Let’s face it, as television viewers we grow attached to the gay characters that resonate with us on the small screen, and with the actors that bring life to these roles. We also find ourselves growing fond of out-and-proud actors that have opted to play it straight – that’s why it’s called acting, people – and vice versa.
So when their shows are cancelled or taken off the air before they “wear out their welcome” (whatever, I still miss Sex and the City on Sunday nights, ok?), it can be a little bit difficult to see them slide into other TV roles easier than Lindsay Lohan checking into another rehab (I’m rootin’ for you, girl).
Alas, sometimes that isn’t always the case, which might have you asking yourself, “Where are they now?” In some cases for these actors, it could be taken as a query of, “Where did they disappear to?”
But for curiosity’s (and manner’s) sake, I like to opt for the former and not the latter.
And with that burning question (no trip to the doctor is necessary for said burning question), firmly implanted in my mind, let’s take a look at, well, where they are now for the TV set.
Get ready to play catch up with 12 actors that represented us on the small screen, why they made their respective impacts, and how they have sustained their careers.
Mitchell Anderson, Party of Five
Openly gay thespian Mitchell Anderson began his time on
TV during the 1980s with minor one-off roles by playing character with names
like “Butchie” and “Rod,” (I’ll just let those sink in), prior to his series regular internship as Dr. Jack McGuire (alongside another pre-out actor, Neil Patrick Harris) on Doogie Howser, M.D.
In 1996, Anderson’s professional and personal worlds melded into a perfect symmetry. At the time, he was on the Fox drama Party of Five as Ross Werkman, who was teaching Claudia
Salinger (Lacey Chabert) the finer points of the violin, as her gay music teacher. And to show that he was in tune with the character he played for 22 episodes during the six-year run of
the series, Anderson publicly came out during the GLAAD Media Awards in March of that year.
It also afforded the actor the opportunity to become an activist for a wealth of GLBT causes, then after he worked on a few more projects, including the cult favorite show Popular, Mitchell capped off his two decade acting career in 2000 with a guest spot on Showtime’s Beggars and Choosers.
TV’s loss of the openly gay actor is Atlanta’s gain, as Anderson is now happy living with his partner of many years, Richie Arpino. He also cites being a restaurateur as his “new outlet for my artistic passion.”
Michael Boatman, Spin City
Prior to playing an out mayoral aide on Spin City, Michael Boatman
was a very “private” actor. Well, in the sense that he was known for his role as Pvt. Samuel Beckett on China Beach.
Boatman was an integral part of the ensemble sitcom, which over the course of six seasons starred Michael J. Fox, Carla Gugino, Alan Ruck, Heather Locklear, Charlie Sheen and Barry Bostwick as The Beaver, err, The Mayor of New York City.
His Carter Heywood character was the mayor’s head of minority affairs, while his private life saw him dealing with his suicidal dog named Rags, and bonding with Ruck’s sexist chief of staff. The two polar opposites eventually wound up as besties and roomies.
Boatman’s depiction was one of the few gay men of color on the tube at the time, and he has the noteworthy honor of being the first primetime black cast regular of “our kind” for the TV set.
The married father of four shows no signs of having played-it-not-so-straight slowing down his career with any semblance of typecasting. His post Spin City life has seen him play a variety of characters, with
guest shots on everything from showing up on Law & Order: SVU to Hannah Montana.
In the past few years, the actor has been prominently featured as Sherri Shepherd’s love interest, Dr. Randy Gregg on Sherri and attorney Julius Cain on The Good Wife. Boatman is slated to appear later this year on Gossip Girl.