Harry Hamlin thinks playing a gay man 'ended his career.'

Harry Hamlin on playing a gay character as a straight man credit:Bang Showbiz
Harry Hamlin on playing a gay character as a straight man credit:Bang Showbiz

Harry Hamlin thinks playing a gay character 'ended his career.'

The 70-year-old actor - who is married to 'Real Housewives' star Lisa Rinna -played the role of gay writer Bart McGuire in the 1982 film 'Making Love' and was advised by "a lot of people" to avoid the role because of his own sexuality.

He said: "I was told by a lot of people, you can't do that movie. 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.

"Even though I was told by my friends not to do it, my agent said I should."

The 'Clash of the Titans' star - who has daughters Delilah, 23 and Amelia, 20, with Lisa as well as son Dimitri, 41, from his previous marriage to Ursula Andress - went on to explain that work dried up when studios became concerned about potential audience "confusion" after he had played a gay character as a straight man.

He told PEOPLE: "The [negative reception] ended my career. For years, I'd think 'Was that the reason why I stopped getting calls?' And finally realised 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. As far as the film business sort of shutting the door, I think it just had to do with the fact of the studio system being a closed system and once they saw there could be some confusion about my sexuality, then they just said they didn't want to take the chance."

"If they were contemplating having me be a love interest to a young female star, the thought was, 'How is the audience going to react?' Even though I was straight, I think the perception at the time was that anybody who could play gay must be gay."