December 30, 2020 at 5:06 pm EST | by Kathi Wolfe
In memoriam
Lesbian feminist icon Phyllis Lyon (right) died of natural causes on April 9. (Photo via Newsom for Governor)

Ed Flipowski, a public relations executive whose work with Gucci and other companies influenced the fashion industry, died on Jan. 10 at 58 from complications from surgery at his Manhattan home.

Michel Georges Alfred Catty, known as Michou, who ran a celebrated drag cabaret for decades died at 88 from a pulmonary embolism on Jan. 26 in a hospital in Saint-Mandé, a suburb of Paris.

Deborah A. Batts, the first openly LGBTQ federal court judge, died on Feb. 3 at her New York City home at 72 from knee replacement surgery complications.

Terry DeCarlo, an LGBTQ activist who was director of the Center, an LGBTQ advocacy group, died at age 57 from face and neck cancer in a Hollywood, Fla. hospital. He became nationally known as a Florida LGBTQ community spokesperson after the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Johni Cerny, the chief genealogist for the PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” died on Feb. 19 in Lehi, Utah at age 76 from coronary heart disease and congestive heart failure.

Gerald S. Krone, a founder of the Negro Ensemble Company, died on Feb. 20 at age 86 at his Philadelphia home from Parkinson’s disease.

Mart Crowley, whose groundbreaking 1968 play “The Boys in the Band” told the story of gay characters who talked honestly about their lives, died on Feb. 7 at age 84 in Manhattan from heart surgery complications.

Charles Wuorinen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who wrote the groundbreaking opera “Brokeback Mountain,” died on March 11 at age 81 from complications from a fall in Manhattan.

Terrence McNally, the four-time Tony Award-winning playwright died on March 24 at 81 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla. From complications of the coronavirus. His half century of work includes “Master Class” and “Love! Valour! Compassion!.”

Tomie dePaola, children’s book author and illustrator died on March 30 at 85 in Lebanon, N.H. from complications from surgery that he had after a fall. “Strega Nona” is his best-known work.

Tarlach MacNiallais, a New York City LGBTQ and disability rights advocate, died on April 1 at 57 from coronavirus complications.

Thomas L. Miller, producer of “Happy Days,” “Full House” and other popular TV shows died on April 5 in Salisbury, Conn. at 79 from heart disease.

Phyllis Lyon, pioneering lesbian activist and marriage equality advocate, died at age 95 on April 9 at her San Francisco home. Lyon and her partner of many decades Del Martin, along with three other lesbian couples founded the Daughters of Bilitis, one of the first United States lesbian political groups. In 2008, Lyon and Matin were the first California couple to legally marry.

Robert (Robby) Browne, real estate mogul and philanthropist died at age 72 on April 11 at his New York City apartment from multiple myeloma and the coronavirus. He socialized with Hillary Clinton, Martina Navratilova, and other celebs.

James Weaver, a Smithsonian curator, died on April 16 from the coronavirus in Rochester, N.Y. at age 82. He helped to bring American musical theater, jazz, hip-hop, folk music and early electric guitars to the Museum of American History, the Washington Post reported.

Iris Love, an archaeologist, art historian, champion dog breeder and gossip columnist Liz Smith’s partner, died at age 86 on April 17 from the coronavirus at New York/Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan.

Kenneth Lewes, the psychologist whose groundbreaking book “Psychoanalysis and Male Homosexuality” challenged the view that being gay was a mental illness, died on April 17 at age 76 at a Manhattan hospital from the coronavirus.

David Carter, Stonewall historian and author, died on May 1 at age 67 from a heart attack at his New York City apartment.

Thomas Sokolowski, an early organizer of the art world’s response to the AIDS crisis died on May 6 at age 70 from cardiac arrest following emergency surgery for a subdural hematoma in New Brunswick, N.J.

Roy Horn of the legendary illusionist team Siegfried & Roy died on May 8 at age 75 from complications from COVID-19 in Las Vegas. The famed act entertained millions from Japan to New York City.

Little Richard, the flamboyantly queer, groundbreaking, early rock ‘n roll star, known for such hits as “Slippin’ and Slidin’” and “Lucille,” died on May 9 at age 87 in Tullahoma, Tenn. from bone cancer.

