David Hyde Pierce comes out of the closet

You may have heard already, but David Hyde Pierce, best known as Niles from the TV show “Frasier” is semi-officially out of the closet. 48 year-old Pierce now has a career as a successful Broadway star, and has been nominated for a Tony award for his role in the musical “Curtains.” He also appeared in “Spamalot,” and has extensive theatre experience that predates his time on “Frasier.”

In an article about Pierce’s career, details about his life partner are given in passing. While it doesn’t seem that notable, it’s really the first time his partner has been mentioned in print:

The 1980s in New York saw the flowering of such playwrights as Durang, Wendy Wasserstein, Mark O’Donnell and Richard Greenberg, and Pierce was fortunate to appear in plays by all of them. He worked at Playwrights Horizons, the Public Theater, Shakespeare in the Park and a lot of regional theaters such as the Guthrie in Minneapolis, Chicago’s Goodman and Long Wharf in New Haven, Conn. Pierce got to Los Angeles in the early 1990s when his partner, actor-writer-producer Brian Hargrove, wanted to write for television. A short-lived Norman Lear series, “The Powers That Be” led to “Frasier.” And the rest is, well …

The actor says he had no problem going from “Frasier” back into theater. ” ‘Frasier’ was theater,” he explains. “The show was written like it was a play, and we used a lot of theater actors on the show, people like Brian Bedford, Derek Jacobi, Marian Seldes.

“I loved playing Niles. People come up to me all the time because we are in reruns late night. But because we were on so long, people — I’m not so sure why this is, maybe people are just more sophisticated now — they get it. They know you are not really that person. They are just glad to see you.

” ‘Frasier’ was a good show. I can say when I watch it now, ‘Oh, this lasts.’ It was not specifically of its period. It’s still funny. There are not a lot of cultural references of the moment that would make the show lose its impact. It’s really about the characters and how they interact. And then, there’s that great writing. It still holds up.”

[From CNN.com, thanks to After Elton.com for the top.]

While Niles always seemed a bit too fussy to be straight, the way I saw it was that he was playing a character, as brother Frasier was very particular too. Those two just seemed like old biddies who had to have things their high-class way while their ex-cop father and his old chair served as funny contrast.

Supposedly a lot of people already knew that Pierce had a male partner, but it’s kind of nice that the news is coming out like this and is not met with much fanfare. While some say it’s no one’s business if a celebrity is gay or straight, it’s the type of information the public is interested in, but the news should be secondary to their career. (Not that we’re paying more attention to any celebrity careers here. It’s all about the gossip.)

Pierce’s admission is most likely deliberate. AfterElton.com notes that he was outed by columnist Michael Musto in an article in Out Magazine’s “Gay Power List” issue, which also outed Anderson Cooper and Jodie Foster on the cover.

David Hyde Pierce is an advocate for Alzheimer’s research and treatment, having watched both his father and grandfather suffer from the disease. He lives in LA with his partner Brian Hargrove and their two Wheaten Terriers, Maud and Mabel.

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