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Perry Ellis
(March 3, 1940 - May 30, 1986) U.S.A.

Perry Ellis

Fashion designer


Perry was born Perry Edwin Ellis in Portsmouth, Virginia. He got Bachelor of Arts, business, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, 1961; Master of Arts, retailing, New York University, New York City, 1963. He had a child with Barbara Gallagher, Tyler Alexandra.

Perry served in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Vietnam War and at one point was a White House Honor Guard. The love of his life was attorney Laughlin Barker, since 1980, an attorney who became president and legal counsel for Perry Ellis International in 1981.

Barker's health deteriorated seriously in the early 1980s and when he died on January 2, 1986, aged 37, it was said in a whisper that he had suffered from HIV and AIDS although officially only lung cancer was mentioned. "It's been a difficult time for me", said Ellis of Barker's death in 1986: "Laughlin was an extraordinary man, and I loved him. We worked together 24 hours a day, and he brought genius and humor to this business. We were together five years, and there was never an argument or a disagreement."

When fabulously successful fashion designer Perry died of AIDS-related illness, in New York, the cause of his death was officially listed as "viral encephalitis" in order to protect his company's future profits. At the time of his death, Perry Ellis International was doing $750 million per year in sales.


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