FLASHBACK: Former 'Dynasty' Actor Paul Keenan Suffering From AIDS (1986)

AIDS patient Paul Keenan is assisted by volunteer Lorna Kelly at St.
Clare's Hospital
Former Dynasty Actor Paul Keenan Suffering From AIDS

Associated Press
July 12, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Although the admission he has AIDS probably means he won't work in Hollywood again, former Dynasty actor Paul Francis Keenan says his first priority is fighting the deadly disease.

"I believe my focus is to be healed from this disease and to live; whatever else happens after that, happens," said Keenan, who is speaking out to help victims of AIDS, which also afflicted fellow Dynasty actor Rock Hudson, who died Oct. 2.

Keenan, 30, learned he had acquired immune deficiency syndrome about seven weeks ago.

"When you have AIDS, you really have to face the fact that this could be a fatal disease," he said in an interview from New York, where he was recently admitted to St. Clare's Hospital and Health Centre. "You're dealing with things that are more important than the narcissistic Hollywood type of life."

Keenan, who appeared as stable hand Tony Driscoll in five episodes of Dynasty in 1982 and eight in 1984, is speaking out about the disease and the need to help victims.

In the days before Hudson died at age 59 from complications of AIDS, his spokesmen disclosed he had the disease. Keenan goes beyond that, acknowledging he contracted AIDS through sexual contact with another man.

"I don't believe AIDS is something to be ashamed of, something that I should have to keep a secret," Keenan said. "I am very proud of who I am, very proud of the things I'm trying to do."

Although Keenan is the second member of the Dynasty cast to be afflicted with AIDS, a spokesman for the show said it is only a coincidence.

Keenan said there is no chance he contracted AIDS from Hudson, who was 59 when he died Oct. 2. He said Hudson was only a friend and they never worked together.

The show's spokesperson said other actors on the ABC-TV nighttime soap opera are taking the news in stride.

"While there might be panic in some quarters, there's no panic on Dynasty," said Rachel McCallister of Lippin and Grant, Inc.

She said Keenan's disclosure probably ends his chances for work in Hollywood, but added that the reluctance to hire people with the fatal disease "is pretty much not just in Hollywood. It's everywhere, at least that's what I read."

Keenan concealed his homosexuality while working in image-obsessed Hollywood.

"When I was 18, I came out of the closet," he said. "My family knew. Everyone who was a peer knew. When I was acting and my career started to take off, it was suggested to me that I go into a closet I had never known. When I left Los Angeles one and a half years ago, I decided I wouldn't do that anymore."

The last acting job for Keenan, who once portrayed Todd Chandler on the daytime TV soap opera Days of our Lives, was as the male romantic lead in the 1984 CBS-TV movie Summer Fantasy opposite Julianne Phillips, who later married rock superstar Bruce Springsteen.

Keenan, who is taking an experimental anti-AIDS drug, wants to use his illness to call attention to the disease.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Paul Keenan died on December 11, 1986 at age 31. Here's a photo of Keenan with the cast of Days of our Lives in 1980.

- World AIDS Day: Remembering Those We Lost
- FLASHBACK: Deidre Hall's Red Ribbon Controversy 1993
FLASHBACK: An AIDS Nursing Home Finds It Is No Longer the Last Stop (Joseph Breen 1997)


  1. God Bless You, Paul. I Had A Major Big-Time Crush On You When Watching You On Both DOOL & DYNASTY--Sigh!

    Brian :-)

  2. It took so much courage to admit you had the disease back then. To go even further and tell the world you got it from another man was an act of great bravery. Thinking of Paul today.