Despite the fact that viewers have reacted with barely a shrug to recent revelations that some top TV stars are gay, the industry in general remains wary of hiring openly gay actors, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Veteran actor Andre de Shields, who is gay, told the wire service that he is aware of gay casting directors who will not cast gay actors in straight roles. "Hollywood is one of the most homophobic places on the planet," de Shields told the A.P. "And these are the folks who could make the biggest difference in artists' lives." Another gay actor, Kevin Fabian, recalled auditioning successfully. "Then you go to network, and you have to sign your five-year deal first. I think that's where the real discussion is going on: 'We really liked him, but ... he's really funny, but ... how can we get him out there with the girls [for publicity photos] when he's sitting home with his boyfriend every day?'"
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.