Brooklyn-born Rubell, along with business partner Ian Schrager, opened famed disco Studio 54 in 1977. The club was known for excess and as a place where everyday people could party with the beautiful ones. Just a few of the regulars were Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger, Halston, Calvin Klein, Truman Capote, Diana Ross, Madonna, and Cher. Top music stars of the '70s were also known to take the stage; the Village People, Donna Summer, and Gloria Gaynor all entertained revelers. After Rubell was convicted of tax evasion in 1979, nightclub watchers said the club scene in New York was never the same. Even though he was taking AZT, Rubell died in 1989 of AIDS complications, including hepatitis and septic shock.