Aimee Stephens, the plaintiff in the landmark R.G &G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. V. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Supreme Court case, died on May 12 at age 59 at her Redford, Mich. home from kidney failure. The Court ruled that LGBTQ people are protected from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Stacey Milbern, a queer disability rights activist, died on May 19 at age 33 from complications from surgery at a Stanford, Calif. hospital. “Oftentimes, disabled people have the solutions that society needs,” she told public radio station KQED.

The iconic Larry Kramer, playwright, author, film producer, and a founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP died of pneumonia at age 84 on May 27.

Ron Simmons, executive director of Us Helping Us People Into Living, a Washington, D.C. AIDS service group died on May 28 at George Washington University Hospital from prostate cancer at age 79. Before serving with the AIDS organization, he was an assistant professor at Howard University’s School of Communications.

Roberto Faraone Mennella, renowned jewelry designer and inventor of the “Stella,” the iconic earring, died on June 4 in Torre del Greco near Naples, Italy from cancer at age 48.

Paul Fortune, the interior designer known as “the designer to the stars,” died on June 15 from cardiac arrest in Ojai, Calif. at age 69. Sofia Coppola and Marc Jacobs were among his clients.

Angela Madsen, a gold-medal-winning Paralympian Rower died on July 21 at age 40 while trying to row on the Pacific Ocean by herself from California to Hawaii. She wanted to be the first openly queer athlete with paraplegia to make this journey, The New York Times reported.

Kansai Yamanoto, the flamboyant designer who designed the look of David Bowie’s alter ego Ziggy Stardust, as well as looks for Elton John and Stevie Wonder, died on July 21 in a Tokyo hospital at age 76 from leukemia.

Lady Red Couture, a comedian singer and co-host of the LGBTQ talk show “Hey, Qween!,” died on July 25 at age 43 from complications of cyclic vomiting syndrome in Los Angeles.

Eric Bentley, the renowned theater critic, scholar, author and playwright died at age 103 on at his Manhattan home on Aug. 5.

Chi Chi DeVayne, the beloved “RuPaul’s Drag Race’ contestant died on Aug. 20 at a Shreveport, La. hospital from scleroderma.

Randall Kenan, an award-winning gay Southern, Black writer of fiction infused with magical realism, died on Aug. 28 at age 57 at his Hillsborough, N.C. home.

Tony Tanner, who directed “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” on Broadway died on Sept. 8 at age 88 at his Los Angeles home.

Henry van Ameringen, a philanthropist and early, openly gay, donor to LGBTQ and AIDS organizations, died on Sept. 9 at age 88 at his Manhattan home.

Soraya Santiago Solla, trailblazing trans activist, died on Sept. 22 at her home in Carolina, Puerto Rico at age 72 from cancer and respiratory failure.

Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, lesbian theologian died on Sept. 25 at her Pompton Plains, N.J. home at 88 from respiratory failure and pneumonia.

Monica Roberts, trans advocate, journalist who wrote the blog TransGrief, died on Oct. 5 at age 58 at her Houston home.

Frederick Weston, an “outsider” artist acclaimed for his collages of male bodies and Black queerness, died on Oct. 21 at 73 in his Manhattan apartment.

David Easton, architect and interior designer for aristocrats died on Oct. 29 at 83 at his Tulsa, Okla. home from complications of dementia.

Leonard Kamsler, an award-winning golf photographer died on Nov. 18 from organ failure at 85 in Bethel, N.Y.

Jan Morris, the acclaimed British travel writer and historian who wrote about her life as a transwoman, died on Nov. 20 died at 94 in a hospital near where she lived in Wales.

Deb Price, the first nationally syndicated columnist on gay life, died at 62 of an autoimmune lung disease on Nov. 20 at a hospital in Hong Kong.

Pat Patterson, an out gay wrestling star, at 79 on Dec. 2 from liver failure at a Miami Beach hospital.

Anthony Veasna So, an acclaimed writer died from unknown causes at 28 on Dec. 8 at his San Francisco home. “Afterparties,” his debut book will be published by Ecco in August.

SIEGFRIED & ROY at their home, The Jungle Palace. Horn died on May 8. (Photo illustration from 1998 program book; courtesy Mirage)
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