#TomVillard was an actor with #AIDS who continued to work in movies and television who died November 14, 1994 in a #LosAngeles hospital. He was 40.
The cause was #pneumonia. Villard, whose AIDS was diagnosed in 1992, went public with his illness in 1994. He was a native of #Spencerport, N.Y., and had appeared in 12 feature films, including #HeartbreakRidge" with #ClintEastwood in 1986 and "My Girl" in 1991. He had roles in several television shows including episodes of "Frasier," "Sisters" and #StarTrek #DeepSpaceNine. He also had the lead role in the 1980's #NBC comedy #WeGotItMade," the story of two big city bachelor roommates, their attractive maid and their suspicious girlfriends. Toward the end of his life, Villard became one of the few actors in Hollywood in the early 1990s who chose to be open about his homosexuality, and the challenge of living with #HIV and AIDS and with its onset Kaposi's sarcoma including lesions on his face and at the end of his nose. In the most superficial of cities, in an industry that celebrates style over substance, a place where plastic surgery is required to be “beautiful” Villard, rather than hiding away and changing his name and living out the rest of his years anonymously, took his struggle to the public. In February 1994, Villard made an unprecedented appearance on #EntertainmentTonight, acknowledging to "...more than 13 million viewers that he was gay, that he had AIDS, and that he needed some help." According to a #POZmagazine profile in December of that year Villard said, "An awful lot of people suddenly wouldn't let me in the door for auditions. I started speaking a couple of months ago about living with AIDS and having hope," he said. "It feels a little more useful than things (I've done) in the past." He went on to explain that since his appearance on E.T., a whole other group of people had come forward to welcome him. When he died his partner, production designer #ScottChambliss, set up The Tom Villard Foundation to provide assistance to people living with AIDS.