Do as I say, not as I do. That sums up the advice that openly gay screen legend Richard Chamberlain has for Hollywood's closeted actors.
"Personally, I wouldn’t advise a gay leading man–type actor to come out," the 76-year-old star, who revealed his homosexuality in his 2003 memoir, tells the Advocate. "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."
Chamberlain, who currently stars as Uncle Saul's love interest on the ABC drama "Brothers & Sisters," says that most actors are lucky to even land a job, "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."
"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," he explains. "Look at what happened in California with Proposition 8. Please, don’t pretend that we’re suddenly all wonderfully, blissfully accepted."
What do you think of Chamberlain's take on homosexuality in Hollywood? Let us know in a comment below.
I agree with Julie. Come out and Be Proud. Hollywood should have a non-discrimination policy. Being in the closet hurts everyone!
Change can only happen when gays and lesbians come out of the closet!!! If more actors had the guts to come out then the rest of the world would get used to it and it wouldn't be a bid deal. This is the case in every walk of life.
So, if a big star came out now would he get fewer movie roles? Maybe. But he would be forever known as somebody who made a difference and changed the world. He could be a wonderful roll model for the millions of mixed up kids out there. And wouldn't all of that be more important?
It seems to me that Ellen is much bigger now than she every was before she came out.
It's so sad, but it is true to a degree. Look what happened to Rupert Everett's career in films. He may still be playing on the stage, but he has not had any film roles in quite a while since he came out. As an actor it is difficult enough to find work so I think coming out just makes jobs even more infrequent. It's a sad commentary on our society in this country. In Europe it is far different–as one person said John Barrowman is very talented and it hasn't hurt his career in England (though he is American educated-moved here from Scotland when in early teens). I think it should be an actor's choice on whether he/she wants to come out as opposed to outing them & damaging their career. Here in lovely Ohio, it is legal to deny employment, housing, etc. to anyone who is gay AND we have passed a law that Ohio refuses to recognize the marriage of a gay couple if they were married (say in England) and moved to Ohio. It's a great redneck state! Don't move here, Mr. Chamberlain or others.
I THINK HIS ADVICE IS DANGEROUS. EQUALITY COMES FROM VISIBILITY. THIS IS JUST BAD , BAD ADVICE ON HIS PART.
Too true. The 1960s (Dr. Kildare) and 70s and 80s (multiple mini-series) when Chamberlain was young are a entire world and two generations away from 2010. He is just adding to the pressure to stay hidden and ashamed when he should be doing the opposite.
what a shame that this still has to be a consideration – maybe 2011 will be the year that everyone learns tolerance and peace.
YEARS AGO MANY WERE IN THE CLOSET.....BUT NOW IN THE TIMES WE ARE LIVING
IN THE THINGS THEY DO IN THE DARK WILL COME TO THE LIGHT....THE THINGS HIDDEN
WILL BE FOUND.....ALL THING WILL BE OPENLY EXPOSED TO ALL
SO YOU WHO HIDE WHAT YOU ARE , TRUST ME NOT FOR LONG.
GOD DOES NOT APPROVE OF A GAY LIFESTYLE. JUST AS MUCH AS GOD DOES
NOT APPROVE OF A FORNICATOR OR A THIEF. THE BIBLE IS CLEAR.
It depends on how good an actor the person is. I have no trouble believing NPH as a womanizer because he's a good actor. OTOH, I saw "A Farewell to Arms" many years ago and Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones had no chemistry together, which made sense when he was revealed as gay. He wasn't a good enough actor, IMO, to be believable as a romantic lead. Being out might limit an unknown actor's ability to get roles, but it shouldn't be a problem for an established actor if he's any good.
Mr. Chamberlain is right. It's sad, but he's right.
There are no big name gay leading actors in Hollywood right now and it's for a reason:
Female fans won't be able to buy a gay man as a lead because they know he's gay and they know that no woman has a chance to be with him. Male fans wouldn't buy a gay man as an action star because of all the stereotypes they have been bombarded with all their lifes.
It's just plain old business sense. Producers are only interested in making a profit, and they know they risk losing money if they do something unconventional.
I'd say you've pretty much nailed it here, Victor.
I love Richard! I used to have the biggest crush on him! As far as what he states in the article – he's absolutely right. As a female fan of the cinema, I definitely don't want to know that the leading man is gay. That should be simple for people to understand without having to explain it – and it has nothing to do with prejudice. I really don't care about what people are doing between the sheets, it's none of my business and vice-versa.
An openly immoral person calls being against the perversion that is the g@y lifestyle immoral?!
Pot, meet kettle on Line 1! * smh *
I cannot believe that no one knew he is gay..alright, he was not an "openly gay" actor, but really....no one knew??
And the point is that it doesn't matter...he is a man..who's an actor...who is well respected.....who happens to be gay.
