Doris Day Helped Introduce America to AIDS, Showing Love and Empathy for Rock Hudson in 1985

On left: Hollywood actress Doris Day arrives at London's Heathrow Airport for a vacation in England Sept. 20, 1973. (Credit: Graham Wood/Evening Standard/Getty Images) On right: American screen actor Rock Hudson is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: R Jones/Getty Images)

On left: Hollywood actress Doris Day arrives at London's Heathrow Airport for a vacation in England Sept. 20, 1973. (Credit: Graham Wood/Evening Standard/Getty Images) On right: American screen actor Rock Hudson is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: R Jones/Getty Images)

Doris Day and Rock Hudson became big stories starring in a series of romantic comedies in the 1950s and ’60s.

But perhaps their most influential joint appearance came decades later in 1985. Day was about to host a cable TV show about dogs, and she invited Hudson on as her first guest.

By then, Hudson was sick with AIDS. There had been rumors about his health, but a news conference in Carmel, where Day lived, would be the first time the public saw how sickly Hudson was.

That footage would become an essential part of America’s understanding of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. It also began a long battle against discrimination and intolerance of the disease.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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