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Graham Norton 'pretended to be shocked' when Barry Manilow came out as gay
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Graham Norton 'pretended to be shocked' when Barry Manilow came out as gay

Graham Norton has revealed singer Barry Manilow told him he was gay over dinner months before coming out publicly - and he had to pretend to be surprised.

When the Copacabana singer confided in him, Norton admits it was 'very hard' to choose a facial expression to react as he had long presumed he was gay anyway.

The 57 year old presenter says he thought it 'insane' that Manilow, now 77, had waited so long to go public.

Speaking on the How To Wow podcast, Norton said: "I was so glad I was out before I had any public profile, because I think that must be such a weird thing of having to decide.

"I remember I had dinner with Barry Manilow, and he came out to me at the dinner.

"It's very hard to choose a facial expression for that news, because you don't want to rude and go 'duh'.

"I feel I can talk about this, because he has come out now - he is publicly gay.

"But for years, he wasn't. His private life was very private. He sort of took me into his confidence.

"To me, that's sort of insane: that Barry Manilow still is having those conflicts in his head about 'what will my fans think?'

"Presumably, there are fans who were shocked, I don't know.

"People thought Liberace was straight to the end, so who knows."

Manilow came out in April 2017, revealing he had wed his manager Garry Kief in 2014.

Norton - whose real name is Graham Walker - said he moved to London, where he studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama, to 'move where the gays were' after his strict protestant upbringing in Ireland.

He said: "I came out in a world that was immediately accepting.

"[American comedian] Sam Kinison used to do this routine about famine.

"He was a real angry shouty, comic... he used to scream.

"He would do this routine about famine, and he would go 'move where the food is. You live in a desert, move where the food is.'

"So I moved where the gays were, because in London there were lots of them.

It was a ready-made gay world."

Norton has won five BAFTA TV Awards for The Graham Norton Show, which succeeded Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on BBC One in 2010.
Note: No trees were destroyed in the sending of this contaminant free message. However, I do concede, a significant number of electrons may have been inconvenienced.
I was wondering at the time when he came out as I just assumed he was always "out". His career began when Bette Midler found him at the Continental Baths in NYC which was a gay bathhouse where he was just another one of the boys - she performed there early in her career.

I assumed that not alot, if any, straight men hung out at a gay bathhouse
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