Bertugli, David J.

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NAME: David J. Bertugli


File:PGN Article, April 11 - 17, 1997.pdf

He was lovers with Gary Bailey.

[Philadelphia Inquirer Obituary is here.]

OBITUARY: Philadelphia Inquirer,

BY David Lee Preston

David Joseph Bertugli, 48, a former journalist in New York, Rome and Philadelphia, died of AIDS Saturday at his Philadelphia home.

The son of a Greene County judge, Mr. Bertugli was born in Carmichaels in southwestern Pennsylvania. He graduated from high school at 16, and earned a master's degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton at 21.

Beginning in the 1970s, Mr. Bertugli was an editor at Town & Country, Penthouse, Ultra and Attenzione magazines in New York, and editor-in-chief of the Italian Ameircan Daily Express in Rome.

He moved to Philadelphia in 1984, becoming a staff writer for the Jewish Exponnent and Inside Magazine.

In 1993, seven years after he was diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, Mr. Bertugli was selected to appear as an extra in the movie Philadelphia. Directed by Jonathan Demme, the film won an Academy Award for Tom Hanks' portrayal of a Philadelphia lawyer fired because he had AIDS.

"Whatever my emotions were, they were not cathartic," Mr. Bertugli wrote of the experience in a cover story in Philadelphia Magazine in December 1993.

"After all, this is my life they were enacting. This has been my story since 1981, when the disease was being called the Gay Cancer and the first of my friends died of what his doctor called "a rare form of pneumonia."

"I have been through all the scenes portrayed in this movie a hundred time sbefore. And it never stops hurting.... Yet even in the midst of this persistent, gnawing angst, I realize that I am happy that I was a part of this movie, the first big-budget, big-star production about AIDS," he said.

It was Mr. Bertugli's last article, and it did not come easily, Jodie Green, former managing editor of Philadelphia Magazine, recalled yesterrday.

"Although the set was ostensibly closed to reporters, Dve approached Jonathan Demme's people and told them he really wanted to tell the story of what it was to be on the set of a movie about someone with AIDS, as someone who was in fact living with AIDS," said Green, now editorial diretor of Metrocorp Custom Publishing.

"He really had to stand up to them. They weren't too receptive to having an inside story told. But he preailed, as always, once he made up his mind to do something-- and came away with a wonderful story. It was also a really grueling experience, because obviously he wasn't feeling well at the time."

Mr. Bertugli was a volunteer with the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, MANNA (Metropolitan AIDS Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance) and Calcutta House. He was a founder of We the People, and a former board member of ActionAIDS.

He is survived by his partner, Gary K. Bailey; his parents, Emil and Emma, and a brother, Ronald.

Services are pending. Donations may be made to ActionAIDS, 1216 Arch Street, Philadelphia, 19107.

Date of Birth: 1/12/1949

Date of Death: 4/5/1997

Age at Death: 48

Employment: Journalist, editor

Social/Political Groups he attends/attended:

Bars/Clubs he attends/attended:

His friends include: (type your name here, or names of others) Gary K. Bailey (partner)

His family includes: Emil Bertugli, Emma Bertugli, Ronald Bertugli

Testimonials to him (add a space before a new testimonial):