Nowadays actors are generally left to come out (or not) on their own terms, but back in the 90s it was still a scoop to forcibly out someone for no other good reason than trying to sell copies of newspapers and magazines. That happened to Chad Allen in 1996, at a time when he was fast becoming one of TVs hottest young stars as part of the cast of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Photographs of him kissing a man were sold to tabloid, and he was forced out whether he wanted to or not.
While many believe the ‘revelation’ hurt his post Dr. Quinn career by making it more difficult for him to get mainstream roles, he channeled the situation into becoming an LGBT activist, playing gay detective Donald Stratchey in a series on films, as well as continuing to take guest roles in the likes of Dexter and Criminal Minds.
However now, after more than three decades in the business (he got his first TV credit when he was just six, first finding success as a child in the sitcom Our House and as the autistic Tommy Westphall in St. Elsewhere), the 40-year-old has publicly revealed that he is leaving acting behind. Indeed it appears he’s not been actively pursuing roles for a couple of years while he’s been studying clinical psychology.
In a video which announced the news and in which he bids goodbye to his fansite, he says, “It’s been an incredible journey… working on the incredible shows that I’ve been able to work on over the years. I’m incredibly grateful and always will be… My life has taken me on a very different trajectory and after 30-plus years as an actor. I made a decision a couple of years ago to let go of that side of my life go and I’ve been focusing on my education.”
He does confirm though that he’s not leaving everything from his earlier life behind, as he will continue to raise funds for HIV-AIDS.
Hopefully this won’t be completely the last we see of him, as while Allen’s outing was cruel and unnecessary, it was also a significant moment, as it was one of the first times a young American actor was revealed to be gay while they still had ‘heart-throb’ status and Hollywood could see that it didn’t hurt the show he was part of. Hollywood may have completely dropped the ball with him after Dr. Quinn, but he’s undoubtedly a significant figure.
Take a look at his goodbye video below. [Read more…]