This week, the Blade commemorates this Sunday’s World AIDS Day by highlighting stories of individual Los Angeleans who have fallen in the battle against HIV.
These daily tributes serve to remind us of all who have been lost to the disease. They are drawn from the archives of The AIDS Memorial, a non-profit organization that operates popular pages on several social media platforms, in the spirit of their motto, “What is remembered, lives.”
“Marcelino Sánchez (December 5, 1957 – November 21, 1986) was an actor who died of AIDS in Los Angeles. He was 28 years old.
Born in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sánchez began acting in the late 1970s. He played Ricardo on ‘The Bloodhound Gang’ mystery vignettes featured on the 1980s children’s educational television show ‘3-2-1 Contact.’ He also appeared in ‘CHiPs,’ ‘Hill Street Blues’ and the film ‘48 Hrs.’ However, he is probably best remembered for playing gang member Rembrandt in film ‘The Warriors’ (1979).
In an interview with Noblemania.com, ‘Bloodhound Gang’ co-star Nan-Lynn Nelson recalled:
“Marcelino had actually contacted me months prior to his passing to let me know that he was sick. We met and spent an entire day together while he was here in NYC, basically to say good-bye. He had a friend to whom he had given the names of some of his friends to call upon his passing to let us know. That friend was very dutiful in carrying out his wishes. I still think of Marcelino often.”
Whilst Seth Greenspan said Sánchez was “one of the most creative, funny people I have ever met and truly beautiful inside. He was inspirational, patient; a great friend on the set. He taught me how to impersonate celebrities but all the celebrities he taught me were women. I was blessed with blinders at a young age and saw him as the person he was, not a sexual preference. I didn’t connect the dots between things like female impersonation and his orientation until he was infected with AIDS in one of the first waves. Every night, the news kept reporting on this strange ‘gay disease’ and Marcelino became more withdrawn and seemed very concerned. Again I made no connection. It was only months after the end of the last season when I found out. I honestly cannot recall how I found out but part of me has the notion that he called me to tell me himself. I may be completely wrong in this but I have that nagging feeling that’s how I learned. What’s important was not how I learned but the sadness it instilled in me.”