British actor Sir Ian McKellen, who was knighted for his outstanding contributions to theater in 1991, has dismissed claims that gay actors should remain closeted.

McKellen made the case for openly gay actors in an interview with celebrity website

The outspoken 71-year-old McKellen, who came out gay in 1988, said being honest is a matter of happiness.

“If you're going around telling a lie you may get by but you won't be half as happy as you would be if you came out,” the Oscar-nominated actor said.

He added: “I don't think any gay person is going to be happy and bring joy to themselves and other people unless they can be honest about their sexuality, and if other people don't like that honesty, that's a comment on them and not on the person who is being honest.”

The star of The Lord of the Rings and X-Men said out actors can still keep their lives private: “You don't have to talk about what you do in bed anymore than I have to talk about the food I eat.”