Nathan Lane Tells Story Of Robin Williams ‘Protecting’ Him From Being Outed On National Television

Robin Williams And Nathan Lane In 'The Birdcage'

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When it comes to celebrity deaths over the last decade or so, there have been few, if any, that have resonated with the public as deeply as Robin Williams.

Not only was Williams a deeply talented and unique performer, but he was also widely known as being an incredibly decent man. While there are virtually endless stories of his decency out there, one of the most famous is what he did for his buddy Christopher Reeve after he was tragically paralyzed.

And still, despite the fact that it’s now been almost a decade since Williams left us, new stories of his unending empathy continue to come out, as actor and longtime Broadway star Nathan Lane recently detailed the time Williams “protected him” from being outed as gay while appearing on Oprah.

“I don’t think Oprah was trying to out me, but I said to Robin beforehand, ‘I’m not prepared. I’m so scared of going out there and talking to Oprah. I’m not prepared to discuss that I’m gay on national television. I’m not ready,’” Lane said. “He said, ‘Oh, it’s alright, don’t worry about — we don’t have to talk about it. We won’t talk about it,”” Lane said during a recent appearance on NBC’s Sunday today.

“She was like, ‘How come you’re so good at that girlie stuff? Are you worried about being typecast?’” Lane recalled.

Lane said Williams — who he called a “beautiful, sensitive soul” — “sort of swoops in and diverts Oprah, goes off on a tangent and protects me because he was a saint.”

Lane and Williams starred together (alongside the legendary Gene Hackman, as well) in the 1996 comedy The Birdcage. You can find his full interview on Sunday Today below:

RELATED: This Iconic Clip Of Robin Williams Accepting An Award For A Stoned Jack Nicholson And Slaying Hollywood’s Most Powerful People Is A Must-Watch

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Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him