May 27 (UPI) -- Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and AIDS activist Larry Kramer died Wednesday morning in Manhattan at 84.
Kramer, a co-founder of the Gay Men's Health Crisis in the 1980s and the militant advocacy group ACT UP, captured a screenplay Oscar nomination for the movie Women In Love in 1971.
The Gay Men's Health Crisis was the first service organization for people testing positive for HIV, but Kramer was later kicked out of the organization because he wanted it to take a more aggressive approach to its activism.
ACT UP, which stood for AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power, grabbed headlines with raucous street protests and demonstrations demanding faster AIDS drugs research and ending discrimination against homosexuals among other causes.
"Larry Kramer was an American hero who led a fierce and often lonely battle for action when an American president and New York's mayor refused to mobilize against a devastating plague," said Frank Rich, writer-at-large for New York magazine on Twitter.
Kramer was often credited, including by one-time foe and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, with being one of the first activists to look beyond what was viewed as a rare cancer among gay men to see a worldwide epidemic.
"Once you got past the rhetoric, you found that Larry Kramer made a lot of sense and that he had a heart of gold," said Fauci, who became friends with him after Kramer showered him with criticism at the start of the AIDS crisis.
Born in Connecticut in 1935 to a government attorney and an American Red Cross executive, Kramer earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University and was hired by the William Morris Agency. He purchased the rights to Women In Love, leading to his first big entertainment success.
His AIDS activism came to overshadow his work in the entertainment field, where along with the Oscar nomination, he wrote the Broadway play The Normal Heart in 1985. The play won the Tony Award for best play revival in 2011 along with best acting awards for Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey.