Gay actors - an open and shut closet

Mar 11, 2010 | Posted by: Rick in Kansas | Full story: www.independent.co.uk

Many actors have recently and successfully played gay characters. So why, asks James Mottram, are there so few openly gay stars?

Right now, if you're a straight actor in Hollywood, it's great to be gay.

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1 - 20 of 52 Comments Last updated Mar 29, 2010
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Since: Mar 09

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#1
Mar 12, 2010
 

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Because unless you've already made it to star status (and sometimes even then) being an openly gay actor reduces your marketability. Even some of the biggest gay stars go to great lengths, even aquiring "beard" spouses and kids to maintain their pan-sex appeal. Face it. Desireability is a major factor in "star power", sometimes outweighing any acting chops. This is more true in TV, where an actor is to a certain extent "a face" that the advertisers who purchase time on the show are trading upon.

For example, Brad Pitt isn't just an actor. He can best be understood as "Brad Pitt Inc." which has a hand in multiple millions of dollars of trade; not just for his agent, publicist and other staff, but for many other businesses as well. Investors, Fan Publishing, Product Marketing, Event Production, News Media, etc. all participate in the capital attraction/creation potentials of the "Brad Pitt Inc." juggernaut.

Since: Dec 07

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#2
Mar 12, 2010
 
Snyper got it exactly right.

The only thing I might add is, look at the demographic target of these movies, i.e. the 18-35 year old heterosexual males who ultimately decide which movies are seen and, by extension, produced.

In their eyes, Angelina Jolie is a Laura Croft sexual fantasy doll. Jennifer Aniston? Not so much. Dumping Jen for Angie was up-marketing the Brad brand in guys' eyes.
Curteese

Long Beach, CA

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#3
Mar 12, 2010
 
Maybe in Rock Hudson's day it was advantagous to not come out. I am old enough to recall there were always whispers about him anyway, also, everyone knew about Troy Donahue and oh, I forget his name, Dr. Kildare.
Look at Neil Patrick Harris. Out as a man can get, he jokes about it in public constantly. Yet, he is on a succesful show, playing a womanizer. You GO, Neil.
Hey, folks, it is called ACTING! You know, pretending to be another person. In "Silverado", a woman played a man's part and no one dropped dead. In fact she was very good at it.
Frank Stanton

Saratoga Springs, NY

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#4
Mar 12, 2010
 
Curteese wrote:
Maybe in Rock Hudson's day it was advantagous to not come out. I am old enough to recall there were always whispers about him anyway, also, everyone knew about Troy Donahue and oh, I forget his name, Dr. Kildare.
Look at Neil Patrick Harris. Out as a man can get, he jokes about it in public constantly. Yet, he is on a succesful show, playing a womanizer. You GO, Neil.
Hey, folks, it is called ACTING! You know, pretending to be another person. In "Silverado", a woman played a man's part and no one dropped dead. In fact she was very good at it.
If you are referring to Linda Hunt, she played a woman in "Silverado". She played a man named Billy Kwan in "The Year Of Living Dangerously starring Sigourney Weaver. Linda Hunt is the only actress who has won an Academy Award for playing a man in a drama.
Curteese

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#5
Mar 12, 2010
 
Frank Stanton wrote:
<quoted text>
If you are referring to Linda Hunt, she played a woman in "Silverado". She played a man named Billy Kwan in "The Year Of Living Dangerously starring Sigourney Weaver. Linda Hunt is the only actress who has won an Academy Award for playing a man in a drama.
Thank you, I went completely blank on her name. And, you are correct. I believe she was the madame in "Silverado", hardly a male role. It was the early 80's and I did it right, or wrong, depending on your viewpoint, and some spots are hazy. "Just say yes."

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#6
Mar 12, 2010
 
Curteese wrote:
Maybe in Rock Hudson's day it was advantagous to not come out. I am old enough to recall there were always whispers about him anyway, also, everyone knew about Troy Donahue and oh, I forget his name, Dr. Kildare.
Look at Neil Patrick Harris. Out as a man can get, he jokes about it in public constantly. Yet, he is on a succesful show, playing a womanizer. You GO, Neil.
Hey, folks, it is called ACTING! You know, pretending to be another person. In "Silverado", a woman played a man's part and no one dropped dead. In fact she was very good at it.
So how long did he star as America's favorite boy Doctor on "Doogie"?
Curteese

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#7
Mar 12, 2010
 
snyper wrote:
<quoted text>
So how long did he star as America's favorite boy Doctor on "Doogie"?
I don't know. I thought the show sort of stupid. Possibly 3 or 4 seasons. I could look it up, but am way too lazy. I recall it was WILDLY popular, however. I was busy gearing up for my "Dynasty" parties.

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#8
Mar 12, 2010
 
Mr. Harris's career commenced in 1988 opposite Whoopi Goldberg in "Clara's Heart".

He came out in 2006.

Between those two events he worked in over 70 productions for film and TV.

I'd say he was well established by the time he came out.
Frank Stanton

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#9
Mar 12, 2010
 
Curteese wrote:
<quoted text>Thank you, I went completely blank on her name. And, you are correct. I believe she was the madame in "Silverado", hardly a male role. It was the early 80's and I did it right, or wrong, depending on your viewpoint, and some spots are hazy. "Just say yes."
She's also a dwarf and a lesbian.

