It's one gay actor versus three. Alan Cumming disagrees with Glee star Jane Lynch, Rupert Everett and Richard Chamberlain on whether Hollywood actors should remain in the closet.

Lynch, who stars as sharp-tongued coach Sue Sylvester on the Fox musical-comedy Glee, has rejected claims that openly gay actors can't get work in Hollywood, but added that gay people don't often play straight roles because audiences wouldn't find it believable.

The openly gay actress told gay entertainment website, “I do think the straight folks will continue to play the straight roles,” effectively supporting British actor Everett's claim that coming out gay can kill an actor's career.

In an interview with gay glossy The Advocate, Chamberlain, who came out gay at the age of 69 in his 2003 memoir Shattered Love, advised as much.

“There's still a tremendous amount of homophobia in our culture,” he said. “It's regrettable, it's stupid, it's heartless, and it's immoral, but there it is. For an actor to be working is a kind of miracle, because most actors aren't, so it's just silly for a working actor to say, 'Oh, I don't care if anybody knows I'm gay' – especially if you're a leading man.”

“Personally, I wouldn't advise a gay leading man-type actor to come out.”

Cumming, who stars on the CBS legal drama The Good Wife, called the advice “mean-spirited.”

“If you're living a lie, that's not healthy, and I think it is really irresponsible of [Chamberlain] and Rupert to say these things,” he told UK daily The Guardian.

“It's about your work … It's about how you exist as a person in the world, and the idea that your work is more important than you as a person is a horrible, horrible message,” he added. “I always think about a little gay boy in Wisconsin or a little lesbian in Arkansas seeing someone like me, and if I cannot be open in my life, how on Earth can they?”

“Anyway, it's an academic question: how can you know [that coming out kills your career]? Some people get less work than others, and it has nothing to do with sexuality,” Cumming said.

(Cumming celebrates his 46th birthday on Thursday.)