Remembrance

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

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Charles William "Billy" Hains

January 2, 1900 - December 26, 1973

While all but forgotten today, between 1926 and 1935, William Haines was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, an affable leading man with cocky charm and a self-depreciating comic touch. Haines enjoyed his first major hit with the collegiate football comedy Brown of Harvard, and several years later he was one of the few silent stars who effectively made the transition to talking pictures. But a series of ill-advised pictures sent Haines' career into a tailspin, and he might have enjoyed a comeback if it weren't for one thing -- Haines was gay, and while in 1935 he could hardly openly declare his sexual orientation, he stubbornly refused to deny it either, and sometimes alluded to his lifestyle in fan-magazine interviews.

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Boxer Tommy Morrison died Sunday in what news reports said was at "a Nebraska hospital" and of an "undisclosed cause."  He lost only three out of a total of 52 professional fights. Morrison's nickname, "The Duke," is based on the claim that he was a grandnephew of Hollywood star John Wayne.

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He lost to Lennox Lewis but beat George Foreman in 1993 to win the WBO heavyweight title, and he appeared in Rocky V. In the winter of 1995, an HIV test came back positive and Nevada suspended his boxing license. At a news conference, he blamed his circumstances on a "permissive, fast and reckless lifestyle."

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(August 8, 1977—August 29, 2013)

Former Army Sergeant Darren Manzella, who served two tours of duty in Iraq and spoke out against the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' died in a car accident near Rochester, NY, August 29, 2013.  He was 36 years old.

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In Loving Memory

Manzella was a brave, powerful and important voice in the battle to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", speaking out about his sexuality when it was taboo to do so. It led to his discharge.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Seargent Manzella's husband, family and friends, and we give thanks for his courage and service.

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AIDS activist Sean Sasser, whose on-screen marriage to late "Real World" star Pedro Zamora was a landmark moment in TV history, has died at age 44. Zamora and Sasser exchanged vows in a commitment ceremony, the first ever broadcast on U.S. TV.  Zamora died of AIDS shortly after the season wrapped in 1994.

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Michael Kaplan, Sean Sasser partner said he died of mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lungs. Sasser had been HIV positive for 25 years but developed cancer this summer after a June blood test showed an abnormality. Sasser resurfaced this year in Washington having become a pastry chef at RIS, an upscale cafe on L Street.

 

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Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor

February 27, 1932–March 23, 2011