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The Times-Picayune (13/Sep/1992) - Anthony Perkins dies of AIDS



Anthony Perkins dies of AIDS

Anthony Perkins, who played the murderous motel keeper Norman Bates in the classic thriller "Psycho," died Saturday of AIDS complications. He was 60.

Perkins died in the bedroom of his Hollywood home with his wife and sons at his side, his publicist, Leslee Dart, said.

Earlier this week, Perkins put together a statement about his condition, Dart said.

"I chose not to go public about this because, to misquote `Casablanca,' `I'm not much at being noble but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of one old actor don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world,' " he said.

"There are many who believe that this disease is God's vengeance, but I believe it was sent to teach people how to love and understand and have compassion for each other. I have learned more about love, selflessness and human understanding from the people I have met in this great adventure in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cutthroat, competitive world in which I spent my life."

Perkins, the son of stage and film actor Osgood Perkins, gained fame playing awkward, often neurotic young men. Later, his name became synonymous with horror films.

He broke into movies in 1953, appearing in "The Actress" with Spencer Tracy, Teresa Wright and Jean Simmons. He went on to make "Friendly Persuasion" in 1956 with Gary Cooper, which earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor, and he co-starred with Gregory Peck and Fred Astaire in the acclaimed 1959 anti-war film, "On the Beach."

But it was "Psycho," director Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1960 horror film, that made Perkins, and his character Norman Bates, film legends. The movie proved so popular that Perkins starred in three sequels, but none received the acclaim of the first.

"Norman appears on request," Perkins said in a 1989 interview. "I would even say on demand. I can dial my own personal 800 number and Norman will reply."

Perkins played the owner of an isolated motel where vicious murders take place, including the stabbing of a character played by Janet Leigh. That murder scene, shot in a shower with quick flashes from many angles, is among the most famous in film history.

Among his other films, Perkins appeared in "Winter Kills" (1979), a black comedy about the younger half-brother of a slain U.S. president who goes into politics to find out the truth behind the murder and discovers a labyrinthine, long-hidden plot.

He also played a basketball player in the movie "Tall Story," which starred Jane Fonda as a cheerleader.

Perkins is survived by his wife, Berry Berenson Perkins; sons, Osgood Perkins, 18, and Elvis Perkins, 16. Funeral services were pending.