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Did Richard Hunt REALLY have AIDS?

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by D'Snowth, Aug 31, 2003.

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  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I visited his page at the InternetMovieDatabase, and it said Richard Hunt died of AIDS! Is this true? Or is it just a rumor? I'm getting really freaked out!
  2. Aaron

    Aaron Active Member

    it's true
  3. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

  4. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Active Member

    i got a question..i knew richard died of aids but how did he get it?.....well i think i may know the answer to this but i want to be sure. thanks

    ryan
  5. Skeeter Muppet

    Skeeter Muppet Active Member

    That's never been mentioned, and frankly I'm not curious about it. Dead or alive there are parts of a person's life that should remain private. And that's one of them.

    -Kim
  6. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Active Member

    hey look i'm just curious. i've just been wondering about it. and there's nothing wrong with being curious.....

    ryan
  7. Muppetsdownunder

    Muppetsdownunder New Member

    I don't want to sound bad or anything but this is something I have wondered about too. It wouldn't change the way I thought of Richard Hunt, he was a great perfomer like Jim and they have made great differences in all of our lives here, they have made our lives more exciting and fun, we wouldnt even be in this forum if it wasn't for Jim for instance.

    Everyone is entitled to do what they want to do and be what they want to be aslong as it doesnt harm anyone else so regardless of how Richard Hunt got aids that part doesn't matter, its extremely sad that he died at all and Like Jim, should have never died atleast not that young.

    :sympathy:
  8. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I think it is only natural for people to be curious about the death of public figure (especially a much-loved one like Richard), but it has been very apparent that the Henson folks and Richard's family have been reluctant to discuss the specifics of Richard's illness. They appear to have chosen to keep most of the details of it private.

    It's interesting that even today many of the official materials you see about Richard do not mention AIDS as the cause of his death. The AIDS story was very slow to get out to many people (though I believe the press reports of his death did specifically mention an AIDS-related illness). This sort of thing was unfortunately common with a lot of people who died of AIDS in the late 80s/early 90s. People just didn't want to talk about it much. I am not going to comment or pass judgement on what was obviously a painful private decision for the Henson company and/or the Hunt family.

    I do think it is a lovely gesture for fans of Richard's like us to focus on and celebrate Richard's life and work rather than the worrying about the nitty-gritty details of his illness and death.
  9. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Richard was a GREAT performer for both Muppets, and Sesame Street. His characters always gave me a laugh whether they were weird characters, or normal characters (of course then again, Muppets are everything BUT normal.) Richard always wanted to be a performer with Henson I read. He had a good career, even though it seemed like he had no luck with Sesame characters (i.e. Elmo, Don Music). Bad it's sad that Richard is no longer with us :cry:. I don't really no how he got AIDs, but frankley, I don't want to know. I just wish that he and Jim are now currently discovering new worlds together. :sympathy:
  10. dbarrie

    dbarrie New Member

    Eren Ozker

    Apparently Eren Ozker also died of AIDS (in 1993). Does anyone have more details about that? Ozker performed Hazel and Wanda during the 1st season of TMS, and Gretchen Fox in "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas." She also worked on the 1st Muppet Movie. That's all the info I have about her. Does anybody have other info on her?

  11. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Active Member

    i'm not trying to get any huge details out of this man's personal life at all. i was just curious. i've always been curious about how he got aids. it's just something i've been wondering about for a number of years now. but i'm not going to post any more on this thread...if anyone has an answer to my question, that's great. if no one does then that's fine too. again i was just curious. not trying to get into his personal life by any means.

    ryan
  12. Ryan

    Ryan New Member

    Jerry Nelson recently stated that it wasn't AIDS, But Cancer.I believed she was hired as a Santa Claus Swithc extra in 1970. She performed Hilda (not Hazel, LOL) Janice, and Wanda in season one. She left after the first season to move to the US to start a family. She developed a Puppetry company later on. She was a great performer, and she'll always be one of my favorites. :sympathy:
  13. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    You can see a lot of my thoughts on Richard and his passing in the tribute section Phil gave the link to earlier but suffice to say out of all the immense talents that make up the Muppet performers, i think he would have been my alltime favorite. I understand the curiosity behind the questions of what led to his far-too-early death but also have to agree with those that say it is a very personal matter (especially given that in most ways that HIV is contracted), and if this is info that those close to him feel don't need to be included in biographical info then so be it.

