In the 1980's it was still tough for LGBT people to come out and live as themselves, but one actor made sacrifices in order to do just that. According to an Advocate article, Mark Patton who's role in "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy's Revenge" walked away from Hollywood so he could live his life on his own terms.
Moving on to a successful career in Interior Decorating, Patton lived with anonymity until he discovered he tested positive to HIV after becoming deathly ill. Now recovered and healthy, with a new life and the support of his spouse with whom he shares an art store in Mexico, he had started to travel with Horror Conventions, using his fame to spread awareness about HIV. Just like a certain Dream Stalker, the deadly virus found out the hard way Mark Patton does not give in easily.
Lexington Horror Movie Examiner was fortunate enough to get an interview with Mr. Patton, who was rather candid about his life, his work and his advocacy for HIV awareness.
Examiner: You started acting in New York. How did that differ from acting in L.A.? Have you been back to visit New York since?
Mark Patton: Apples and Oranges, they have nothing in common..really different Worlds. I will always be a New Yorker and a Broadway Baby. [They] are my greatest memories. I find Los Angeles to be.... all about power, greed and money, it always has been and always will be....New York is the same but it has a dash of heart.
Examiner: I know getting a diagnosis for an incurable illness can be terrifying, what was your reaction? Was there any one thing or person that helped you come to terms with your diagnosis?
Mark Patton: I was helped by many friends and was quite ill for many years. I am happy to say I am now very healthy and happy in life. I faced my mortality at 23 when my friends began to die in scores, you can not begin to image the horror of the 1980s for Gay Men from NYC, SF and LA..I went to 3 funerals a week for three years straight...so by the time it was my turn I was well rehearsed in what was to come..I was lucky in the fact that new medicines were discovered that saved my life.... Hence I am on a mission to spread the word about HIV so that the people who never saw the horror [of HIV in 1980s] never have to.Sadly many people think HIV AIDS does not apply to them..young Gay Men think it is easy to cure, [or that the] stories are overblown [So] I keep talking. This is the real reason I agreed to go on tour, to talk about this issue...[that the] the Horror Community was under educated and I felt I could do something with my bit of fame.
Examiner: "Freddy's Revenge" was so iconic on multiple levels, not the least being "The Gayest Horror movie", do you keep in touch with your co-stars?
Mark Patton: I am very good friends with Kim Myers who I like and admire as a person..Otherwise no. These were people I worked with and although I am fond of them, I do not really know them anymore. We cross paths at the shows and say hello.
Examiner:What is your favorite part about going to conventions? Are you still doing that, where can fans meet you next?
Mark Patton: My last Horror Convention will be on September 21st in Jacksonville, FLA. I am doing it as a gift to friends Mark and Ashley Davis, the show is called Jacksonville Festival of Fear. They are so young and excited and I want to help them succeed. I love sweet, kind people and they fit the bill....I love the fans and the attention of course but behind the scenes constantly reminds me of why I left show business.....it just seems unbalanced to me..I also do not care for chaging money for these things but tickets must be bought..I have always given most of the money I make [from Conventions] to HIV Charities.
Examiner: How has your husband been supportive in your re-emergence to the Horror Community as a Convention guest? Had he seen your movies before meeting you?
Mark Patton: I try not to speak about [my husband] too much in interviews but he is very supportive of everything that I do. [He] is not a public person so we try to keep him out of the spotlight.
Although he will be out of the convention circuit, Mr Patton will continue to use his influence and his candour to advocate for HIV/AIDS patients and awareness of how the virus is spread. For more information, Mark Patton's facebook page can be found here, where he updates fans regularly on his activities, or follow his website here.