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14 LGBTQ+ Celebrities Who Came Out in Old Age

Updated January 29, 2020 74.8k views14 items

Many trailblazing celebrities have come out as gay over the years, but only a handful have been brave enough to do it in old age. Although people have grown more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community over the years, there was definitely a time when it was "taboo" to discuss one's sexuality in the media. Most gay celebrities used to keep their sexuality on the down low, for fear of getting snubbed for certain roles in Hollywood. Thankfully, those incredibly repressive times are behind us, and several famous actors, musicians and politicians have come out at the age of 50 and over. A few LGBT+ celebs even came out in their 80s.

Who is the most famous LGBT+ celebrity who came out late in life? George Takei tops our list. In 2005, at the age of 68, George Takei came out with a statement to the Associated Press. He has since become a champion for gay rights all over the world. At the age of 82, Jim Nabors came out and married his partner of 40-years, Stan Cadwallader, in 2013.

Barry Manilow still hasn't officially come out as gay, but in 2015 – at the age of 71 – he married his longtime partner Garry Kief. Other gay men who came out late in life include Richard Chamberlain, Pat Patterson and Clive Davis.

Are you surprised at the number of older LGBT+ celebrities? Take a look at this list and get in on the conversation in the comments section.

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  • Photo: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

    On October 29, 2017, Kevin Spacey, at 58, tweeted he "had loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout [his] life, and [he chooses] now to live as a gay man." 

    Kevin Spacey Fowler (born July 26, 1959) is an American actor, producer, and singer. Spacey began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s, obtaining supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical acclaim in the 1990s that culminated in his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the neo-noir crime thriller The Usual Suspects (1995) and an Academy Award for Best Actor for the midlife crisis-themed drama American Beauty (1999). Spacey's other starring roles have included the comedy-drama film Swimming with Sharks (1994), the psychological thriller Seven (1995), the neo-noir crime film L.A. Confidential (1997), the drama Pay It Forward (2000), the science...  more

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    • In 2005, at the age of 68, George Takei came out with a statement to the Associated Press.
      George Hosato Takei (; born Hosato Takei, April 20, 1937) is an American actor, author, and activist. He is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. He also portrayed the character in six Star Trek feature films and one episode of Star Trek: Voyager. As of April 2018, his Facebook page has attracted over 10 million followers since he joined in 2011, and the account frequently shares photos with original humorous commentary. Takei is a proponent of LGBT rights and is active in state and local politics. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japan–United States relations, including his work with...  more

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      • At the age of 82, Jim Nabors came out and married his partner of 40-years, Stan Cadwallader, in 2013.
        James Thurston Nabors (June 12, 1930 – November 30, 2017) was an American actor, singer, and comedian. Nabors was born and raised in Sylacauga, Alabama, but he moved to southern California because of an asthmatic condition. He was discovered by Andy Griffith while working at a Santa Monica nightclub, and he later joined The Andy Griffith Show as Gomer Pyle. The character proved popular, and Nabors was given his own spin-off show, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Although Nabors was best known for his portrayal of Gomer Pyle, he became a popular guest on variety shows which showcased his rich baritone singing voice in the 1960s and 1970s, including frequent appearances on the Carol Burnett Show and two...  more

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        • Photo: Yoni S.Hamenahem / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
          Richard Chamberlain came out in his 2003 memoir Shattered Love. He was 64-years old at the time.
          George Richard Chamberlain (born March 31, 1934) is an American stage and screen actor and singer, who became a teen idol in the title role of the television show Dr. Kildare (1961–1966). He subsequently appeared in several TV mini-series, such as Shōgun (1980) and The Thorn Birds (1983), and was the first actor to play Jason Bourne (in the 1988 film The Bourne Identity). Chamberlain has also performed classical stage roles and worked in musical theatre....  more

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