Archive ID: 2008_95_edited

The American actress Sharon Stone talks about her memories of Rock Hudson who died of AIDS in 1985. She reflects on the time of the AIDS outbreak and the fear and ignorance surrounding the disease in the 1980's.

Background material

"Sharon Stone is a Hollywood actress, film producer, and former fashion model. She is an AIDS activist and was for many years honorary chair for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). She replaced Elizabeth Taylor in that position. Thanks to her commitment and amfAR’s good organizational structure, Sharon has raised several hundred million dollars for AIDS research. She is a good example of how celebrities, activists, scientists and opinion makers together created the unique AIDS alliance which influenced the world.
  Sharon Stone was confronted with AIDS when she played in a TV movie with Rock Hudson in 1985, shortly before he died in October 1985 and gave a human face to AIDS. In this interview, she reveals for the first time her dramatic story. After the film was completed in post production, she heard of Rock Hudson’s death of AIDS. Then rumours started of how HIV spread, for example through kisses. Four doctors refused to draw her blood for an HIV test, until one was willing. Stigma was so strong at this period. She was HIV negative.
  Sharon Stone quickly became a friend, and gave her support to Face of AIDS. This interview was arranged thanks to the intervention of Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, Sharon’s host during the visit to Karolinska Institutet." - Staffan Hildebrand

Interview with Staffan Hildebrand in April 2015. Duration 4:13 min


In the '80s, people had AIDS.
But I think the first time that it was so personal to me,
so close to me, certainly, was when
I was working with Rock Hudson.
And we did a movie together-- a television movie--
and I played his lover.
And he was so kind to me.
You have no idea what a kind and good man he was.
And he took such special care of me and was so nice to me,
because I didn't know my ass from my elbow in those days.
And he would come every morning and teach me my scenes.
And when we finished the movie, I knew he was sick.
I thought he had cancer.

And we finished the movie, and I went to Africa to work.
And I ended up staying like a year and a half.
And while I was there, in a place full of AIDS--
it was in '84 and during Apartheid
and during a very difficult and dangerous period where I really
became aware of all kinds of things
in the world, where really my innocence of the world
was lost.
I found out that Rock had AIDS.

And I was very worried about him.
And when I came home, I took an apartment-- an empty apartment.
It didn't have a phone.
It didn't have anything.
And I moved in.

And I went out to get a manicure.
And I was sitting at the manicure table,
and the lady said, oh, you know, that Rock Hudson died today.

And I was so overwhelmed and so shocked
that my friend had died, that he died of AIDS,
that I didn't know what it meant,
and that we were in a time when people thought you could
get AIDS from kissing and that I may
have been "exposed" to AIDS.

And I remember, I walked into the parking lot,
and I started to cry.
And I was so devastated that this person I knew and loved
had died of AIDS and that I didn't know what to do
and that I knew that I had to go get tested for AIDS.

And I went to the doctor and they wouldn't draw my blood.
And I had to find a doctor that would agree to draw my blood
and put it in a rubber gloves, which in those days
you had to take your blood in double rubber gloves
to an AIDS testing place, give it to them,
and they wouldn't take your name.
They would give you a number.
And then you had you come back in two weeks
and give them your number and they would tell you
if you had "AIDS" or not, which of course
now we know you can't get AIDS from kissing,
but it was this whole weird approach to AIDS.
Was it like a little alarm bell for you to involve yourself?
Well, I already in that period-- I
had already just started, because Elizabeth Glaser I
knew before I left for Africa.
And I was already working with her.
She was my neighbor.
She was a lady in my neighborhood
who had gotten AIDS from a blood transfusion.

I think that was before I went to Africa.

She was a lady in my neighborhood
who had gotten AIDS from a blood transfusion.
And she didn't know she had AIDS before she had kids.
And she started with a fair in my neighborhood to raise
money, which celebrities would come.
And now Elizabeth has died a long time ago,
but it's a global organization, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric
AIDS Foundation, that I'm still--
I still raise money for that organization,
I'm still involved in.

And that's-- 1984 is what, 25 years ago?
So that was the beginning days.