The Legend of Zelda

By Editors

Originally published on August 05 2009 12:00 AM ET

Back in 1984, when the mere mention of aids induced panic, Poltergeist actress Zelda Rubinstein did something truly brave by lending her face to one of the first state-funded safe-sex campaigns directed at gay men. Posters depicting Rubinstein as a caring mom urging her "sons" to play safe were plastered all over Los Angeles's buses and buildings before going national and then international-they were spotted on phone booths as far away as Madrid. "I paid a very big price careerwise," Rubinstein says of the attention, which predated Elizabeth Taylor's and Madonna's AIDS involvement by at least a year. A quarter century after their debut, Rubinstein's posters have found a second life -- no séances required. Physician Irene Adams, an AIDS specialist in Brazil, is bringing Mother's lessons to her nation as part of a new youth outreach initiative. The 76-year-old Rubinstein is ready to help once again: "I would do a fund-raiser for this cause anywhere in the world."