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Harry Hamlin Says This 1980s Gay Role 'Ended My Film Career'

Harry Hamlin Says This 1980s Gay Role 'Ended My Film Career'

The actor reflected on the impact of Making Love forty years later. 

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Harry Hamlin, prolific actor and husband to Real Housewives star Lisa Rinna, shared in a recent interview with People that homophobia might've put a quick end to his movie career. 

Hamlin starred in the 1982 film Making Love and played the role of Bart, a writer who meets a young doctor named Zack and awakens a repressed attraction within him. The two form a relationship despite Zack's marriage to a woman named Claire. Domestic chaos ensues. 

"I was told by a lot of people, you can't do that movie," Hamlin reflected. "I think it had been offered to pretty much everybody in town and everyone had turned it down because they thought it might be damaging to their careers."

Hamlin wanted to tackle more serious and meaningful roles and decided to move forward with it, despite worries that people might think he was gay himself. "Even though I was told by my friends not to do it, my agent said I should," he reflected. His agent thought, "'Everyone knows you're straight so you're going to be okay.' But I didn't really pay much attention to any of that noise. I thought it was interesting and bold. I was attracted to that."

Making Love was panned at the time and now, he seems sure that it was the movie that "ended my film career."

"For years, I'd think was that the reason why I stopped getting calls? And finally realized that was the last time I ever did a movie for a studio. I've done independent films but never a studio film. I had been doing nothing but studio films and basically going out on all the castings for all the movies. That stopped completely."

In Hamlin's mind, the abrupt ending was rooted in the fear of audiences perceiving him as gay and no longer believing him with any female love interests. "I think the perception at the time was that anybody who could play gay must be gay," he said. "Once they saw there could be some confusion about my sexuality, then they just said they didn't want to take the chance."

Hamlin has had a successful life and career despite the challenges he faced, and even thinks Making Love "never really got the attention that I think it probably deserves, given the time in which it was released." 

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Taylor Henderson

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one! 

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one!