David Joseph has lived many lives as an entrepreneur in entertainment. He was a successful radio station manager, then a television producer in Australia in the 1960s, and eventually worked in artist management in London with such legendary performers as Manfred Mann, David Bowie and The New Seekers. In the early 80’s, he moved his family to Los Angeles where he produced films like The Pirate Movie and Disney’s Flight of the Navigator.
In 1993, after twenty years of marriage, David came out to his wife and four children as a gay man. During this difficult time, David learned that he was living with AIDS. He continued to work to support his family, but had no health insurance and paid for his medications and treatment out-of-pocket. By 1997, he had run out of money and the side effects of his medications made him too sick to work. With all of his furniture in storage, David found himself sleeping on his son’s couch with no home of his own.
A friend told David about The Actors Fund. David’s counselor told him he qualified for The Fund’s Palm View residence in West Hollywood. Opened in 1998, The Palm View is a 40-unit apartment complex that provides homes to low-income people with HIV/AIDS. David moved his possessions out of storage and into his new home in December of that year.
The Actors Fund provided him with a stable home as well as the support he needed to get well. “It’s been a long, slow process, but basically, I can look back on it and say that, along with the support of my family and friends, The Actors Fund helped rebuild my life.” Thanks to continued counseling and support from The Fund, David is now thriving. He practices yoga regularly, and with guidance from The Actors Fund Work Program, he began working part-time last year – first for a local theatre company and more recently assisting a friend in artist management.
David’s enthusiasm for his new life is evident. “Bit by bit, The Actors Fund was there to give me the foundation for what I needed. I feel whole now. I'm nearly 72, but I sort of feel like I'm back to where I used to be.” He credits the empathy and support of The Fund’s staff with helping him survive a difficult period in his life. “The Actors Fund has the experience and has developed the right way of helping people. It’s like they understand when somebody in the business falls on hard times. They understand what they need and how to help them.”
“My attitude was that I had a great first act, a lousy second act, and I was determined that I was going to have an incredible third act. So I needed help to achieve that.” In September, David’s part-time work will bring him back to Australia, where he looks forward to visiting his grandchildren.
“Frankly, I don’t know where I would have turned. I probably wouldn’t have survived. I give The Actors Fund credit for saving my life.”
Donate today to assure The Actors Fund’s HIV/AIDS Initiative, The Actors Fund Work Program and The Palm View will continue to help people like David.
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