BY Brandon Voss
December 21 2010 8:10 PM ET
It’s been reported that Michael Gross from Family Ties will appear in an upcoming episode as a gay character who somehow comes between Jonathan and Saul. Did you ever imagine that you’d be involved in a gay love triangle on prime-time TV at the age of 76?
[Laughs] That’s very funny. No, it hadn’t really occurred to me until now. But I can’t say much more about it.
David Marshall Grant, head show runner of Brothers & Sisters, is also a gay man. Has he helped you develop your character?
Yes, everybody’s been incredibly helpful. Everyone over there is so into each other and for each other. It’s a real family.
You’ve played an HIV-positive gay character before, haven’t you?
In the 1997 straight-to-DVD indie A River Made to Drown In.
Oh, of course. Along with everyone else, I’d almost forgotten that.
It must be a different experience to play an HIV-positive gay man as an out actor in 2010.
It’s actually not different at all. I’m just playing a human being. One of the things I love about Brothers & Sisters is that all the characters on the show are absolutely equal and, in a sense, like everybody else. The audience sees gay people and straight people on a very leveled playing field, and that’s very useful for the American public, who sometimes doesn’t see things that way.
But when playing an HIV-positive character, do you feel an added sense of responsibility to represent that community truthfully and respectfully?
No, not added, because I play a character with truth and respect anyway. There’s no other way to approach a character. From an actor’s point of view, all characters are totally worthy of loving respect. Besides, both Saul and Jonathan are quite used to taking their meds and feeling healthy, so I don’t think it’s something that they think about that much. Once we deal with the original possibility of Jonathan having given it to Saul, I don’t find myself thinking about being an HIV-positive character at all when I’m playing scenes.
You were a sexually active gay man long before you came out. How has the AIDS crisis affected you personally?
I’ve lost a couple of friends, but not many, thank God.
Since coming out, you’ve played gay roles on Nip/Tuck, Desperate Housewives, Will & Grace —
My character wasn’t gay in Will & Grace. They all thought he was gay, but he was actually straight.
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Arts & Entertainment Week in Beef: Ben Cohen, Frank Ocean, Hugh Jackman, and More Shirtless Celebs May 19 2013 6:02 PM
- Sports Griner: Baylor Coach Enforced Closet Policy May 19 2013 5:59 PM
- Politicians Gay Activists Interrupt Marco Rubio Speech May 19 2013 2:03 PM
- Hate-crimes WATCH: Vigil for Hate Crime Victim Mark Carson May 19 2013 1:01 PM
- Comedy WATCH: The Cure for Gay Wedding-Related Depression May 19 2013 12:39 PM
- Television WATCH: Did Stefon Marry Seth Meyers or Anderson Cooper? May 19 2013 12:32 PM
- Crime Gay Man Gunned Down in NYC Street, Dies UPDATED: May 18 2013 7:24 PM