    It's horrible that even at the beginning of the 90's, AIDS still has such a stigma associated with it (sadly though much has changed, as a society there's still far too much unenlightened attitudes/knowledge our there) and no doubt this made his death more tragic because whatever the behind-the-scenes circumstances, there was probably more of a need to keep it his HIV status a secret...not that anyone probably thought anyone needed to know - the internet was just really starting as a means of communication and certainly no one within Henson was probably aware of how much a fan base they had at that time so why make any annoucements when "no one" would even know who Richard Hunt was? Of course that made it all the more a shock to his fans when they learned of his passing after the fact...many of us didn't even know until they saw Muppet Christmas Carol and saw Richard's name there with Jim's in the opening dedication. The only place i EVER heard anything about his death was in the obituary section of The Advocate...the very first issue i actually bought as opposed to skimming through it in the newstand...the liberation of reading it on the bus home only to have that replaced with pure shock and sadness to see an obituary for Richard (and about a month after the fact since at that time there was a bit of a turnaround time for the latest issue to hit the newstand - so there was also anger that this was the ONLY place i learned of his death - a MONTH after it happened. Maybe he wasn't the household name Jim was but it just felt like a total slight!)

    Anyway, this probably seems like a lot of rambling but the point i am getting to here is that even though it was only 10 years ago, the world was very different then - if this happened today, his fans would probably have known about his HIV status and been able to send him letters of support and good wishes before he passed away - none of us got a chance to say "goodbye" or "thank you". He would have known much more how much people really loved and appreciated him. I would have given anything to have been able to express my love and gratitute whether it be a hand to hold or a hug in person or via a card...and since back then we didn't have that kind of opportunity, i think that's why some people feel more of a need to know "WHY" it all happened.

    So if you still need some kind of answer to your question, i can offer the following attempt..."Why did Richard die/How did he contract AIDS? Because he was unfortunate enough to live in a time when politics and a large portion of society preferred to remain in a state of ignorance of things they'd rather ignore than put a lot of focus on saving millions of lives of all sorts of wonderful people - both in terms of being able to stem infections and putting priority on finding a cure for those who did have it." I'm sure that's not quite the answer you're looking for, but all things considered it just may be the best one that can be given.
  14. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I don't think Richard's illness was "a secret" but it was just not widely discussed. As I mentioned above, I believe the news reports of his death mentioned AIDS. From what I have read here in Muppet Central articles and elsewhere many of the Henson people did not know much about Richard's illness until it was near the end and many Henson press materials do not specifically cite the disease, whereas they tend to mention the cause of Jim's death.

    Again, I don't really want to speculate on why that was but I think it is a fair statement that at the time of Richard's death there still was a bit of stigma attached to AIDS. That combined with the fact that the Henson company was not in the best of shape (was a sale still be considered at that point?) and their image as a "family" company might help explain the reluctance to widely acknowledge the issue.

    I am not suggesting that they were attempting to cover up the fact that Richard had AIDS or anything like that, but under the circumstances at the time perhaps a decision was made to adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" philosphy. I really don't know, but that is one possibility.
  15. Muppetsdownunder

    Muppetsdownunder New Member

    That sounds too weird! :rolleyes:
  16. radionate

    radionate New Member

    That is very beautifully put DW. Very well said.
  17. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Thread Closed

    I know this thread was not intended to be offensive, but it does go against the forum guidelines. We are not to speculate about the private lives of Muppet performers. The Hunt family is aware of the forum and could see this thread. We have also received complaints.

    Furthermore, the links posted by Beauregard are thoughtless and inflammatory. Many of us around the board have lost friends to AIDS. It grossly disrespectful and dangerous to report an already established epidemic as a myth when it has killed so many people – some treated, some not.

    I am closing this thread until Phillip has had time to review it.
  18. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    We have had several requests to remove the links that were posted to outside sites. Considering the circumstances and out of respect for Richard Hunt's family, we have consequently removed those links.


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