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Four ‘Dallas’ Actors We Lost To HIV/AIDS

Entertainment  

The entertainment industry was nearly decimated during the early years of the AIDS pandemic. Here are four actors we lost due to complications from HIV/AIDS and who all appeared on the hit TV drama Dallas.

 nTom Fuccello was born in Newark, New Jersey on December 11, 1936. Tom began his acting career on Broadway, appearing in numerous Broadway productions including Butterflies Are Free, The Unknown Soldier and His Wife, and Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been? in the 1970s. He first appeared on television playing the role of Mark Elliot on the soap Love is a Many Splendored Thing from 1972 until 1973. He also played the role of Paul Kendall in the soap One Life to Live from 1977 until 1979. His many TV appearances include Family, Knots Landing, V, Simon and Simon, The Colbys, Mac & Me, A Death in California, Falcon Crest, Reasonable Doubts, Silk Stockings, and Beverly Hills 90210. He made several TV films including Guts and Glory and Rock Hudson, and appeared in the feature film Going Under. He is perhaps best known from playing the role of Senator Dave Culver in the night time soap Dallas from 1979 through 1991. His final acting role was on the soap The Young and the Restless in 1992. Tom was gay. He died of AIDS related illnesses on August 16, 1993, in Van Nuys, California. Fuccello was 56 years old.

 nTimothy Patrick Murphy was born in Hartford, Connecticut on November 3, 1959. He began his acting career in TV commercials. His first TV acting role was in the series The Paper Chase in 1978. He appeared in the 1978 mini-series Centennial and The Seekers. He starred as a young con-man on the soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, for one year. He also appeared in the TV movie, A Time For Miracles, CHiPs, Teachers Only, Quincy M.E., Hotel, The Love Boat, Hunter and the TV movie With Intent to Kill. His feature films include The Bushido Blade (1981), and Sam’s Son (1984). He played the role of Chip Craddock on the series Glitter (1984-85). Tim is perhaps best known for the playing the role of Mickey Trotter on the night time soap Dallas from 1982 until 1983. His final role was in the film Doin’ Time on Planet Earth (1988). Tim was gay. He contracted HIV. He said he got the disease from actor Brad Davis, who suffered from AIDS (and killed himself in 1991), with whom he an affair. Tim died of AIDS related illnesses on December 6, 1988 in Sherman Oaks, California. He was 29 years old

 nBen Piazza was born Benito Daniel Piazza in Little Rock, Arkansas on July 30, 1933. He began his career on stage. His Broadway appearances include Too Late the Phalarope (1956), Winesburg, Ohio (1958), Kataki (1959), A Second String (1960), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962-64), The Fun Couple (1962), Song of the Grasshopper (1967), The Death of Bessie Smith/The American Dream, and Krapp’s Last Tape/The Zoo Story in 1968. He made his film debut in the 1959 Canadian film A Dangerous Age. His first Hollywood film was The Hanging Tree (1959). His other feature films include No Exit, Tell Me That You Love Me Junie MoonThe Outside Man, The Candy Snatchers, The Bad News Bears, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Nightwing, The Concorde – Airport ’79, The Blues Brothers, Waltz Across Texas, Mask, Clean and Sober, Rocky V, and Guilty by Suspicion. Ben appeared on the soap Love of Life in 1965. His many TV appearances include Naked City, Ben Casey, The Defenders, Mannix, Griff, The Waltons, Gunsmoke, Barnaby Jones, Lou Grant, Nero Wolfe, and Barney Miller. Ben starred as Walt Driscoll in the night time soap, Dallas, from 1982 until 1983. Ben published a novel, The Exact and Very Strange Truth (1964), a thinly veiled account of his childhood. He dedicated the book to his close friend, gay playwright Edward Albee. Ben was gay, although he was married to actress Dolores Dorn for about five years. In 1973, he began a relationship with Wayne Tripp. Ben died of AIDS related illnesses on September 7, 1991 in Sherman Oaks, California. He was survived by his siblings, and Tripp, his lover of 18 years. He was 58 years old.

 dack rambo jack ewingDack Rambo was born Norman Jay Rambo in Earlimart, California (with his identical twin, Dirk) on November 13, 1941. He and his twin moved to L.A. in the early 1960s and were discovered by actress Loretta Young who cast them in her TV series The New Loretta Young Show (1962-63). Dirk was killed in an auto accident in Hollywood on February 5, 1967. Dack appeared on dozens of TV shows including Never Too Young, The Iron Horse, Gunsmoke, Cannon, Owen Marshall, Marcus Welby M.D., The Rookies, The Love Boat, All My Children, Fantasy Island, Wonder Woman, Charlie’s Angels, Hotel, Highway to Heaven, and Murder She Wrote, among others. He starred in the TV series The Guns of Will Sonnett (1967-69), Dirty Sally (1974), Sword of Justice (1978-79), and Paper Dolls (1984). He starred in several TV movies, and his feature films include Which Way the Front?, Nightmare Honeymoon, and The Spring. Dack may be best known for playing the role of Jack Ewing on the popular night time soap, Dallas, from 1985 through 1987. While starring as Grant Harrison on the soap opera Another World, he learned he was infected with HIV in August 1991. He quit the show, and retired from acting. When he publicly announced that he was HIV positive, he revealed he was bisexual and had many relationships with both men and women since he was in his early 20s. Dack died of AIDS related illnesses on March 21, 1994 in Delano, California. He was 52 years old.

 

[These bios were written by Hollywood historian Michael Michaud, who is the author of Sal Mineo, A BiographyFamous Enough, A Hollywood Memoir, and Alan Sues, A Funny Man]

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