OMG, I did not know. I was so in love with him in The Thornbirds. His hottest role ever.
How quickly Rock Hudson has been forgotten.
I love Richard Chamberlain and until this article I didn't know he was gay, not that it matters, he's a wonderful actor.
It is sad but true. I can't think of one openly gay actor who has played a leading man part.
How can Richard Chamberlain call someone else "immoral" when he is the one giving someone else a Hershey slide?
Why do we have to know if someone is gay? I'm tired of it being shoved on us. Gay, straight, whatever, this issue is so far down on the list of what this world should be concerned about it's just stupid.
The issue will go away when gay people are treated equally under the law as straight people are.
The issue will go away when gay people are treated equally under the law as straight people are. Straight people have made it an issue by openly descriminating against gays for 2000 years. Stop descriminating agaisnt gays and the issue will go away.
As long as gay jokes and comedy are still deemed acceptable by our society we will not make the social advances that we should. Race and religous jokes are not acceptable in the media but gay jokes are. Why?
Though we say he should have, or could have come out at the height of his career, the fact still remains that this was his sole means of support for him. Had he come out, gone are the leading man roles and here comes the tragic gay suicide, corky drag queen roles and I am not knocking those roles, but they don't pay as well nor are they continuous. We can say we support you Richard as the gay community, but we are a small percentage of the total population and we are very generic. I admire the man and his work, let's not maginalize him for that.
I guess he was referring to the likes of John Travolta. BUt what of the other marginalized people, who skin color they can not hide. Who cant get in any door, because of perceived sterotypes.
right on Rachel..........everyone has issues.................whatever...
How is not supporting gay-life "immoral"? Tell me how gayness is "moral". If everyone was gay, there would be no human race; which means is unnatural. Duh.
Being Gay is wrong and each and everyone of us will have to stand before God and give account for what we've done in our lives. I will not stand before Go and say I was afraid to say being gay is wrong because I was afraid to offend anyone and God will remind me I offended him for turning away from his word. People don't let God rejecters turn you away from the truth of God and his word. If the Bible said men with men and women with women was okay, it would be okay with him but it's not okay.
That is such a ridiculous comment. It's not about turning all people gay, it's about accepting those who are. Straight people aren't going away. Your ignorance and intolerance is incredible!
If everyone remained single and celibate (like Jesus and Paul), the human race would come to an end. So, given your logic, to be single and celibate is immoral.
I agree with Mr. Chamberlain that life becomes difficult when your secrets are exposed! For him, he may have felt some hatred from others but mostly I feel his personal and professional life became too intertwined. Actors in general are supposed to be creating this illusion but for audiences it is difficult to get into them when the actor's personal life has been so exposed. This is the same for any actor not just the gays. However, they do have it a little harder time when they are trying to portray something that everyone know is completely false.....No matter what who is lover is, I still loved him in the Slipper and the Rose!
No matter who his lover was or is, I still love him in the Slipper and the Rose!
I'm surprised Sharon Stone didn't do anything for him in King Solomon's Mines~~
~ Whether gay or straight, ask yourself...which is the natural order? Is it pleasure or procreation? ~ This is a sign of the end as God has given men/women up to follow the lust of their hearts...to worship the creation rather than the creator. ~
~ May 21,2011 ~
20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
What a bunch of useless drivel. Why do you Christophile-biblical types always think a storybook like the Bible (chapters included were voted on by men, greedy men, for political and financial expediency) and then have the perverted sense to quote a letter to the Romans from Paul, aka Saul, who worked for the same Jewish sect that had Christ crucified until he realized the christian movement was more popular than he thought it would be and on his way home to crawl back to his family as a failure, had a supposed "miracle" and returns to Jerusalem to hassle Jesus' brother James who was leading a christianity movement that made sense but proponed giving up earthly wealth and thus was more difficult to swallow by the masses. Paul seized upon this and made it into the BS religion it is today. I prefer the Jamesian Christianity and the lost books that were voted out of the "official" lexicon. Check out the book, The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity, by Hyam Maccoby. PS: Gays in the closet or out, not a problem unless some religious idiots make it into one.
The Bible is fiction and you're ignorant. Have fun believing in your fake "god" and making the world a worse place by bringing down others.
Stop eating pork. Stop talking to menstruating women. If your neighbor works on the Sabbath, stone him, as he is commitng a mortal sin. Leviticus...a bit paraphrased but you get it. Idiot.
glad to see you know how to read. Amy thoughts of your own?
i didn't edit before posting so sorry for the grammar errors in my post.
It's perhaps hubris and arrogance to think that your career won't be derailed by coming out.
We all suffer from this malady at one time or another, but it's the lucky few who don't make life altering decisions while in that frame of mind. God help them.
