Larry Kramer, who died Wednesday at 84, was, in so many words, a force. The rare activist to become a household name, he fought tirelessly for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, and against a largely indifferent government and public, first as a founding member of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and then through the more protest-oriented AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power — or ACT UP — which he co-founded in 1987. Many tried to dismiss Kramer as overly brash, but his and his cohort’s success in lessening stigma and spurring research and care is undeniable.
At the same time, Kramer brought his ideas and ideals to his writing, including his autobiographical 1985 play “The Normal Heart,” a seminal work of gay theater, and, more recently, the two hefty volumes of “The American People,” a novel that recasts many of this country’s history makers as gay men. Finally, the firebrand activist and writer was also just a person — a husband, a reader, a New Yorker. Below, a compilation of stories from our archives that illustrate the multiple sides of Larry Kramer, none of them likely to be forgotten.