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John Barrowman Refused to Lie About Sexuality, Was Killed Off Show

'Dr. Who' Star John Barrowman Reveals He Was Killed Off For Not Staying in Closet

He alleged that producers asked him to stop talking about his boyfriend.

As there is an ongoing conversation about access, representation, and who should be booked for what jobs, British-American actor and presenter John Barrowman is talking about his experiences as an out performer. According to him, he was killed off a show after declining producer requests to not discuss his sexuality.

Though he's now a Broadway veteran, perhaps best known for his portrayal of the omnisexual space buccaneer Captain John Harkness in the BBC's Dr. Who, in the 1990s he had his first break with the U.S. based series Central Park. According to a piece by Barrowman in Daily Mail, he was asked by the producers of the short-lived project to not talk about his then-boyfriend, now husband Scott.

"Midway through the first season, I was called in by the producers," Barrowman recalled. "They asked me if I would not talk about being gay."

The producers then made an even more absurd suggestion for Barrowman, telling him "one of the best things that could happen would be if I was pictured collapsed in a gutter with a prostitute." He described the topic as "one of the strangest things" because he knew the producer making the suggestion was gay.

After some reflection, he realized he couldn't to stay in the closet as requested. Besides, as far as he was concerned, Barrowman's sexuality was an open secret in town.

"Up until then I hadn't publicly talked about coming out," he said. "I was living with my boyfriend, Scott, now my husband, in Chelsea, New York, I worked in musical theatre and we had a dog -- I mean, how many more clues do you need?"

In the end, the choice was simple. He knew "too many people who were living a lie" and he refused to do likewise so he "continued to go places with Scott and to talk about him."

When Barrowman got the final two scripts for the season, he saw the producers had killed off his character. But rather than taking the firing as a defeat, he used it as motivation.

"That made me more determined to work even harder for roles I wanted."

That determination to live life openly and honestly as a gay man in part came from something Barrowman's father had said to him years before when speaking of a college schoolmate who spent who time worrying about what others thought of her. The observation made by his father about his friend helped guide him years later.

"One day I was talking to my dad about her and he said, 'You know what? Not everybody's going to like you. Do your best to get people to enjoy who you are, but don't change for them.' It resonated with me."

Luckily for Barrowman and his fans, he listened to his father rather than the misguided producer. He can be currently seen as a judge on the popular British ITV series Dancing on Ice and lives happily with his husband Scott in Palm Springs, California.

RELATED | Paul Bettany Says His Gay Father Went Back Into The Closet in His 80s

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