Another milestone in what’s turning out to be Gay Hollywood’s biggest year: Former kid actor Danny Pintauro has come out. Pintauro, who played whiny pip-squeak Jonathan Bower on the 1984-92 Tony Danza TV series Who’s the Boss?, publicly announced in the July 15 issue of the National Enquirer that he was gay. Okay, even Pintauro admits his revelation was hardly Ellen part deux. ”Everyone had already heard about it,” says Pintauro, who will be a senior at Stanford University this fall. ”And I’ve heard people say ‘We knew you were gay all along from your character.”’
Still, in a year when Ellen DeGeneres (and her girlfriend, Anne Heche) boldly declared, ”Yep, I’m Gay,” and out actor Rupert Everett became a star, Pintauro’s announcement is notable. Chastity Bono, entertainment media director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, who has never spoken to Pintauro, feels his decision is a direct result of Ellen aftershock. ”Any time any ‘first’ happens it opens the door for other people to follow,” says Bono. ”I’m hoping we’ll look back years from now and we’ll see sexual orientation as a nonissue in the TV industry.”
What remains to be seen is whether coming out will give Pintauro even a fraction of the boost it gave to DeGeneres. ”I had no intention to come out to bring my career back,” he says, having yet to receive any acting offers. ”But if having my name out there reminds someone of me, well, then that’s great, right?” Yep, he’s available.