Harry Hamlin still talking about how starring in “Making Love” allegedly ended his film career
Harry Hamlin went on to star in TV’s LA Law and to be named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in the years soon after he starred in Making Love. Certainly that might have jump-started whatever big film career he seems to think he was destined for after Clash of the Titans. Before that he has been one of the stars of King of the Mountain and was in Movie Movie in addition to some early television and stage work. I really am annoyed that every anniversary of the movie we have to hear the same old story. Good grief. Maybe 1983′s Blue Skies Again killed it!
Harry Hamlin Says Playing a Gay Man in Making Love ‘Ended My Film Career’: It Was ‘Ahead of Its Time’
In Making Love, Hamlin played the role of Bart, a writer who becomes romantically involved with Zack, a young doctor (played by Michael Ontkean)
NEW YORK – It’s been four decades since Harry Hamlin played a gay writer in 1982′s Making Love, a film about a same-sex affair — and the first of its kind for a major studio.
“I was told by a lot of people, you can’t do that movie,” says the actor, 70, reflecting on the film’s 40th anniversary. “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.”
“I didn’t see it that way,” Hamlin tells PEOPLE. “I was looking for something serious and something meaningful, rather than doing a movie about vampire bats invading a small town in in the Midwest, which is the type of fare I was being offered at the time.”
In Making Love, Hamlin played the role of Bart, a writer who becomes romantically involved with Zack, a young doctor (Michael Ontkean) married to Claire, a TV exec (Kate Jackson). “It was way ahead of its time,” he says.
“Even though I was told by my friends not to do it, my agent said I should,” he notes. “He said I was somewhat Teflon because I was out in the press having had a son with Ursula Andress. (Their son, Dmitri Hamlin is now 41.) And he said, ‘Everyone knows you’re straight so you’re going to be okay.’ But I didn’t really pay much attention to any of that noise. I thought it was interesting and bold. I was attracted to that.”
Looking back, he says the reception to the film “ended my film career.”
“For years, I’d think was that the reason why I stopped getting calls? And finally realized that was the last time I ever did a movie for a studio,” the actor says. “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.”
“It never really got the attention that I think it probably deserves, given the time in which it was released,” says Hamlin of the film.
Now married to Lisa Rinna, 58, of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, with whom he has two daughters, Delilah, 23, and Amelia, 20, Hamlin says, “The movie was panned and my performance was ignored. The reviews were all negative, pretty much.”
“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,” adds Hamlin. “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.”
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It couldn’t POSSIBLY be that you were a mediocre/dime a dozen actor. You did pretty well for yourself, given your limitations, so STFUA.
Tommy Marx says:
It is a shame. He made a movie that was the 11th biggest hit of the year (pretty impressive), but on the movie poster seven other stars (like Lawrence Olivier and Ursula Andress) have their names in bigger print, and the lasting fame/success of the film is inarguably the amazing effects of Ray Harryhausen. If people remember that he’s in the movie, I believe it’s more in the context of “that’s where the star of ‘L.A. Law’ got his start” than “that’s a Harry Hamlin movie”.
And does anyone notice that 1) he himself says he was only getting scripts for “vampire bats invading a small town in the Midwest” or similar movies and 2) Ursula Andress – one of the headlined stars of “Clash of the Titans” – was the mother of his child? Hmmm. I wonder if he had a leg up when it came to getting a role in the movie? Maybe he would have had a bigger career in the movies if he had impregnated Goldie Hawn, Jane Fonda and/or Debra Winger as well…
I enjoyed Hamlin in “L.A. Law” and “Veronica Mars”, but it’s a shame that he can’t talk about what fun he had doing the movie – I mean Jesus, he got to act with Kate Jackson!!! – and instead keeps whining about a lost career that was most probably never going to be his in the first place.