Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen On Closeted Hollywood Stars

Ian McKellen, who has been out since he was 49, has always had a lot to say about being openly gay in Hollywood. He tells Popeater:

Ian "I don't think any gay person is going to be happy and bring joy to themselves and other people unless they can be honest about their sexuality, and if other people don't like that honestly, that's a comment on them and not on the person who is being honest. That might seem a harsh thing to say to a young actor who is being advised by an agent to stay in the closet. There are no openly gay stars in Hollywood, so someone is telling them to shut up."

He adds: "If you're going around telling a lie you may get by but you won't be half as happy as you would be if you came out. If that means you have to give up hopes of being one of the three or four young sex symbols in Hollywood so be it. You probably weren't going to be one of those anyway. That happens by chance and it doesn't last for very long. There is a difference between living a private life and being in the closet. Being in the closet means you're lying about your life but just because you come out doesn't mean you have to talk about every affair you have. You don't have to talk about what you do in bed anymore than I have to talk about the food I eat."

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  1. Mr. McKellen should realize we are all individuals with unique personalities. He doesn't know what every gay or bi male is thinking or how they'd react to any given situation. It's nice when a well known guy or girl, especially one thought to be str8 or who could easily pass, comes out of the closet. But there are many reasons why they wouldn't want to publicly discuss their sexuality, not the least of which may be a multi million dollar livelihood. How many would voluntarily put that in jeopardy? The truth is a lot of entertainers in music, movies,tv,etc., rely especially heavily on female fans and most athletes rely on their marketability with male fans.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Nov 6, 2010 11:16:12 PM

  2. His point was about being happy, and he's probably right. I prefer to take his "no openly gay actors in Hollywood" as referring to men, not women (arguably, there are several female leads who are out). The public has a harder time, so the story goes, with gay men as straight romantic leads. Rupert Everett definitely lost business for coming out. But that was a long time ago, and he's not as Hollywood as Sir Ian is talking about, I guess. Wrong for overlooking NPH. Otherwise, I like what he's saying.

    Posted by: SFGreek | Nov 7, 2010 1:38:08 AM

  3. "not the least of which may be a multi million dollar livelihood. How many would voluntarily put that in jeopardy?"

    Me. I'm not motivated by money, and I would rather die than have any other way. LOL! but as I've said, I'm grateful that a lot of people are...it really makes most things predictable, and I like that.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 7, 2010 1:42:19 AM

  4. And don't get me wrong...money's important. Anyone says otherwise doesn't understand living (expensive to be alive, slick). But it doesn't do it for me. Call it buyer's remorse...no fun in consumption.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 7, 2010 1:07:16 AM

  5. He's right, of course. And those people verbally busting him for coming out when he did, well, he is just saying in his own way, 'don't do what I did and leave it that long'. He never condemns anyone, he knows the score. He just doesn't want to see people unhappy. He says it because he cares.

    He is right. One cannot be oneself if one has to lie. And Chrissypoo made an excellent point about it being gay agents/managers who keep their clients in. They are fine with the gay per se, just not that that gay should 'ruin' an actor's image - which benefits a manager/agent reliant on cash injections from such a 'straight' image. How actors have not wised up to this manipulation seems amazing. But they seem happy to be less about individuality than toeing the line ($$$$$$) in Hollywood.


    Posted by: EM | Nov 7, 2010 2:02:52 AM

  6. He's poking the bee hive with a stick and he's going to get stung.

    Sir Ian should know by now that any criticism of Hollywood will instantly result in a defensive, reactionary campaign to discredit him from various interest groups (fan boys, agents, publicists, studio public relations, etc.)

    They are worse than the politicians with this stuff.

    Posted by: John | Nov 7, 2010 2:36:12 AM

  7. So, he didn't publicly say "I am gay" until the age of 49? So what?..

    He never made an effort to pretend to be straight previously. That's the difference between him and a number of TRULY closeted celebrities.

    Same as Jodie Foster. She may never have even said "I am gay", but she's never attended premieres with a beard, or conjured up imaginary boyfriends in interviews during her adulthood.

    It's the closet-cases whom maintain an act of heterosexuality whom are the hypocrites, not those whom choose to stay silent until they're ready.

    Posted by: Justin | Nov 7, 2010 4:40:03 AM

  8. Things don't change until the brave step forward to change them.

    Kudos to Sir Ian McKellen.

    Posted by: darkmoonman | Nov 7, 2010 2:23:34 PM

  9. Ian came out to get his career going again....

    Posted by: alan brickman | Nov 7, 2010 2:37:33 PM

  10. Telling young actors to come out...he could have come out when he was 28...why did he wait til he was old again???

    Posted by: alan brickman | Nov 7, 2010 2:38:26 PM

  11. If Ian was young....he would be in the closet still....not exactly a role model....

    Posted by: alan brickman | Nov 7, 2010 2:50:26 PM

  12. @TANK No one posted "anything like that" because 99% of the people who comment here are thoughtful people. You, however, are that 1% who isn't.

    Posted by: mike | Nov 7, 2010 4:53:45 PM

  13. Being private isn't the same as being closeted.

    To me, being in the closet is maintaining a façade of heteronormativity by lying to yourself and the world. Simply remaining silent until you're ready isn't the same.

    Why don't some people understand this?

    Posted by: Justin | Nov 7, 2010 6:16:14 PM

  14. Coming out when you are 49 years old really isn't that groundbreaking, no? Several years ago, I remember when Sir Ian tried to out Jimmy Fallon on SNL. That was very uncomfortable. Why should people deprived of outing themselves? Very tacky. That's Perez Hilton territory.

    Posted by: jkfromcincty | Nov 7, 2010 10:20:26 PM

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