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Barry Manilow Opens Up About Coming Out and His Journey to Broadway

Barry Manilow Coming Out Broadway
Image: Shutterstock

In a candid interview the legendary musician discusses his personal life, career, and the debut of his Broadway musical, Harmony.


Barry Manilow opened up recently about coming out and his concerns that it would affect his personal and professional life.

The revered singer spoke with CNN’s Chris Wallace on his show Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? that streams on Max. Reflecting on the past, Manilow, born Barry Pincus, noted, “the public was not ready for anybody to come out” as gay in the 1970s. He added, “Now, being gay is no big deal. Back in the 70s, it would have killed a career.”

Manilow has enjoyed an illustrious career with hits like “Mandy,” “Looks Like We Made It,” and “Copacabana.” He also wrote the music for the recent Broadway show Harmony.

He came out publicly in 2017.

Manilow kept his personal life largely private, including his long-term relationship with Garry Kief, his manager and now-husband. The couple met in 1978 and married quietly in 2014. Manilow shared how Kief’s presence anchored him during the highs and lows of his career, helping him avoid the loneliness and potential pitfalls of fame.

Discussing his decision to come out in People magazine, Manilow told Wallace, “I think everybody knew that Garry and I were a couple all those years.”

He described the event as “a non-event” and expressed gratitude for the positive response, saying, “My fans, and frankly the public, they care about my happiness.”

Before his relationship with Kief, Manilow was married to Susan Deixler. Reflecting on it, he said, “I really did love her, but the gay thing was pretty strong.” The marriage, which ended due to his commitment to music rather than his sexuality, was annulled in 1966.

Manilow’s musical prowess extends beyond his pop hits. He noted the similarities between writing commercial jingles and pop songs.

“You’ve got to get a hook in 15 seconds that people will remember for a commercial, and the same goes for a pop song,” he said.

Manilow explained the genesis of “Copacabana,” initially joking about a nervous breakdown, but later acknowledged the mental health challenges of fame.

Adding to his varied career, Manilow, in collaboration with Bruce Sussman, recently ventured into Broadway.

Playbillreports that their musical Harmony made its Broadway debut on November 13, following previews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Directed and choreographed by Tony winner Warren Carlyle, the musical narrates the story of the Comedian Harmonists, a group in 1920s Germany.
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