Tom McBride was a handsome and successful actor and model who became famous for his role as Mark in the 1981 horror film Friday the 13th Part 2. He also appeared in other movies, TV shows, and Broadway plays, as well as being one of the iconic Winston men in cigarette ads in the 1980s. But behind his glamorous image, McBride was struggling with his sexuality, his addiction, and his health. He died in 1995 due to complications from AIDS, only two weeks before his 43rd birthday. This article will explore the life and death of Tom McBride, and how he became a symbol of the gay community’s fight against the AIDS epidemic.
Early Life and Career
Tom McBride was born on October 7, 1952, in West Virginia. He grew up in a conservative and religious family, and attended a Catholic school. He was interested in acting and photography from a young age, and moved to New York City after graduating from college to pursue his dreams. He soon found work as a model and actor, landing roles in commercials, print ads, and films. He became known for his athletic physique and All-American good looks, which made him an ideal candidate for the Winston cigarette campaign. He also starred as Mark, a wheelchair-bound counselor who gets killed by Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part 2, which became a cult classic among horror fans.
Personal Life and Struggles
McBride was openly gay, but he faced discrimination and prejudice from his family and society. He was rejected by his father, who disowned him when he came out. He also faced challenges in finding love and acceptance in the gay scene of New York, which was dominated by sex, drugs, and parties. McBride became addicted to cocaine and alcohol, and engaged in risky sexual behavior with multiple partners. He later admitted that he used sex as a way to cope with his loneliness and insecurity.
In 1984, McBride was diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At that time, there was no effective treatment or cure for the disease, which was widely stigmatized and misunderstood. McBride decided to keep his diagnosis a secret from most of his friends and colleagues, fearing that he would lose his career and reputation. He continued to work as an actor and model, but his health gradually deteriorated. He developed Kaposi’s sarcoma, a type of skin cancer that causes purple lesions on the body. He also suffered from Progressive Multi-focal Leucoencephalopathy (PML), a brain infection that causes neurological problems such as memory loss, confusion, and paralysis.
Final Months and Legacy
In 1995, McBride agreed to participate in a documentary by filmmaker Jay Corcoran titled Life & Death on the A-List. The film followed McBride in the last months of his life, as he battled with his illness and reflected on his past. The film showed McBride’s courage and humor, as well as his pain and regret. It also exposed the harsh realities of living with AIDS, and the impact it had on McBride’s relationships, self-esteem, and identity.
McBride died on September 24, 1995, at his apartment in New York City. He was surrounded by his close friends and his partner at the time. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in Fire Island, a popular gay resort where he spent many summers.
McBride’s death was mourned by many people who admired him for his talent, beauty, and charisma. He was also remembered for his role in raising awareness and compassion for people living with AIDS. His documentary was praised by critics and audiences alike for its honesty and intimacy. It won several awards at film festivals around the world, and was broadcasted on HBO in 1996.
McBride’s life story is a tragic but inspiring example of how one man faced his challenges with dignity and grace. He also represents the generation of gay men who lost their lives to AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, but who also fought for their rights and dignity. Tom McBride’s cause of death may have been AIDS1, but his legacy lives on through his art.