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Dr. Anthony Fauci was the inspiration behind a sexy scientist in a bestselling 1991 steamy novel

Dr. Fauci's earnest brilliance inspired author Sally Quinn to pen a steamy novel featuring a dashing NIH scientist.

Dr. Anthony Fauci was the inspiration behind a sexy scientist in a bestselling 1991 steamy novel
Image Source: Dr. Anthony Fauci attends the daily coronavirus task force briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 08, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Long before Dr. Anthony Fauci became the internet's new boyfriend, author Sally Quinn saw in him all the makings of a fictional erotic hero whose hypnotic voice could melt any heart. Therefore, when she published Happy Endings in 1991, it featured a dashing NIH scientist by the name of Michael Lanzer who'd recently discovered a therapy for AIDS. In the 500-plus pages of the bestselling novel lay a steamy fanfiction of sorts dedicated to Fauci, who at the time was best known for combatting the spread of HIV as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Speaking to The Washingtonian recently, Quinn revealed that she'd first met Dr. Fauci at a Washington function where they were paired together as dinner partners. She was immediately struck by the soft-spoken Fauci who with his enormous glasses and tie askew gave off the impression of earnest brilliance which she believed would work perfectly for a pivotal character in her upcoming novel. "I just fell in love with him," she recalled of the time she first met him. "Usually those dinners, you make polite conversation, and that’s it. But we had this intense conversation, personal conversation. I thought, 'Wow, this guy is amazing.'"


Lucky for Quinn, she happened to be working on a sequel to her previous novel Regrets Only at the time and was on the lookout for inspiration for the romantic opposite for one of her main characters, Sadie Grey, the former First Lady. Dr. Fauci struck a chord with the author as having all the traits her main character would find attractive in a prospective love interest.


"What kind of person would she be in love with? It would not be somebody from a great family or with a lot of money. But it would be somebody who was really brilliant, and compassionate, and kind, and decent, and honest. All of those things—and sexy," said the author.


"He just exuded charisma," the author added. "All the things that she would have fallen in love with." Sadie Grey does indeed fall for Michael Lanzer; his "low, melodious, sexy, almost hypnotic" voice in particular. The pair start a long-simmering romance—one involving a lot of naked fictional Fauci FYI. Although written way back then, the novel captures in Lanzer all the classic traits of the director of the NIH which the internet has come to love and drool over. "He was so different from most Washington people because he’s so self-effacing. He’s not in it for the glory or the name recognition," Quinne recalled.


She chose to have her protagonist "fall in love with this doctor who does this amazing work, and doesn’t get a lot of publicity." The novel also features a little bit of nerdy flirting by Lanzer. "You are like a tumor in my brain which is getting larger and larger each day," he says to his romantic interest in the book and we can almost hear those words in Dr. Fauci's real voice. And apparently, the 79-year-old has known of his fictional representation in the novel for a very long time now. "He just thought it was funny," Quinn revealed laughing, "I think he was a little embarrassed."



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