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Gay Actors and Movie Stars

Updated on August 27, 2013

Ian Mckellan one of the few openly gay high profile actors working today

Ian McKellan
Ian McKellan | Source

In the Closet?

Firstly we offers apologies to those that might be disappointed as this is not a speculative piece trying to guess who is or is not gay. That is for the individual in question to choose to reveal or not as the case may be. The question we are asking is this? Even in these apparently enlightened times does it still hurt an actors career to reveal the are homosexual?

Certainly there are man high profile celebrities working today who are openly homosexual be they television presenters or musicians. However in the world of acting still relatively few leading actors or stars are openly gay. This may well be because there are not a high profile stars who are homosexual but given the statistics it seems more likely that some are and choose not to reveal this. So why not? Why not tell the world that they are homosexual given that most people genuinely believe that it is neither wrong nor shameful in any way?

The only conclusion we can draw is that the belief that it will hurt the actor/actress in questions careers is still largely accepted as truth. Who amongst us will stop watching a movie because the star of it is Homosexual. Did anyone refuse to watch The X-Men movies or Lord of the Rings because Ian Mckellan is homosexual? They were all huge successes some critically and all financially. However it seems this is not evidence enough so we look further.

Zachary Quinto the new Mr Spock

Just as great as ever
Just as great as ever | Source

Do you care?

When watching an actor at work do you care about their sexuality?

See results

Openly Gay Actors

  1. Ian Mckellan - Is Gandalf or Magneto an less compelling for knowing Ian Mckellan is Gay?
  2. Richard Chamberlain - Is The Thornbirds any less convincing as romance now that you know Richard Chamberlain is Homosexual?
  3. Neil Patrick Harris - Is How I Met Your Mother any less amusing?
  4. Zachary Quinto - Is his portrayal in Heroes any less terrifying?
  5. John Benjamin Hickey - Is his depressive brother in the Big C any less effective?
  6. Richard Wilson - Is his iconic Victor Meldrew character any less grumpy and hilarious?
  7. Derek Jacobi - Does his homosexuality effect the potency of his stage and screen roles?
  8. Rupert Everett - Any less of a scene stealer than he was in My Best Friends Wedding?
  9. David Hyde Pierce - Any less brilliant in Frasier?
  10. John Barrowman - His his heroic turn in Torchwood seem any less heroic for being portrayed by a homosexual?

I would hope you would agree that the answer to all of the above is an emphatic NO! Actors pretend to be many things they are not. Tom Hanks won and oscar for portraying a homosexual character but is not gay himself therefore if we can accept this, can we not accept that a homosexual actor can portray anything a straight one can?

Some other notable homosexual actors

  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • Sara Gilbert
  • Sarah Paulson
  • Udo Kier
  • Linda Hunt
  • Russell Tovey
  • Rock Hudson
  • Wentworth Miller
  • Fiona Shaw
  • Lily Tomlin
  • Kelly McGillis
  • Miriam Marolyes
  • Portia De Rossi
  • Ben Whishaw


It is of course the right of anyone to keep their sexuality entirely personal but given ongoing debates about rights and gay marriage would it not be beneficial for the cause if more high profile names joined their ranks?

I hope we have established that actors regardless of sexuality can play almost any role subject to their talents and should no way be judged by their private lives. A Jewish actor can play a christian so why limit our own suspension of disbelief. Accept an actors performance for what it is a portrayal of a character. Sexuality really has nothing to do with it.

So to simply sum up. If someone wants to keep it private so be it, but if they reveal they are lesbian or gay just keep watching like you always did.

After Thought

It has been quite some time since I submitted this hub and although I wrote it with the best intentions In hindsight I feel that i some how have contributed to what I hoped to dispel. The idea that Gay actors and actresses are somehow different. I am not so self indulgent to take it down and chastise myself, but in hind sight would it not be better if were not necessary to have the conversation at all?


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