Sacha Baron Cohen, the brains behind Borat and Bruno is confirmed to play the late rock star Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic, according to Deadline.com. Mercury and his band Queen broke down barriers in life, and in death achieved great good. His story is tragic, beautiful and compelling.
Born Farrokh Bulsara, in Zanzibar to Parsi (Indian Zoroastrian) parents and raised in Mumbai, Freddie Mercury was a self-taught singer with a five octave range. Queen, the band Mercury co-founded, scored the first single over 4 minutes to get played on AM radio, “Bohemian Rhapsody;” the promotional film for the song is considered the first rock video. To date Queen has sold over 300 million albums worldwide, and is considered one of the greatest rock acts of all time.
Mercury was the first British rock star of Asian decent and the first major rock star to die of AIDS. Though he did not deny his bisexuality, Mercury did deny having HIV/AIDS, which he is believed to have contracted in 1987.
Less than 24 hours before his death in 1991, Mercury issued a statement confirming what had long been rumored:
Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS. I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors, and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease. My privacy has always been very special to me and I am famous for my lack of interviews. Please understand this policy will continue.
Mercury spent the last six years of his life in a relationship with hair dresser Jim Hutton, who died in January of this year. The surviving members of Queen and the band’s manager, Jim Beach, along with Mercury’s former lover/lifetime friend Mary Austin founded the Mercury Phoenix Trust which has raised $15 million in the fight against AIDS and made over 750 grants to charities worldwide. Mercury Phoenix Trust began with 1992′s Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness, which was seen by an estimated 1 billion people.
My first rock concert was Queen in concert in 1976, with Thin Lizzy opening–totally mind blowing!