Was Klaus Nomi the first celeb to die of AIDS?

I was wondering what ever happened to Klaus Nomi, having recently seen a tape of Urgh! A Music War, and I came across the linked page. In the short biography section it says:

Is this true? If not, then who was? I’d always thought it was Rock Hudson, who of course was a better-known celebrity than Nomi. Just how well-known does a person have to be to be a “celebrity”?

Depends what you call a ‘celebrity’ dont it ?

I’ve never heard of Klaus Nomi.

Rock Hudosn was certainly pretty early on, 1985ish I think.

IMDb says Nomi died in 1983 of AIDS; Hudson died in 1985.

I never heard of Nomi either, and there was certainly a big fuss when we found out how Rock died.

Well, Rock Hudson was the first major celebrity who died of AIDS publicly.

Other people in show biz had died of AIDS before him, obviously, but none were anywhere near as famous as Rock.

Bear in mind that AIDS was causing large numbers of gay men to get sick before anybody really knew what it was. Several famous celebrities died of “pneumonia” or “cancer” before the HIV virus was discovered, and before AIDS even had a name. It’s quite possible that some of those celebrities were AIDS victims.

Klaus is one of the most bizzare artists I have ever seen/heard. I did not know he dies of AIDS.

Well, he is just about one of the most flamboyant artists you are likely to have seen before. He is much more likely to be picked out in a lineup as being the “gay” one when comapring to Rock Hudson.

This is what he looks like


you can make your own judgements about the guy, but his music and style is really orignial. I particularly like his techno pop version of DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD. I own 2 albums of his.


Sadly, even today there is still a stigma about dying of AIDS. Quite a few celebrities (male and female) have died due to complications of AIDS, but as astorian mentioned, often the cause of death will be listed as “pneumonia” or cancer (Karposi’s) or the more ominous “after a long illness”.

I know people should have a right to their privacy, in life and in death, but I personally think it would help bring the seriousness of AIDS (even with new drug treatments) to light if more people were open about the truth. This in turn might lead to more interest in finding/funding a cure/vaccine.

And I had heard of Klaus Nomi, but I grant that he was not exactly a celebrity with the name recognition of Rock Hudson.

I first saw him in Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video.

I didn’t know he was dead until I looked to see what he was doing now. :frowning:

Wow, never thought I’d see a thread about Klaus Nomi on SDMB.

Just want to reaffirm earlier comments that he was a true artist. Dammit, I miss the 80s :frowning:

“I going to lasso you with my rubberband laser” - Klaus Nomi

Klaus would probably have been more famous if he hadn’t have died so young… but no too much more, he was probably just too weird for most tastes.
Graham Chapman was also pretty early, 1989… but he died of “cancer”.

Didn’t he work with Bowie?

I wouldn’t bet on Graham’s being anything but cancer. He was known for constantly smoking his pipe, almost 24/7. While not as dangerous at cigarettes, it’s still dangerous.

No, I never heard anything about Graham except AIDS. Didn’t the MP boys say it themselves?

Rush Limbaugh plays Klaus Nomi’s “You don’t know me”, as his gay updated theme song.

Actually pretty entertaining to listen to.

IIRC, Graham joked about dying of cancer instead of AIDS. He said something like, “Ha, that’ll show 'em”.

Yes, Graham Chapman went quite public with his illness, because he wanted to point out that gay men do die of other things besides cancer.

Graham was open about his sexuality very early on- if he were dying of AIDS, we would not have denied it.

Actually, it was public knowledge during the last year or so of his life that he was battling cancer, and, as I recall, it was throat cancer that got him (too much of his pipe).

Besides, why would Chapman (who had been openly gay since at least the mid-1970’s, and possibly earlier, and, at any rate, earlier than a lot of later “outings”) lie?

I meant, he would not deny it, he.

Liberace going in 1987 – though not the shock Hudson was – was fairly big in the acceptance of AIDS too. But unlike Hudson who didn’t own up until the very end BTW – Liberace never owned up in life.

I think the first “celebrity” to own up to AIDS was Ryan White – who was basically a celeb for being persecuted for having AIDS – he was a huge force and definitely at least a B-level celeb in the 80’s. He was someone everyone knew, who had AIDS, & who could not be made into the bad guy for getting it. The Ryan White CARE ACT was passed in his lifetime – I’d he was a celeb by '86.