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On This Gay Day | Ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev died in 1993

It was on this day in 1993 that one of the great ballet dancers the world had ever known passed away. Rudolf Nureyev was a giant in the world of dance and few performers have commanded the level of attention he received.

Born in Siberia he studied at the famous Kirov Ballet in Moscow and by the 1950’s was a national sensation in Russia.

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In 1961 during a tour to Paris he escaped from his minders and asked for asylum in the west. It was the first defection of a soviet artist at the height of the cold war, and it caused an international sensation.

The dancer went on to tour the world, appearing in hundreds of productions and gaining international acclaim as the world’s greatest dancer. He also became a celebrated choreographer.

Nureyev’s career took him around the world, he dance for many years at London’s Royal Ballet. Here he found one of his most famous partners Dame Margot Fonteyn. Another of his partners was ballerina Lucette Aldous.

In the 1970’s he came to Australia to perform in the film version of Don Quixote opposite Aldous who had joined the Australian ballet. Aldous went on to become the a ballet lecturer at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts and still lives in Perth.

In the late 1980’s Nureyev became the director of the Paris Opera Ballet. He was famous for having a many lovers and a volatile 25 year relationship with Danish dancer Erik Bruhn. At the same time, he also had an open relationship with American Robert Treacy, who he met in the 1970s. Bruhn died in 1986, his death was attributed to lung cancer, but friends have speculated his death was due to HIV.      

Nureyev’s final work was to stage a lavish production of La Bayadere, a ballet he had first performed at the start of his career. He was presented with France’s highest cultural honour on the opening night of the production.

Just a few months later he died of an AIDS related illness in 1993 aged just 54. Nureyev spent the final months of his life in a Paris hospital.

The 80’s TV show Who’s the Boss made Danny Pintauro, who was born in 1976, a childhood star.

The actor first came to attention in 1983 when he appeared in the film ‘Cujo’, he was then cast in the sitcom ‘Who’s the Boss’.

The show focused on a former baseball player, played by Tony Danza, who takes a job as a live-in housekeeper for an advertising executive played by Judith Light. Pintauro played Light’s son, while Alyssa Milano played Danza’s daughter. The show ran from 1984 to 1992. 

In 1997 Pintauro was outed as being gay by the National Inquirer. 

In 2015 he gave a powerful interview where he spoke about living with HIV.  Appearing on Oprah Winfrey’s Where Are they Now series Pintauro spoke openly about his battle with methamphetamines and HIV diganosis. Pintauro said more gay men should be aware of the dangers of risking drugs and sex .

A revival of Who’s the Boss was announced back in 2020, but it is yet to appear.

Comedian and actor Kate McKinnon was born on this day in 1984.

McKinnon became the first performer on long standing program Saturday Night Live, who was open about being in a lesbian relationship. McKinnon is the show’s third LGBTIQ+ performer after Terry Sweeney and Danitra Vance.

McKinnon is still a cast member on the popular show alongside her many film appearances in works like Rough Night, Ghostbusters, Office Christmas Party, The Spy Who Dumped Me and Bombshell. In 2023 McKinnon have a memorable performance as ‘Weird Barbie’ in the film Barbie. 

‘On This Gay Day’ is a daily post highlighting queer people and events. This post was originally published on 6 July 2020 and been updated.

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