LOS ANGELES (September 4, 2014) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, today mourned the death of entertainer and comedienne Joan Rivers.
“We are deeply saddened on the news of the passing of Joan Rivers,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “Her heart was as big as her mouth was tart. When her hairdresser became ill with AIDS and spent his last days at AHF’s Chris Brownlie Hospice in Los Angeles in 1989, Joan become an ardent supporter of AHF and an early advocate on AIDS issues at a time when few public figures were willing to speak out. There was Elizabeth Taylor. There was Princess Diana. There was Madonna, still a passionate voice on AIDS. And there was Joan Rivers. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to her daughter Melissa and her entire family during this difficult time.”
From the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic, when the faces of AIDS were primarily gay men, Rivers’ special place in her heart for people with AIDS led her to host and participate in multiple benefits for AHF and other AIDS groups. In 1992, AIDS Healthcare Foundation honored Rivers for her AIDS work at its AHF Academy Awards Gala at the Directors Guild.
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Joan Rivers Honored at AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Academy Awards Gala in 1992.
L to R:
AIDS advocates including PAWS/LA co-founder Nadia Sutton, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein, Melissa Rivers and her mother, comedienne Joan Rivers, at an AHF Academy Award Gala benefitting AHF held at the Director’s Guild of America in Los Angeles in 1992. Rivers’ longtime hairdresser had been a patient at AHF’s Chris Brownlie AIDS Hospice in 1989, which led Rivers to become an ardent supporter of AHF and early advocate on AIDS issues.