10 Best Openly Gay Actors

Tuesday, July 26 by D. Michaels

Both Hollywood and America are obsessed with the sexual lives of their actors and actresses so it’s no wonder that there’s a list of the 10 best openly gay actors. What’s surprising is that there are ten who are open in a country that at times is still openly hostile to gay men. Here are some of the best that Hollywood has produced.

  1. Neil Patrick Harris. Fans still remember him from his days as medical child prodigy "Doogie Howser", so it was a bit of surprise for some when he came out of the closet and became an openly gay actor. However, instead of focusing on his sex life, many have chosen to enjoy his work on Broadway as well as both TV and movies. 
  2. Rupert Everett. Unlike most actors in Hollywood, Everett was never shy about admitting that he was an openly gay actor. In fact, he proved that a lot of audiences don’t care as long as the performance is good. He proved his talent in his theatrical debut when he played the snarky gat friend of Julia Roberts in “My Best Friend’s Wedding”. 
  3. Ian McKellen. McKellen is not only one of the best openly gay actors, but one of the most respected by both theater aficionados and fantasy geeks alike. Those in theater recognize him as a kind of heir to the great Lawrence Oliver in such roles as Antonio Salieri in the original stage production of “Amadeus” and geeks love him for his role of Gandalf in “The Lord of the Rings” series as well as the “X-Men” trilogy where he played the arch-nemesis Magneto.
  4. Alan Cumming. Also a veteran of the “X-Men” movies (the second one specifically where he played the role of Nightcrawler, a teleporting mutant), openly gay actor Alan Cumming has been entertaining fans on stage, TV and theater screen for years. Cumming is generally known far and wide as one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood today.
  5. David Hyde Pierce. Known for 11 years to television audiences as Miles Crane, the younger, more neurotic brother of Frasier Crane on the television series, “Frasier”, Pierce quickly became one of the most popular openly gay actors on television.
  6. George Takei. Forever Known as Mr. Sulu from the original “Star Trek” television series, this openly gay actor shocked his fans when he came out of the closet and married his longtime companion in 2008. What surprised them even more was when he revealed in his autobiography released in 2007 that he was placed in a Japanese internment camp during World War II when he was a child.
  7. John Gielgud. Considered one of the finest actors of his generation, Sir John Gielgud’s sexual orientation didn’t become public knowledge until an arrest for lewd conduct in 1953 forced him out into the open. Fearing he would be shunned, he didn’t return to the stage for several months. However, when he did he was greeted with a standing ovation from his fans.
  8. Rock Hudson. Rock Hudson’s story stands as one of the more tragic ones of openly gay actors in Hollywood. At the height of his career, he was considered the standard for manly stature. However, he was desperate to hide the fact that he was gay for fear that it would destroy his career. It wasn’t until 1985 that the world discovered the truth as entered the final stages of the AIDS virus.
  9. Richard Chamberlain. For the most part, Chamberlain, also considered a man’s man by many of his female fans across the world. It wasn’t until he turned 69 that he revealed that he’s an openly gay actor and had had little interest in the women he’d been rumored to have bedded during the height of his film and TV career
  10. Anthony Perkins. Forever branded by the role that made him a household name, Anthony Perkins was the face of Norman Bates for the better part of his career and found some solace playing unbalanced characters. However, like Rock Hudson, it was his diagnosis of AIDS that turned him into an openly gay actor in Hollywood.
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  1. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    Rupert Everett’s theatrical debut wasn’t in 1997’s ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’. It was fifteen years earlier in 1982’s A Shocking Accident. That wasn’t even his first American film. Also technically if you are outed due to an illness that was previously only associated with gay men you aren’t openly gay. You been pushed out of the closet.

  2. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    You know, as much as I support what you’re doing here, I have to take issue with “best.” And “openly.” Yeah, you dodged on that with Rock Hudson and Anthony Perkins, but come on. And I’m pretty sure Allen Cumming refers to himself as being bi.

