Richard Chamberlain, the Dr. Kildare heartthrob who came out in 2003, is advising other gay actors to stay in the closet.
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"It's complicated. 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," he tells The Advocate. "For an actor to be working is a kind of miracle, because most actors aren't, 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. Personally, I wouldn't advise a gay leading man—type actor to come out."
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Chamberlain, who's currently appearing as a love interest for Saul (Ron Rifkin) on Brothers & Sisters, came out at age 69 in his 2003 memoir Shattered Love — decades after reports first surfaced about his sexuality. But the Thorn Birds star says that he has "no idea" when the right time for an actor to come out is because gay people still have a long way to go in terms of acceptance.
"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 says. "Look at what happened in California with Proposition 8. Please, don't pretend that we're suddenly all wonderfully, blissfully accepted."