Legendary actor and activist Sir Ian McKellen came out in 1988, long before the relatively widespread societal acceptance for the LGBT community we enjoy today. Rather than kill his career, which many thought it would, his star has done nothing but rise in the decades since, with roles such as Magneto and Gandalf making him a household name and internationally recognizable face. Being open about his sexuality didn't hurt McKellen back then and, contrary to those like Matt Damon who controversially advise gay actors to remain closeted for their careers, he told The Hollywood Reporterthat actors should come out, both for their profession and their happiness.
Of getting major roles, McKellen said:
"It all happened after coming out. I had no idea this silly thing was a weight on my shoulders."
He then went on to say
"That's my message to anyone in this town who thinks 'I've got to stay in the closet to be successful in films.' I didn't. Do you want to be a famous movie star who has love scenes with ladies and in private be an unhappy gay? There's no choice. Forget the career, dear. Go and do something else ... A closet's a really nasty place to live, you know? It's dirty, it's dusty, it's full of skeletons. You don't want it. Open that door -- fling it wide and be yourself."
Read the full story on The Hollywood Reporter.