“Married as I can be!”

Since: Jun 07

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#10
Mar 12, 2010
 
Curteese wrote:
<quoted text>I don't know. I thought the show sort of stupid. Possibly 3 or 4 seasons. I could look it up, but am way too lazy. I recall it was WILDLY popular, however. I was busy gearing up for my "Dynasty" parties.
Was that the show that Willie Aames was on? I went to school with Willie (Aames is his stage name). Nice kid, mixed up, as most child actors of the time were. Not gay at all, as far as I could tell.

Patrick Neal Harris is a fine performer. Probably the only openly gay actor in America who plays a straight role.

“Married as I can be!”

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#11
Mar 12, 2010
 
Frank Stanton wrote:
<quoted text>
She's also a dwarf and a lesbian.
Is Linda Hunt actually a dwarf, or just a very short woman?
Stan Franton

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#12
Mar 12, 2010
 
ltndncr59 wrote:
<quoted text>
Is Linda Hunt actually a dwarf, or just a very short woman?
I've read that she's a dwarf. But you can't believe everything you read.

“ reality, what a concept”

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#13
Mar 12, 2010
 
ltndncr59 wrote:
Is Linda Hunt actually a dwarf, or just a very short woman?
I looked it up, she has the hyper-pituitary form of dwarfism which leaves a person with normal proportions, but a short stature. She's 4'9" which would mean that she's actually tall for someone who has dwarfism...

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#14
Mar 12, 2010
 
Rick in Kansas wrote:
<quoted text>I looked it up, she has the hyper-pituitary form of dwarfism which leaves a person with normal proportions, but a short stature. She's 4'9" which would mean that she's actually tall for someone who has dwarfism...
Thanks. I was too lazy to check it out.

“ reality, what a concept”

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#15
Mar 12, 2010
 
ltndncr59 wrote:
<quoted text>
Thanks. I was too lazy to check it out.
You're welcome. I saw your question and it made me curious.
The Virgin Queen

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#16
Mar 13, 2010
 

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Curteese wrote:
Maybe in Rock Hudson's day it was advantagous to not come out. I am old enough to recall there were always whispers about him anyway, also, everyone knew about Troy Donahue and oh, I forget his name, Dr. Kildare.
Look at Neil Patrick Harris. Out as a man can get, he jokes about it in public constantly. Yet, he is on a succesful show, playing a womanizer. You GO, Neil.
Hey, folks, it is called ACTING! You know, pretending to be another person. In "Silverado", a woman played a man's part and no one dropped dead. In fact she was very good at it.
Neil Patrick Harris is a joke. Not only is he not particularly attractive for someone who is supposed to play a "stud", he is also not particularly straight-acting. No wonder he plays on a comedy. No one seriously looks at him and thinks "hot straight stud".

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#17
Mar 13, 2010
 
Linda Hunt is a master-class actor. Pity she isn't given better scripts. She also has a unique and expressive voice. I'm surprised that she doesn't get more voice-over work.
Curteese

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#18
Mar 13, 2010
 
The Virgin Queen wrote:
<quoted text>
Neil Patrick Harris is a joke. Not only is he not particularly attractive for someone who is supposed to play a "stud", he is also not particularly straight-acting. No wonder he plays on a comedy. No one seriously looks at him and thinks "hot straight stud".
So what? He is very successful and is not the least bit concerned about his true life. He seems very grounded to me. At the Tonys and Emmies, he openly jokes about his life and everyone loves him and I have read he is a favorite. Uh, ACTOR? Playing another person? Hello? Rupert Evert has played straight and no one worried about that. In other days men played women's roles. ACTING: verb, playing a charcter.

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#19
Mar 13, 2010
 
Many years ago, I went to see a play, Five Finger Exercise, at the Walnut Theatre in Philadelphia.

There were two gay actors in it who would later become somewhat famous.

The first was John Glover (Smallville, Love! Valor! Compassion!). He actually lived in the same neighborhood and I would see him on the street occasionally.

Another actor in the play was noticed by the guy I was with, "Who was that obnoxious little girl?" That wasn't a little girl, I explained. That was a small grown woman playing am obnoxious little girl.

Yep. It was Linda Hunt. I didn't see her again until six years later, when she won an Oscar for The Year of Living Dangerously --- playing a Eurasian male.

Plus I thought she brought a certain je ne sais qua credibility to the role of Alice B. Toklas in Waiting for the Moon.

Go Linda!
Frank Stanton

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#20
Mar 13, 2010
 
SFer wrote:
Many years ago, I went to see a play, Five Finger Exercise, at the Walnut Theatre in Philadelphia.
There were two gay actors in it who would later become somewhat famous.
The first was John Glover (Smallville, Love! Valor! Compassion!). He actually lived in the same neighborhood and I would see him on the street occasionally.
Another actor in the play was noticed by the guy I was with, "Who was that obnoxious little girl?" That wasn't a little girl, I explained. That was a small grown woman playing am obnoxious little girl.
Yep. It was Linda Hunt. I didn't see her again until six years later, when she won an Oscar for The Year of Living Dangerously --- playing a Eurasian male.
Plus I thought she brought a certain je ne sais qua credibility to the role of Alice B. Toklas in Waiting for the Moon.
Go Linda!
I've always liked John Glover. The first time I remember seeing him was in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall".

LOL

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