Sir Ian McKellen: Hollywood agents still telling gay actors to stay in closet

Mon. November 8, 2010 9:27 AM by News Staff

Hollywood - Sir Ian McKellan came out of the closet 22 years ago, and it hasn't hurt his acting career one bit. But he still believes that other actors are being told to stay in the closet.

"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," McKellen told Popeater. "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."

McKellen said the relative lack of openly gay stars -- Neil Patrick Harris, Wanda Sykes, Ellen DeGeneres and Jane Lynch notwithstanding -- is evidence that actors are being encouraged to stay in the closet.

"There are no openly gay stars in Hollywood, so someone is telling them to shut up," he said.

McKellen said some closeted actors might not realize there is a way to maintain your privacy while still being honest.

"There is a difference between living a private life and being in the closet," he told Popeater. "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."