Nathan Lane recently revealed during his appearance on ‘Sunday Today’ that the late Robin Williams saved him from being outed back in 1996.
At the time, the two actors were on a press tour for their film ‘The Birdcage,’ directed by Mike Nichols. Lane and Williams portrayed a gay couple in the comedy movie, which was one of the former’s first major film roles.
Lane was nervous about doing an interview on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show,’ as he was not yet ready to publicly come out as gay.
“I was not prepared at all for that. And I certainly wasn’t ready to go from table-to-table and tell them all I was gay. I just wanted to talk about finally [getting] a big part in a movie, and I didn’t want to make it about my sexuality,” he recalled.
Discussing his sexuality in real life was “sort of unavoidable” because he played a gay role in the film, so he talked to Williams about it before the interview.
“I don’t think Oprah was trying to out me, but I said to Robin beforehand, ‘I’m not prepared. I’m so scared of going out there and talking to Oprah. I’m not prepared to discuss that I’m gay on national television. I’m not ready.’ He said, ‘Oh, it’s alright, don’t worry about — we don’t have to talk about it. We won’t talk about it,’” Lane shared.
The actor continued by telling what happened to the interview with Winfrey, recalling:
“She was like, ‘How come you’re so good at that girlie stuff? Are you worried about being typecast?’”
Lane remembered that Williams “sort of swoops in and diverts Oprah, goes off on a tangent and protects me because he was a saint.” He further described the late actor as a “beautiful, sensitive soul.”
So interesting to hear Nathan Lane remember how Robin Williams swooped in to protect Nathan from being outed before he was ready during the promo tour for The Birdcage in 1996. Here's the moment when it happened, and Nathan reflecting on it almost 30 years later: https://t.co/nRWKRvZJWg pic.twitter.com/be7wS8yXb9
— Matt Baume (@MattBaume) March 28, 2023