Let me say this and be clear. I love watching television. I like watching in my bedroom, my office, my car, or while camping. I have incredible systems set up at my homes and in my motorhome. Surround sound, the best flat screen systems money will buy, I have it. It is something I enjoy, and I really look forward to shows that I like. (In the last year, I have worked for some of the biggest producers that ever existed in TV land!) Over the last several years, I got into the world of Netflix. I love the shows and the series that are attached to them. And it happens that it was this week I pretty much passed on a Netflix project that I was offered to participate in, in reference to one of my cases. It was the right thing to do.
This week I got addicted, if you will, to a series called POSE. It is a vivid exploration of the gay scene in New York in the 70s and 80s. Several times I found myself wiping tears from my face as the show brought back my memories of AIDS. All the funerals, and the comments by key cast members of the show, spoke of how tired they were of going to funerals. Especially moving for me was the depiction of young men with KS, aka Kaposi Sarcoma. One of my boyfriends from the 70s would be stricken with this horrific and disfiguring disease. The suffering I watched David go through from KS was worse than death. He was a great-looking Latino who always took care of himself, and those dam lesions would show up and destroy him every few days. David worked in the beauty business, and the KS was attacking his hands and his face. More later.
David Eloyd Morelion (7.21.56 to 6.5.96) and I met when he was in his late teens and me in my early 20s. We had a tumultuous relationship, to say the least. We met at the old Paradise Ballroom on Highland Avenue; it was owned by Ed Nash. I would park my 1966 Corvette Convertible right in front, and boy, it was a real attraction back in those days. (Ed and I would meet years later again; he, a felon and me, a cop; cannot make this stuff up) Hal Glickman gave me a job as a doorman/bouncer at The Paradise. It was a great job at one of the hottest nightclubs in the country at the time. However, David and I stayed in contact through all the years and all the relationships we both had. Sure, we were tight through the years right up to the end. I would help carry Davids body out of his home in West Toluca Lake upon his death in 1996.
Another flashback to those days of Eddie Nash and Hal Glickman was the way Hal walked. Hal walked a little like an ape, hunched forward from the waist, often holding receipts or purses with cash and coin in them. I would learn later he had bad knees or that enormous gold bracelet he wore was weighing him down. Eddie Nash had a big fat (350 to 400 lb.) black kid that always smelled like sweat and Hai Karate. This pig fucker was Eddies driver and bodyguard. I assumed that if Greg could catch you, he would sit on you and suffocate you, or you would inhale so much stink your lungs would explode. (Eddies car was a 1973 silver Lincoln Mach IV with a red interior. (note find pic of Gregory Dewitt Diles)
David always wanted to have his own home and did, in fact, buy one a short time before his death. He died in his own home, surrounded by his Min Pins (note: miniature pincher dogs) and his partner of several years. David was a very good-looking guy and got AIDS from someone he and I both knew. As strange as it sounds, our lives were always connected from the first night we met at the Paradise Ballroom. David was an incredibly talented cosmetologist and worked at a few places in and around Toluca Lake. He fit right in! All those older rich ladies loved him, as did several studio executives that he took care of. At one point during the AIDS process, he would get KS, and it was devastating as he was so damn good looking, and it was disfiguring, especially to his hands. David continued to work and support himself, and his clients loved him, as did his employers at Cinema Secrets. David now has a view of the Burbank area of California. He was interred at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, not far from the North Church. I cried like a baby that day. I was inconsolable. I knew it was coming, one of the worst days of my life, worst days of my life, and there would be many, many more.
Someone I would become very familiar with years later would hire David to do her hair and makeup. Anna Nicole Smith! It was at Davids worst times as he was sick from chemo and was just feeling terrible. Anna Nicole Smith took notice of Davids condition and was really nice to him. Anna acted like she did not notice Davids hands; they were terribly scarred by the KS lesions. David called me after he was finished and told me she gave him a $100.00 tip, and she gave him a big hug; he talked about that for a very long time. Note: Blond Ambition was a book written about Anna Nicole Smith, and I occupy almost a chapter in that book…the lady who was so compassionate to my former boyfriend, I would be in a book about her life, the lady who was nice to one of my dying boyfriends. Right? How, I ask myself, did I ever manage all these coincidences?
