Nathan Lane Celebrates Robin Williams Bette Midler in LGBTQ Event
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Nathan Lane Celebrates Robin Williams Bette Midler in LGBTQ Event

Nathan Lane took center stage at the LGBTQ+ Celebration of Cinema & Television at Fairmont Century Plaza, reflecting on his journey and honoring the legacies of Robin Williams and Bette Midler. The event, hosted by the Critics Choice Association, celebrated the achievements of LGBTQ+ talent in the entertainment industry.

Lane, now 68, shared his experiences of coming out to his family at 21 and participating in Pride parades since the late 1970s. However, it was his role in Mike Nichols’ 1996 film “The Birdcage” that brought intense public scrutiny about his sexuality. “I wish I had been braver,” Lane admitted while accepting his career achievement award. He recalled an interview with Oprah Winfrey where she asked why he was so good at the “girly stuff” in “The Birdcage.” Lane reflected, “If I could go back, I’d say: ‘I’m a wonderful actor, and yes, I’m gay and proud of it.'”

Lane’s decision to come out publicly was influenced by the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998. “I had already come out personally, so why not publicly if it could help others?” he said. Lane’s courage has since been a beacon for many in the LGBTQ+ community.

The event saw a gathering of notable LGBTQ+ figures, including Abe Sylvia, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Chris Perfetti, Fernando Carsa, George Takei, Henry R. Muñoz III, Kristen Kish, Luke Gilford, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Nava Mau, Oliver Hermanus, Shakina, and the team from “Fellow Travelers.” The night was a testament to the diverse and vibrant talent within the LGBTQ+ community.

Lane took a moment to honor his late friend and “Birdcage” co-star, Robin Williams. “Robin told me, ‘Don’t worry, Nathan. You don’t have to discuss it if you’re not ready.’ He protected me whenever he could,” Lane shared. Williams’ support was crucial during a time when Lane was not ready to publicly discuss his sexuality.

Bette Midler also played a significant role in Lane’s journey. “Bette told me, ‘Don’t read that shit. You can find The Society to Assassinate Bette Midler online. What are you going to do? Fuck ’em!'” Lane recounted, highlighting Midler’s no-nonsense approach to dealing with public opinion.

The inaugural event, sponsored by Delta Air Lines, Fairmont Century Plaza, Fiji Water, Here Media, Milagro Tequila, NEP Sweetwater, and Starz, was hosted by Sherry Cola. It aimed to honor the contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals in front of and behind the camera. The celebration is part of the Critics Choice Association’s efforts to spotlight underrepresented talent, similar to their awards for Black, Latino, and Asian Pacific creatives. The LGBTQ+ show will stream on HereTV on June 21.

The night was filled with memorable moments, including the creative team from Showtime’s “Fellow Travelers” receiving a producers award, presented by Greg Berlanti. Charlize Theron posed with Sasha Velour, Stephen Warren, Jaida Essence Hall, Johnnie Ingram, Priyanka, Latrice Royale, and Peter LoGreco. George Takei accepted a social justice award, and Abe Sylvia received a showrunner award from Ricky Martin for his work on “Palm Royale.” Chris Perfetti was honored with a breakthrough performance award by Sheryl Lee Ralph for his role in “Abbott Elementary,” and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez accepted a Vanguard Award.

The event was a powerful reminder of the progress made and the work still to be done in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and representation. Lane’s reflections and the support of his friends like Robin Williams and Bette Midler underscore the importance of allyship and courage in the face of adversity.