  3. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm

    Marcel Wiel

    What a total waste of time this article is … a real lazy space filler. Do you people have no respect for your readers? 
    When did being arrested for lewd behaviour count as being out & open (John Guilgud)? 
    Also, Ian McKellen only came out once he was famous in the 1990s and Rock Hudson’s closeted existence drove him to alcoholism, which hardly makes him a poster boy for the out, healthy gay man – plus he only liked ‘straight-looking/straight-acting guys’ who wouldn’t ‘give him away’.
    And Anthony Perkins, who was linked to many female ‘beards’ and was married with children, may have been gay deep down but to my knowledge never went on a Pride March, when his stature & profile could’ve really made a difference to the advancement of lesbian & gay rights.
    If you want to identify excellent out & open gay actors, start with the Lesbian & Gay Film Festival circuit. Among the dross, there are a few gems, all out & open people you can depend if you’re cornered by a bunch of homophobes.
    But as far as your list goes, most would run away to hide in their mansions, leaving you to get a good kicking. 
    Shame on you!

  4. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    Rock Hudson was no way “openly gay”.  Nope.

  5. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    This list is rife with typos and includes several actors who were/are not, by any stretch of the imagination, openly gay.  

  6. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    I take offense at Alan Cumming being being whitewashed as gay.  He identifies as bisexual, as do many people, and we’re tired of being erased.  The fact that he is married to a man does not negate the fact that he retains an attraction to women as well (just as his previous marriage to a woman did not magically make him straight).

  7. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    Yeah, you need a few actors to replace Hudson and Perkins as “openly gay.” (How about Portia de Rossi and Sara Gilbert?) And I agree with those who have said being outed is not the same as being open, as with Sir John Gielgud. I guess I was expecting a list of out and proud actors, not actors who happened to be gay but didn’t mention it until their 60s. (Which, no shame on them, times were much different.)

  8. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    Why are the people on this list all male? If you added females, you wouldn’t have to mention people who NEVER left the closet during their careers. And what the hell is THIS: “It wasn’t until he turned 69 that he revealed that he’s an openly gay actor.” Seriously, you don’t notice anything wrong with that sentence? Anything at all? Do I need to send you a dictionary so you can look up the meaning of the word “openly”?

  9. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm

    Frank Miller

    Why include actors who were not openly gay during their careers?  John Barrowman has done much more for LGBT causes than someone like Anthony Perkins.

  10. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    While I think Marcel raises some fair points, he’s well off-base when it comes to Ian McKellen. McKellen actually came out in the late 80s, when the only thing he was famous for was his theater work. His film career didn’t start in earnest until the mid-to-late-90s (e.g. Richard III, Gods & Monsters). He also appeared in the 1993 TV adaptation of And the Band Played On. In other words, it seems like he’s walked the walk as well as talked the talk.

  11. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    Amen, sister!

  12. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    Quoted for Truth!

  13. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    Yeah, thank you. I saw an italian horror film he was in, maybe it’s the the one you mention way earlier than the Julia Roberts flick. I really prefer not to know much about any character style actor because thoughts of their reality intrude during performance, but NPH has made me “forget” when he’s playing a womanizer.

  14. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    Let’s also remember that his wife, Berry Berenson, was one of the victims that were on the first plane to hit the Trade Center on 9/11

  15. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    How come TR Knight didn’t make the list?

  16. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    I never knew David Hyde Pierce was “Openly” gay. I had suspicions, but you’re loose use of the definition of “openly” is wrong. “Openly” would mean some mention of it in interviews and such and a good portion of the public would know about it. Takei was not open for most of his career, but people in Hollywood probably knew. NPH has a long career ahead, Ian McKellen came out around the time i discovered him, same as Rupert Everett and Alan Cumming I heard some rumblings, but no one else on this list would I even consider being “Openly gay” at all in their careers (but if you mean did their employers knew, well, you might have a case).

  17. July 26, 2011 2:10 pm


    I wouldn’t count Rock Hudson, Anthony Perkins or Richard Chamberlin as openly Gay because two of them only came out because they were dying, & one’s career is basically over. Takai only counts because he’s still working. What about Ellen Degenerous or Jane Lynch?

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