I can see both sides of the argument, but what it comes down to is a person's own decision. What right for one person, isn't for the next.
For many years I worked in an environment in which I had to be very discreet, but for the past 4 years I'm working where it's not an issue. Do I regret those previous years? No, I made many wonderful friends during those years. Would I go back into an environment like that again? No.
As an educator and parent, my main concern is the epidemic of teen suicides. This is where we need to focus our attention.
I love Richard Chamberlain. I loved him in every lead role. I cannot however watch him as a gay. I have no interest in this. And so yes, he is right..gay should stay in the closet if they want to make it in "straight" hollywood.
Chamberlain would never had succeeded if anyone knew he was gay..his success was based on him being straight and a leading man.
Are you serious? I grew up watching Dr. Kildare and then all the mini series and I knew then he was gay – remember that People magazine article with him and the female lead from Shogun? The publicist wanted everyone to think they were an item but Chamberlain's being gay was a well known, well kept secret, just like Rock Hudson. That he finally came out when he was 70 YO and had been retired for 20 years was the biggest "yeah, so what" moment. Actors, even successful ones, start to go out of favor, especially as they get older. All you have to do is watch the Academy Awards or the Emmys and compare who is on the red carpet from year to year. Being gay does not bar an actor from getting roles but being a mediocre (Rupert Everett IMHO) or older actor (Chamberlain) does.
I've absolutely loved Richard Chamberlain since the time I saw The Thornbirds when it first came out. I was hooked on the man, totally in awe of his acting, his sensuality and his compassion. It was my dream to meet him some day and, an even further unreality, to date him. I even disregarded the "gay" rumors that had circulated around him for many years.
Then, out he came from the closet years later – in black and white.
I was heart broken and, not only that, it put a severe twist into my vision of how he was in The Thornbirds. Yes, he was acting, but he was also incredibly convincing that he had a burning desire for a woman. That made me want him even more.
Today, I don't even look for movies/programs he might be in.
My bubble bursted the day I saw the truth in print.
Richard, if you happen to be reading this... you are still a wonderful actor. But I agree with you on staying in the closet if at all possible, especially when you are a leading man/woman. So many will shy away from you (not that I have) but I do know it leaves us feeling a little 'off' when we see you on screen.
Hope you are very happy in your personal life. I'll never forget you in The Thornbirds.
Very wise man. My brother is gay and although he came out of the closet years ago he wishes he hadn't on many occasions not because he is ashamed but because he now thinks it's no ones business but his own and his family. He has been with the same person for many years and now lives in a much more accepting city which has lessoned the burden. Although we miss seeing him more, we are very happy that he is happier with his life now.
I would come out rather than stay in the closet even if it meant being a busboy for the rest of my life. He's right about the prejudice still existing, but how does he expect it to be overcome if people aren't out? Maybe he didn't have a hard time concealing this, but a lot of people do and living in the closet can cause a lot of harm to people emotionally and psychologically. I wonder how many deaths from alcohol and drug abuse and suicide can be attributed to hiding your true self from everyone. I hope young people ignore this advice.
Stop already. That's as offensive as calling an African-American the N word.
Just talk to any republican if you doubt this is true.
It gets better?
MY CAPS LOCK KEY IS BROEKD BRO SO GET OFF IT ALL READY
And I would guess your spelling, punctuation and grammar buttons are "BROEKD" as well?
I think your brain is as "broekd" as the school system that taught you.
Chees, tone it down with the caps already, you lose any seeming validity by appearing extreme, JUST SAYIN!!! ;-)
I agree with the comment regarding Chamberlain being mediocre, and I lived through the 70's. Ok actor, played the tall dark handsome movie of the week or miniseries stuff fairly well enough. Now I can't take him too seriously, but he does still have a point. It is still tough to come out, though there seems to be progress. I predict this is another generational matter, like the challenge to 60's racism, it's the younger kids that will consider tolerance an antiquated notion and it won't really matter if you’re black or white, gay or straight, but it will still matter if you’re rich or poor. (sigh) Here's to Castalia!
OH YAH THEIR ARE TONS OF FAMOUS GAY ACTORS IN AMERICA LIKE THE TWO HARRY POTTER KIDS AND IAN MCKELLAN THE DUDE FROM HOUSE EDDIE IZARD HAD A SHOW FOR A WHILE OH AND CRAG FERGUSEN
Please improve your typing and grammar – I can't appreciate anything you may have to say when you take so little effort to do even the most basic writing.
Craig Fergusen isn't gay, twit, he is married and expecting his 2nd child. He is always laughing about the "gay" jokes because it's part of his schtick. Puhleez, get your facts straight if you want to help anyone.
Craig Ferguson is gay? I thought all brits were gay!?
Advances are never made by playing safe. Richard Chamberlain is a mediocre actor who had an amazing career.
