Kristy McNichol has not made a movie or been on a television show for more than 20 years.
And yet, when the former star of the 70s TV drama Family and the 80s sitcom Empty Nest had her publicist release a statement on Friday in which she publicly came out, it was still big news.
Gay Star News asked some of the famous gay people participating in this month's TV Critics Winter Press Tour for their thoughts on McNichol coming out and the reaction was uniformly positive.
'It's awesome. Great!' said BD Wong, the former Law & Order: SVU star who has just joined the cast of the new NBC drama Awake.
Wong, a Tony winner for M Butterfly, has been out publicly for more than a decade and is the author of Finding Foo, a book about he and his former partner's quest to become parents through surrogacy.
His Awake co-star, Cherry Jones, was equally enthusiastic about McNichol's news.
'She's such a cutie pie,' Jones said. 'God love her, that's fantastic.'
Jones, an Emmy winner for her role as President of the U.S. on 24, famously kissed then-girlfriend Sarah Paulson on the lips when she won her second Tony Award in 2005 for the play Doubt.
She says she was never really in the closet but that no one in the media ever bothered to ask until she was starring on Broadway in The Heiress, the play that won Jones her first Tony.
She balked at answering because her girlfriend at the time was not yet out to her mother.
'The person was writing for a national newspaper and I thought, 'Oh, well this is different now.' she recalls. 'But the only person I was concerned about was my girlfriend's mama.'
McNichol has lived with partner Marti Allen, for two decades. While some have wondered what took McNichol so long to publicly acknowledge what had been an open secret, others say it is a very individual process.
'Everybody has their own time in terms of when they are feeling comfortable and no one can be forced to do it,' says producer Neil Meron, one of the producers of the new NBC series Smash. 'It's a realization that will hit or doesn't hit. Thank God [McNichol] embraced it at this point. It doesn't matter when as long as you embrace who you are.'