Sam Pancake Still “Carries the Scars” of Living Through the AIDS Epidemic

“Go to a party, look around at your five closest friends. Two years later they won’t be there anymore."

If you’ve watched any network television over the past 30 years, then you probably recognize Sam Pancake.

The out actor’s IMDb page is lengthy; he’s had parts in everything from Friends to Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3. He can be currently be seen on ABC’s A Million Little Things, but it’s his appearance on a recent podcast that has him making headlines.

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Pancake was a guest on Crooked Media’s Lovett or Leave It, a comedy podcast hosted by Jon Lovett, which pokes fun at the latest political news. During his appearance, the actor spoke about how he had recently encountered ageism, or “gaygism,” from another gay guy who said he would “rather be dead” than live to be Pancake’s age—which is “over 50.”

“I fought for you, I marched for you… a lot of guys my age, a lot of whom died, made the world okay for you now,” Pancake told the Lovett or Leave It audience, recounting what he wish he would have said at that moment. “In the ’80s, when I was in my teens and early twenties, it was a terrible time to be a gay person, as we all know with AIDS. Men were dying, men had HIV. We lost so many people.”

“Go to a party, look around at your five closest friends,” he continued. “Two years later they won’t be there anymore.”

“Bitch, my friends did die. My uncle died, my boss died, so many acquaintances, people I worked with at Johnny Rockets when I first moved here. The best guy in the world—two weeks later you come back and he’s dead. That’s how life was for us back in the ’80s and early ’90s.”

“I wish this weren’t so messy, but it genuinely is off the top of my heart,” Pancake later tweeted. “Much love to all y’all that also went thru this, & still carry the scars today.”

Watch his emotional rant in the video below.

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