He could of done more for the world if he had been a bigger person and stood up for who he is and what he believed in at the height of his career. Instead, he waited until he was a has- been who needed a little more publicity and a little more money to come out and speak his truth. We in the gay community need more stand up men and women so we can forge ahead for equality that this sorry excuse for a man. My advice to Richard Chamberlain is to GO AWAY, and STAY AWAY.
Says the person who hides their name from the forum...stop being such a hypocrite...
And YOUR name is...?
You're an idiot! What are you 12??? Richard Chamberlain is a great actor and has been around for many years moron, he knows what he's talking about. Although, if you only watch Jersey Shore he won't be on that. turn the channel
i think what richard is referring to in his commentary is the the frequent challenges that persistent (whether silent or vocal) stereotypes and prejudices in our societies (across the world and various cultures) bing into the world of personal opportunity and freedom. Every minority experiences a challenge but the gay lesbian minority has the "luxury" to stay in the closet which foreign or ethnic minorities don't have. And as stereotypes and prejudices should be fought through education, openness etc. etc. the very real outcome in the real world is that being known to a part of that minority would limit the scope of opportunities one gets to demonstrate and develop their skills and talents and eventually realize their potential in society. Many openly gay men for example do not realize their potential but get caught up in cycle of self degradation n the underbelly of society ... sadly enough. Ironically had they stayed in the closet, they have had opportunities to develop and be successful in a career of their choosing. By the same token being untruthful is just as bad.. nay worse. In essence, the choice is personal and serious. And the question that such a debate raises are fairly broad and won't fit in a box. Ultimately, in a society without prejudice and stereotype, all individuals will have the same equal opportunity to succeed and exceed but we are way not close...in this globalized world, we are going backwards in so many directions...It seems even that globalization even leads to some cultural devolution as stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination spreads so much more freely. The access and influence in global media brings these to places where they may not have existed, where not enough cultural and social maturity exists to overcome their negative influence.
I grew up in the same era as Mr. Chamberlain. Believe me when I say that if he had come out when he was at the height of his career, said career would have been over. He would have been ostracized in every walk of life. While there is, sadly, still a great deal of prejudice toward gays in this world, we have come a long way since that time. As far as calling him a mediocre actor, that is simply a matter of opinion. I haven't watched a great deal of his work, but those shows I have watched were very well-acted.
Amen. Thank you for this honest post. So true. Advances will never be made if people listen to this ill advice.
ER, bite your childish tongue and get back to what you, yourself, do best... screaming that you are gay and proud of it.
No one really cares about your thoughts on this because you are merely stuck in trying to fight for equality for gays, which will never fully happen in this lifetime, or in generations to come.
This blog has nothing to do with your silly antics. Move on.
IN ENGLEND EVERYONE LOVES JOHN BARROWMAN WHO PLAYS A BI LEED ON TORCHWOOD BARROWMAN IS SUPER COOL THOUGH I WISH HE MOVED BACK TO AMERICA
Captain Jack is SO hot. Gay or not, I'd LOVE to see him in more mainstream roles!
How is this "do as I say, not as I do"? Chamberlain stayed in the closet nearly his whole career, and specifically only came out when he was no longer a leading man. He's telling other actors to do EXACTLY what he did.
SOMEBODY (Tony) gets it. That's exactly what i took away from the article.
You are 100% correct. Chamberlain is saying, "stay in the closet" if you want to succeed. Big deal!! So NOW that he's decided to come out of the closet, when it's safe, everything he says is news. Everybody has to decide for themselves what is best for them, like he did, and live with their choices. So what? That's their choice.
He's absolutely right. There is only one openly gay actor that has a steady gig (Neil Patrick Harris). Consider the movie, "I Love You Phillip Morris", in which both the leads are straight actors that are playing gay characters. Why couldn't an openly gay man have been hired for at least one of the roles. There is still much prejudice against gays and lesbians, even in liberal Hollywood.
You forgot David Hyde Pierce...not on TV but on Broadway.
I think that you all should stay in the closet, I really don't want to know what anyone does in prvate. I was told if you give the devil a ride, he going to want ot drive. I never knew that Richard Chamberlain was until now, but that has nothing to do with his acting ability.
So, only gay men should be allowed to play gay roles? What would you say if someone suggested that only straight men be allowed to play straight roles?
It is sad but true.
IM TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET
Don't fight it brother. Remember on the last day of your life all you have is YOU. So be happy! If you have to move to another location where it is more accepted so be it. Life is too short to not be who you are. "Just because the house is on fire doesn't mean you can't still warm your hands". Make a pie out of the cherries, don't throw them on the ground. Being popular with your friends and family is not #1 in life. Your happiness IS! Peace be with you my friend. I'll be thinking about you.
Dr. D in Denver.
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