Oct 31, 2014

Paul Michael Glaser: From Starsky to AIDS Activist

Paul Michael Glaser was half of the quintessential gay couple of the 1975-1979 tv series, Starsky and Hutch (with David Soul): two cop partners who loved each other, a lot.

Although they didn't play up the gay subtext, they were ok with it, merely issuing an occasional wink-wink protest like "Anyone who watches the show can see that Starsky and Hutch like women."

After Starsky and Hutch, Paul starred in a few tv movies, but then his attentions were drawn elsewhere.  In 1985 he and his wife Elizabeth discovered that she had contracted HIV through an emergency blood transfusion, and unwittingly transmitted the virus to their children, Ariel (born 1981) and Jake (born 1984).

During the 1980s, when AIDS was being advertised as a "Gay Disease," people assumed that Paul was gay, and had infected his wife and children.  They experienced the same fear and homophobic harassment that gay people with AIDS were experiencing.

But they didn't let homophobia affect their relationship with the gay community.  They were always staunch supporters of gay rights.

After Ariel died in 1988, Elizabeth began the Pediatric AIDS Foundation.  She became a national advocate for AIDS awareness and research, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 1992.  She died in 1994, and Paul took on the management of the organization.

Jake has grown up living with HIV.  He is now an AIDS advocate and actor.