Rene Cota (1.29.58 to 5.6.91) was another love of my life. I can remember the night I met him at the Circus Circus Disco in Hollywood, California. This club, over time, would morph into The Arena, a huge gay club. It was in the 70s, and again, Rene, an absolutely gorgeous young man, would also be taken from me by AIDS. I can close my eyes and see Rene standing there. Tall, slim, gorgeous shoulder-length hair that moved as he did, and could he move. He and I would ride around San Francisco years later when I became a cop in S.F. We both loved The Rawhide on Folsom Street. It was a gay western-themed club, and the music and the two-stepping were the best. Both of us would get a little buzzed on beer and shots and ride out to the beach and hang out. I had a BMW K100rs motorcycle, and we would race to the beach off the Great Highway. (likely why to this day I am not fond of sand, especially in the area of my crotch!) Upon my return to Los Angeles, I tried to find Rene and called on his last known address and was told by a relative that he had died of AIDS…how can I be so fortunate and blessed on so many levels, and at the same time be so cursed to have lost all my best loves to this disease called AIDS. Not one, not two, but all my greatest relationships were taken by this plague, AIDS. Funny, you never really know what you have till you lose it. I miss David, Rene, and Mario to this very day.
I can still remember saying to my coworkers back in those days, Hey, see you next week, only to find that they had died from AIDS over the weekend. So many wonderful people, most very young, all very precious, taken by a disease that had no cure. The victims of this curse did nothing but love and be loved. I had one friend of mine, also named David, who was a deputy whose wealthy partner died of AIDS. Left him a bunch of money; he, too, was very sick. David, the flamboyant queen. He had booked passage on the Orient Express and died while on that trip. Only a real queen could pull that off and make an exit like that! God Bless him.
Another true love was Mario Lopez, another absolutely great-looking young man, 16 or 17. Mario and I met up at the top of Griffith Park. It was love at first sight, and, to some degree, that too never ended. On Sundays, everyone in our group would gather on one of the parking areas up towards the top of Griffith Park. That, of course, is when it was open to the public, and it had a similar vibe like the discos on Friday and Saturday nights, and the booze flowed like water! And the music…Donna Summers, The Bee Gees, it was all on. I can close my eyes and hear the laughing and the music of the 70s! This was an incredible time in the history of Disco, as well as in my life and those that I loved.
Mario and I would spend a year dating as boyfriends and then separate. When I left CDC and got hired as a deputy sheriff, we both moved to San Francisco together. Things would change, and Mario would return to Los Angeles and move in with a new guy. As it would happen, he would be diagnosed with AIDS. I made several trips down to Los Angeles to visit with him and do what I could do to help. I recall visiting him in the hospital and watching what this disease could do. Mario was at times using a wheelchair. This beautiful, vibrant young man, in a wheelchair.
Marios AIDS had affected his brain, and the pain he was in was uncontrollable at times. Why was this happening to me? I can still see him rising up out of bed, in pain to the point that morphine was useless. The pain and the terrors he suffered were horrible, and he did not deserve such a death. Mario would be cremated (DOD: January 20, 1992), and his ashes spread in the ocean by his partner, Ted, at the time of his death. I was present, and the pain never fully moves on.
My 69th birthday just passed, and all my biological relatives are dead; everyone is gone. It is difficult for me at times to sit and realize that I almost had no one. Most of the relationships I had, as I have described, all were victims of the AIDS epidemic. Always thinking of the future and out of the box, adopting my two sons was a brilliant idea. It really was. Of course, as a gay man, it seemed to some as unusual. How you ask. I adopted my kids on my own before it was made to look so easy by Hollywood.
I have my family to lean on; two successful sons, their wives, and six grandkids. Life is good in Montana, and I commute to Los Angeles and Washington as needed. Getting old is not for amateurs, and I have had my ups and downs, for sure, but what they say about family is true. Sure, it is not easy dealing with me at times. I tell them it is all genetic. Some say I did a good thing in adopting my two sonsnow they do a good thing daily, being my two sons.
By John Nazarian
Straight Talk with John J. Nazarian, Private Investigator
July 13, 2021
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