Sunday, December 31, 2017

In Memoriam: Notable LGBTQ Deaths In 2017

The Washington Blade reports:

Many acclaimed LGBT people died in 2017 from the world of politics, the entertainment industry and beyond. They include: 

Marriage equality icon Edith (Edie) Windsor died at 88 in Manhattan on Sept. 12. In her landmark case the Supreme Court for the first time granted federal recognition to same-sex married couples. The Windsor decision struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited same-sex couples from receiving the 1,138 federal benefits available to heterosexual married couples. “I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to the country we love,” former President Barack Obama said.

Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne, a lifelong aficionado of Old Hollywood and its movies, died at 84 on March 6 in his Manhattan home. During his 25 years at TCM, he told viewers intriguing stories about stars from Bette Davis to Audrey Hepburn. “I love those people,” Osborne told “CBS Sunday Morning.” “These were people that once ruled the world.”

Robert Osborne (Photo courtesy TCM)
Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag, known as the “gay Betsy Ross,” died at 65 at his New York City home on March 31. The first rainbow flags were unveiled during the San Francisco 1978 gay pride parade. “We … watched and saw the flags, and their faces lit up,” gay rights activist Clive Jones told the New York Times. “It needed no explanation. People knew immediately that it was our flag.”

Queer actor Nelsan Ellis, who played Lafayette Reynolds, a gay cook, on the HBO vampire series “True Blood” died at 39 on July 8 of heart failure due to alcohol withdrawal. Ellis waged a long battle with alcohol and drug addiction.

Actor Jim Nabors, known for playing Gomer Pyle on the CBS TV shows “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C.,” died at 87 on Nov. 30 at his home in Honolulu. Stan Cadwallader, his husband, said he had been in ill health for more than a year. Nabors said that he “never made a big secret” about being queer, but he didn’t officially come out until he married Cadwallader in 2013.

Jim Nabors (Photo courtesy CBS Television Distribution)
See more in full Washington Blade story here.
For more celebrity remembrances, watch the NBC Nightly News story below, which includes some LGBTs and other notable deaths.

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