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OTRC: Richard Chamberlain to gay actors: Stay in closet

Richard Chamberlain appears in a scene from the series 'Leverage' in 2010. (TNT)

Richard Chamberlain, a gay 76-year-old American movie and television star who was a heartthrob in the 1960s, says he does not recommend homosexual actors to come out of the closet.

Chamberlain, who confirmed his own sexuality publicly in his autobiography in 2003, when he was 69, made his comments to The Advocate, U.S.-based national gay and lesbian magazine.

"There's still a tremendous amount of homophobia in our culture," he said. "For an actor to be working is a kind of miracle, because most actors aren't, so it's just silly for a working actor to say, 'Oh, I don't care if anybody knows I'm gay' - especially if you're a leading man. Personally, I wouldn't advise a gay leading man-type actor to come out."

Chamberlain made his comments months after a series of suicides by bullied gay teenagers, which have spurred many celebrities to record messages of support.

The actor is known for his title role in the 1960s series "Dr. Kildare" and the 1980s miniseries "The Thorn Birds" and "Shogun." He has also had guest spots on contemporary shows such as "Desperate Housewives" and "Leverage" and recently played an HIV-positive man on the ABC drama series "Brothers and Sisters."

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