13 LGBT Roles That Didn't Kill These A-List Actors' Careers

Will playing gay ruin your acting career? Don't tell that old trope to these big Hollywood names.



Plenty of Hollywood A-Listers shatter the notion that it's dangerous to take roles playing LGBT characters. In fact, some of our most iconic actors have played LGBT roles, and it doesn't seem to have slowed them down a bit. Here are a few whose names you just might happen to recognize.


Al Pacino — Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
John Wojtowicz was larger than life and would do anything for love. That's exactly what Al Pacino's portrayal as Sonny Wortzik, based on Wojtowicz, conveys in this gritty account of a botched bank robbery, all with the purpose of raising cash to pay for his trans partner's operation.


Meryl Streep — Manhattan (1979)
In one of her earliest roles, Meryl Streep was the seductive and tough-talking Jill in Manhattan, Woody Allen's follow-up to Annie Hall. Streep has, of course, gone on to make incredible films and win tons of awards for her performances, but early on she nailed this role as Isaac's (Allen's) ex-wife and a voice of reason.


Cher — Silkwood (1983)
By 1983, Cher was already a star, but in this biographical account of the unsolved death of Karen Silkwood, Cher's performance as Dolly Pelliker is authentic and heartbreaking. She won a Golden Globe for her performance and was nominated for an Oscar as well, for good reason.


William Hurt  Kiss Of The Spider Woman (1985)
William Hurt won the Academy Award for his sensitive portrayal of Molina, a window dresser imprisoned in Brazil for homosexual activity with a minor during the country’s military dictatorship. The outstanding Raul Julia costars as Molina’s cellmate Arregui, a political dissident to whom Molina obsessively retells the plot to his favorite melodramatic movie, about a dangerously glamorous spider woman (Sonia Braga). Molina falls for Arregui even as their jailers offer Molina a lighter sentence to spy on the revolutionary. Eventually the men form a bond that can only end in tragedy.