Michael Urie looked back on his early experiences as a gay actor in Hollywood in a new interview with Frontiers.
The 33-year-old actor, who is currently starring in the Los Angeles production of "Buyer & Cellar," told the publication that "things were very different" when he began his seminal stint on "Ugly Betty" in 2006.
"I was encouraged to stay in the closet," he recalled. "This was before Neil Patrick Harris had come out. Even though I was playing an openly gay character, we thought we might want to keep the mystery of what I do behind closed doors."
Urie, who has since turned in acclaimed performances in "The Temperamentals" as well as "Angels in America" and "How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" on Broadway, said that coming out "has only aided my career."
"It might not be good for everyone, but I have gotten to play so many wonderful roles," he said. "If I at any point decide not to play gay characters anymore, I would work a lot less. To me, it’s way better to have jobs and get great parts."
Still, he added: "Unfortunately, I think coming out is still something actors known for certain kinds of roles have to think about. Audiences sometimes have a better sense of suspension of disbelief than people making the casting decisions do, though I can’t blame them for not taking big risks."
Urie offered similar sentiments in a 2011 interview with HuffPost Gay Voices.
"Every time another high-profile person comes out, it becomes less and less of a burden for actors," he said at the time," he said. "Sometimes I play gay characters, sometimes I play straight characters...I just think of myself as playing awesome characters."
Check out the full Frontiers interview with Michael Urie here.