Two decades after Pedro Zamora’s death, the impact of the Real World: San Francisco star/AIDS activist still resonates. While many Real World housemates have garnered attention, few (if any) have made an impact like Pedro Zamora. Zamora brought international attention to issues of prejudice and injustice by being the first openly gay man with AIDS to be portrayed in popular media. He died at age 22, just hours after MTV aired the Real World SF finale.
Today, November 11, marks 20 years since the HIV/AIDS activist lost his courageous battle with the disease in 1994. It was that very same year fans were first introduced to the then-22-year-old Cuban-American on “Real World: San Francisco,” coming to know him as a man determined to educate others on life with AIDS and, most importantly, fight against the stigma associated with the disease — a determination “Real World” co-creator and executive producer Jonathan Murray knew would resonate.
It’s not the first time Judd has honored his fallen friend: Just last year, he and Pam chatted with MTV toreflect on their close friendship with Pedro and Sean — and their universal appeal to “Real World” fans:
“I think that people really responded to the fact that Sean and Pedro put their story right out there,” Pam said. “They [were] really honest, and it’s hard to ignore that. I think people connected with them, not just living with HIV, but who they were as people.”