10/28/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Out In Hollywood: Starring Roles Still Rare

Hollywood, with its depictions of cowboy lovers and lesbian neighbors, has done much to make gay men and women part of mainstream American life.

At the same time, gay actors like Neil Patrick Harris and T. R. Knight play heterosexual characters on TV and in film, while couples -- Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi -- are covered by celebrity magazines as if they were any old romance.

"We've gone from the revolution to the evolution," said Howard Bragman, a longtime Hollywood publicist who is gay and has advised actors like Amanda Bearse, of "Married ... With Children" and Dick Sargent of "Bewitched" on how to handle their coming out.

Yet for most gay actors, Hollywood is not a warm and fuzzy episode of "Will & Grace." Today, it is certainly more acceptable to be openly gay. But these actors must still answer wrenching questions: Just how candid do you want to be? Would you be happy appearing only in comedies, or being pigeonholed as a character actor? And what does the line "You're just not right for the role" really mean?

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