Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Alan Cumming

Actor Alan Cumming, who plays Eli Gold on CBS’ acclaimed series The Good Wife, recently signed a deal to continue as a regular cast member. The Good Wife, now in its third season, was partly inspired by the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal and other prominent American political sex scandals, particularly those of John Edwards and Bill Clinton.

Cumming joined The Good Wife as a recurring character in the first season and was upped to a regular for the second season. Cumming’s character of cutthroat political operative Eli Gold, based on former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, was an immediate standout when he was introduced in the first season. He earned a guest-starring Emmy nomination last year.

Cumming is a Scottish-born stage, television and film actor, singer, writer, director, producer and author. He attained dual U.S. citizenship in 2008 after marrying his partner Grant Shaffer, a graphic designer, in 2007. The couple resides in New York City. Prior to the civil union, Cumming dated both men and women, including a two-year relationship with actress Saffron Burrows, a six-year relationship with male theater director Nick Philippou, and a 1985 marriage to actress Hilary Lyon that lasted eight years.

Once he outed himself as bisexual in 1998, Cumming promoted LGBT rights, emceeing and attending fundraisers for organizations such as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), as well as several AIDS charities.

Cumming was appointed an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to film, theatre and the arts and activism for LGBT rights. In 2005 he received the Vito Russo Award at the 16th Annual GLAAD Media Awards for outstanding contributions toward eliminating homophobia. In July of the same year he was presented with the HRC's Humanitarian Award in San Francisco, also for his LGBT public stance. In 2006 Cumming received a Doctor of Arts honorary degree from the University of Abertay Dundee (Scotland). He also is a patron of the Scottish Youth Theatre, Scotland's National Theatre “for and by” young people.


Classically trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Cumming’s career bounces all over the place. Although he has received accolades for performing Shakespeare on stage, he has accepted roles in real cinematic clinkers (Garfield the Movie, Josie and the Pussycats, and Burlesque from among a long list).

He is a man of strong opinions. When talking about Richard Chamberlain's comment: "I wouldn't advise a gay leading man-type actor to come out", Cumming goes ballistic. “Rupert Everett made the same point in a radio interview, saying he never got a job in Hollywood, and never got a job in England, after coming out. Well, I think it's so mean-spirited," says Cumming. "If you're living a lie, that's not healthy, and I think it is really irresponsible of Chamberlain and Rupert to say these things. But it's not about your work," he says scornfully.

"It's about how you exist as a person in the world, and the idea that your work is more important than you as a person is a horrible message. I always think about a little gay boy in Wisconsin or a little lesbian in Arkansas seeing someone like me, and if I cannot be open in my life, how on earth can they? Anyway, it's an academic question: how can you know that coming out affects your career? Some people just get less work than others, and it has nothing to do with sexuality."

In this clip from a British television talk show, Alan discusses getting an OBE, his husband Grant, voting for Obama and singing for the National AIDS trust. He also sings “That’s Life” and tells about his becoming an American citizen. All in under nine minutes.

1 comment:

  1. I loved watching Alan become a star and his Mother has every right to be proud of his acheivements ,I hope you go on from strength to strength and I will enjoy following you .

    ReplyDelete