Laura Dern said appearing in the historic coming-out episode of the sitcom “Ellen” more than two decades ago was “an incredible honor.” However, the actor recently revealed that she lost work and needed a “full security detail” following its airing.
“I didn’t think twice about it. It was a great opportunity,” Dern said in a recent interview with New York magazine of her decision to play Ellen DeGeneres’ love interest on the show.
However, after accepting the role, Dern said “calls started coming in” from advisers in Hollywood “who were out gay men” telling her not to take the part. “A lot of people in my life were really worried,” she added.
Dern said she shrugged off their concerns, believing them to be “ridiculous” at the time. In the landmark “The Puppy Episode,” which aired April 30, 1997, Dern guest-starred as Susan, a lesbian who helps Ellen realize she is also gay. The episode, which was estimated to have been watched by 42 million people and which won a Peabody and an Emmy, marked the first time a gay character was featured as a lead on television.