Ron Woodroof

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Ron Woodroof
Woodroof in 1991
Ronald Dickson Woodroof

(1950-02-03)February 3, 1950[1]
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
DiedSeptember 12, 1992(1992-09-12) (aged 42)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.[2]
Mary Etta Pybus
(m. 1969; div. 1972)
Rory S. Flynn
(m. 1972; div. 1973)
Brenda Shari Robin
(m. 1982; div. 1986)

Ronald Dickson Woodroof (February 3, 1950 – September 12, 1992) was an American man who created what would become known as the Dallas Buyer's Club[9] in March 1988, one of several such AIDS buyers clubs that sprang up at the time. After learning he had contracted the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 1985 and being diagnosed with having AIDS, he created the group as part of his efforts to find and distribute drugs to treat AIDS at a time when the disease was poorly understood.[10]

He sued the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over a ban on peptide T, a drug he was using.[11] Woodroof's final years became the basis of the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club.


Woodroof was born in Dallas, Texas, on February 3, 1950,[1] to Garland Odell Woodroof (March 17, 1917, in Texas – December 3, 1983, in Dallas)[12] and Willie Mae Hughes (November 25, 1917, in Oklahoma – November 19, 1996, in Dallas).[2][13][14]

His first marriage was to Mary Etta Pybus on June 28, 1969, in Dallas;[3] they had a daughter, Yvette Lynn Woodroof (born February 1, 1970).[1] They divorced on March 23, 1972.[4] On May 6, 1972, he married a woman named Rory S. Flynn in Dallas.[5] They divorced on May 21, 1973.[6] He then married Brenda Shari Robin on October 4, 1982, in Lubbock.[7] They divorced on March 4, 1986,[8] after he was diagnosed with HIV.

It was recorded that Mr. Woodroof had a mercurial personality. One reporter writes that "Woodroof took guns to his doctor’s office, prompting Dr. Steven Pounders to 'fire him as a patient.'" Woodroof later sent the doctor roses, and the doctor took him back.[15] Woodroof was said to have lost all his friends after they found out he was HIV-positive. The movie Dallas Buyers Club depicts Woodroof as holding homophobic views prior to contracting HIV. In interviews with Craig Borten, who would go on to write the screenplay for Dallas Buyers Club, Woodroof implied that his diagnosis, along with interactions with gay people living with AIDS through the buyers club, led to him changing his views on gay people. Other people who knew Woodroof said that he did not harbor anti-gay beliefs and claimed he was bisexual.[16][17][18]

Dallas Buyer's Club[edit]

After suffering from the side effects of AZT, Ron Woodroof began looking for other drugs he could use to further prolong his life. He acquired nutritional supplements and drugs not approved by the FDA for use in the United States, which he found helpful in ameliorating his symptoms. Woodroof established what he called the Dallas Buyers Club in 1988 as a front for distributing these drugs and other substances to AIDS patients.[19][20][21]

Death and afterward[edit]

Despite initially being given only 30 days to live when learning about his HIV status, Woodroof lived seven more years following his diagnosis before dying on September 12, 1992, from pneumonia brought on by AIDS.[22] He is buried in Restland Memorial Park. Woodroof became the basis of the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club.[23] He was portrayed in the film by Matthew McConaughey, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Woodroof.


  1. ^ a b c Texas, Birth Index, 1903-1995
  2. ^ a b Texas, Death Index, 1964-1998
  3. ^ a b Texas Marriage Certificate Number 067216
  4. ^ a b Texas Divorce File Number 009120
  5. ^ a b Texas Marriage Certificate Number 055738
  6. ^ a b Texas Divorce File Number 020049
  7. ^ a b Texas Marriage Certificate Number 156836
  8. ^ a b Texas Divorce File Number 014037
  9. ^ New Source Dallas Buyers Club. NEW Source, December 1991, periodical, December 1991; Dallas, Texas. ( accessed April 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.
  10. ^ Ron Woodroof Archived 2014-06-23 at the Wayback Machine The website. Retrieved 2014-07-09
  11. ^ "The Dallas Cowboy Behind The Real 'Buyers Club'". NPR. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2014-07-09.
  12. ^ Social Security Death Index Number 445-03-6878
  13. ^ Social Security Death Index Number 465-18-1334
  14. ^ 1940 United States Census: District 255-224, Family Number 207, Sheet Number and Letter 8A
  15. ^ Jacobson, Sherry (1 November 2013). "The real story behind the Dallas Buyers Club movie". Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  16. ^ Wickman, Forrest (January 17, 2014). "Was Dallas Buyers Club's Ron Woodroof gay or bisexual? Friends and doctor say maybe, so why did the movie make him straight?". Slate. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  17. ^ "King of clubs". Dallas Voice. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  18. ^ Staley, Peter (September 30, 2021). "The Controversy Behind the Scenes of Dallas Buyers Club". Vanity Fair. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  19. ^ Harris, Aisha (2013-11-01). "How Accurate Is Dallas Buyers Club?". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  20. ^ "Ron Woodroof". Biography. Archived from the original on 2018-08-09. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  21. ^ "'Dallas Buyers Club': 6 Facts on Ron Woodroof". Biography. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  22. ^ "6 Facts on Ron Woodroof". 29 September 2020.
  23. ^ von Tunzelmann, Alex (12 February 2014). "The Dallas Buyers Club: don't buy this history". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 26 October 2019.

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