Fifty Years of Friendship with Larry Kramer

By Calvin Trillin

May 29, 2020

Larry Kramer was a pain in the ass as a matter of policy. He was also our beloved family friend.Photograph by Michael Abramson / The LIFE Pitcture Collection / Getty

n 1997, my younger daughter, Sarah, and I were both invited to contribute essays to an anthology called “We Must Love One Another or Die: The Life and Legacies of Larry Kramer.” Mine began like this: “When I was asked if I could write about some aspect of Larry Kramer’s life for this book, I said, ‘I might be able to write a piece about Kramer as a pain in the ass, but I suppose you have too many of those as it is.’ ” In Sarah’s essay, titled “Christmas Dinner with Uncle Larry,” she said that the angry person she saw on television—someone who had been called “the most belligerent man in America”—was nothing like the sweet Larry Kramer she knew.

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Calvin Trillin, a contributor to The New Yorker since 1963, is the author of “No Fair! No Fair!,” with illustrations by Roz Chast.

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