Richard Chamberlain’s advice to gay actors: Stay in the closet

Richard Chamberlain’s advice to gay actors: Stay in the closet
Richard Chamberlain, circa 1962

Out gay actor Richard Chamberlain, who kept his homosexuality a secret for decades while portraying romantic roles on television, said he doesn’t advise other leading-man actors to come out.

In an interview with The Advocate, Chamberlain, who came out in 2003 at the age of 69, said he chose not to talk about being gay for fear of losing his leading man roles.

“There’s still a tremendous amount of homophobia in our culture. It’s regrettable, it’s stupid, it’s heartless, and it’s immoral, but there it is.

“For an actor to be working is a kind of miracle, because most actors aren’t, so it’s just silly for a working actor to say, “Oh, I don’t care if anybody knows I’m gay” — especially if you’re a leading man. Personally, I wouldn’t advise a gay leading man–type actor to come out.

“Despite all the wonderful advances that have been made, it’s still dangerous for an actor to talk about that in our extremely misguided culture … Please, don’t pretend that we’re suddenly all wonderfully, blissfully accepted.”

Chamberlain, now 76, gained fame in the early 1960s as the handsome Dr. Kildare. He appeared in several mini-series, including “Centennial,” “Shogun” and “The Thorn Birds,” and dozens of theatrical and made-for-TV movies.

He is currently playing a gay romantic interest for Saul (Ron Rifkin) on ABC’s “Brother & Sisters.”

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