- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2018

Actor Ian McKellen says at least 50 percent of his Hollywood peers are gay.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) recently admonished Tinseltown in a report on LGBT representation, but comments by Mr. McKellen, who plays “Gandalf” in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, suggests the issue is a bit more complicated.

Mr. McKellen, who has been openly about his sexuality for years, said the entertainment industry’s LGBT representation far exceeds its percentage of the population as a whole.

“Nobody looks to Hollywood for social commentary, do they?” he deadpanned for a Time Out interview published Tuesday when asked about the dearth of gay characters in blockbusters. “They only recently discovered that there were black people in the world. Hollywood has mistreated women in every possible way throughout its history. Gay men don’t exist.”

Mr. McKellen, whose credits also include iconic roles in the “X-Men” movies, said that his 1998 role in “Gods and Monsters” may have been the start of Hollywood’s acceptance of the LGBT community.

“[That film] was the beginning of Hollywood admitting that there were gay people knocking around, even though half of Hollywood is gay,” he said.

The actor added that he was only turned down for one role because of his sexuality over the years.

“Harold Pinter wanted me to be in a film of his [1983’s ‘Betrayal’], and he took me to meet the producer, Sam Spiegel,” Mr. McKellen told the publication. “We sat in Spiegel’s office and I happened to say that I was going to New York. He said, ‘Will you be taking the family?’ And I said, ‘I don’t have a family, I’m gay.’ I think it was the first time I came out to anyone. Well, I was out of that office in two minutes. It took Pinter 25 years to apologize for not sticking up for me. But young actors in London now have all been out for years. That’s the future.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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