Eduardo Bar, talented, handsome, charming, buoyant and courageously ready to catch the next wave is an Argentinian actor who made his way to Los Angeles at the age of twenty-six after having found success on stage in Buenos Aires. Although he did not have family or friends in Los Angeles to help him with a leg up in the business, he he found parts as a background actor (you may have seen him in Pleasantville) and was on the way. It was a touch of vanity, deciding to get hair restoration that probably saved his life. The blood-work he needed for a process that involved cutting showed he was HIV positive. He says that in his heart he knew he was but told himself it was not going to affect him, so when the doctor offered to cancel the hair restoration, Eduardo said, “No. No. No. I came for hair, and I am leaving with hair.”
Eduardo felt great, was posing for magazines, ready for any casting that may come his way, and felt no need to see a doctor. Until the day he came down with what he thought was the flu. Antibiotics did not help. The headache was insufferable, and he could not keep so much as a drop of water down. It was meningitis from his lowered his immune system and resistance so that his brain, spine and lungs were affected. Despite medical opinion that he was dying, he never thought so. Eduardo’s vision was increasingly blurry from medication and pressure on his brain, but even when he lost his vision, he never panicked.
With the service of one woman who came to him daily for help with basic needs and one friend at his side, Eduardo survived although forty pounds lighter from three months in the hospital and barely able to walk. Not daunted even by the frequent vomiting from medication, he got into the wheelchair, plastic bowl in hand and ran full force back to life, first stop an outing at Universal Studios. He says it would have been easier to stay home, and adds, “That is not me at all.”
It was a referral to the Media Access Center and acting classes for disabled actors that gave Eduardo a fresh look at possibilities. He says, “Actors, whatever the particular disability, we are all in the same boat. It opened my eyes to other disabilities and the hassles people need to go through.” He recalls an audition as an extra for the role of a blind man at which he was told he did not look blind and should get a white cane. He got the white cane, got instruction in how to use it, added a pair of dark glasses and returned to the audition asking, “Now do I look blind enough?”
Eduardo is on HIV medications, is extremely fit, and eighteen years later, although still legally blind, he can see shadows. He does not see himself as disabled and is still that talented, handsome, charming, buoyant actor, courageously ready to catch the next wave of his life. It is a complicated life story best heard in Eduardo’s voice filled with strength, wit and inexhaustible joy. “Life” says Eduardo, “has no limitations. Life is what you make out of it.”
His love letter? Probably to Jonathan the one friend who stuck by his side even when he was at his lowest and it seemed there was no way to please him. There is, happily, no statue of limitations on gratitude.