scope of AIDS and the profound void left by the victims it claimed. Here are just a few of the artists whose work we wish we could still be writing about today.
GIA MARIE CARANGI
TIMOTHY PATRICK MURPHY