• Immunologist and director of NIAID Dr. Anthony Fauci, reportedly inspired one of the lead characters in Sally Quinn's 1991 romance novel, "Happy Endings"
  • Quinn told CNN that she was looking for a perfect embodiment of her character which she found during her first encounter with Fauci
  • The romance novelist drew inspiration from Fauci saying that she found him "wonderful" and "interesting"

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a central figure of the White House coronavirus task force, apparently inspired the heroic character in the 1991 bestselling romance, “Happy Endings.”

The immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) became the subject of inspiration for Sally Quinn’s romantic novel. Quinn, 78, revealed to CNN on Monday (May 11) that she was looking for the perfect fit for her Casanova character in her 1991 novel “Happy Endings,” which was the sequel to 1986’s “Regrets Only.”

Quinn’s book's plot revolves around a doctor based in Washington D.C., who romances the former first lady and eventually develops a love affair together. The novelist shared that Fauci was the inspiration of her book’s fictional character following her first encounter with the physician.

"I had not met him before. I knew who he was, because he was the famous AIDS doctor," Quinn told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day."

Anthony Fauci, the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has emerged as a new national hero during the coronavirus crisis
Anthony Fauci, the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has emerged as a new national hero during the coronavirus crisis AFP / JIM WATSON

Fauci’s profession then became the source of the novelist’s fictional doctor, Michael Lanzer, a National Institutes of Health scientist developing a cure for AIDS. In her book, Lanzer then falls for the protagonist, the fictitious former first lady, Sadie Grey.

"[The protagonist in the book] had been married to the president, who was a jerk, and she wasn't really in love with him, and he was totally in love and involved with himself," Quinn explained. "And here was Tony Fauci, who even though he was famous and, you know, well-respected and all that, didn't care about fame or money or power. He just was in it to do good, and that's very rare in Washington, by the way."

The 78-year-old author and journalist also compared Fauci and her fictional character Dr. Michael Lanzer. Quinn related what Sadie Grey saw in Lanzer to how people currently look up to Fauci and his White House involvement in the ongoing coronavirus battle.

"There's a petition now for him to be named sexiest man alive,” Quinn gushed. “He's become this great sex symbol, and it was kind of like who knew? I just wrote it the way I saw it, and suddenly here 30 years later, it's all coming true, except that he's not having an affair with the first lady."

Meanwhile, with regards to her meeting with Fauci, Quinn and the physician immediately got along well and shared a worthwhile time of conversing and fellowship. "We just sort of immediately got into a very intense conversation, and I just found him riveting, and unbelievably attractive, and charismatic. I thought he was brilliant,” she said.

During her timely chat with Fauci, the author, being drawn to the immunologist, also emphasized that “he had an incredible mind” as well as a “wonderful, sort of witty sense of humor.”

"He was one of those guys who was interested as well as interesting," Quinn remarked. "I mean, he was asking me questions. ... I just thought, 'wow, this guy' — I just thought he was really sexy. He just oozed decency and integrity. He was kind and caring and all of those things."

Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci is pictured. AFP / MANDEL NGAN