Harry Hamlin says playing a gay man in 1982 wrecked his movie career

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Harry Hamlin (Credit: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Harry Hamlin has said that his decision to play the role of a gay man in the 1982 movie Making Love seriously damaged his career.

Hamlin was best known for his role in the classic fantasy Clash of the Titans before taking up the part of an openly gay man who embarks on an affair with a married doctor who is hiding his homosexuality from his wife.

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It was the first ever movie love story involving a homosexual plot made by a major studio, 20th Century Fox.

Speaking to the It Happened In Hollywood podcast, Hamlin said that 'everyone in town' had said no to the role before he took it on, and it was 'exactly the kind of movie' he wanted to make at the time.

“I wanted to do something that’s relevant and edgy, cutting edge,” he said.

Harry Hamlin in Making Love (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

“Overall, in terms of how the way that film was received, it was too early. It was like 10 years too early and it completely ended my career. That was the last studio picture I ever did. The door shut with a resounding smash.”

However, he added that while it was not the best career move at the time, the part still resonates in his life today.

“I’m very proud of the movie and not a week goes by that people don’t come up to me and — I’m serious about this: in the supermarket, on the street — and they thank me for making that movie,” he went on.

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Hamlin's movie career did indeed fall off a cliff after making the film, after which he made his name on TV instead, notably on the legal drama LA Law.

In recent years, he's had a resurgence however, starring in the US remake of Shameless and notably as suave advertising executive Jim Cutler in Mad Men, for which he was nominated for an Emmy.

He also starred in cult shows like Veronica Mars with Kristen Bell and Glee.