John Barrowman talks gay TV, his favorite divas and life in Palm Springs

John Barrowman performs during his concert tour. Photo courtesy of Gavin Barker Associates.

Entertainer John Barrowman doesn’t mince words about his craft or being an openly gay actor in the U.S. and abroad. I recently chatted with him for the September issue of Desert Outlook, out Thursday at more than 160 locations across the Coachella Valley.

Barrowman — who may be best known for his work in television’s ”Doctor Who” and “Torchwood” — was down-to-earth, funny and unexpectedly effusive. Here’s an excerpt from our chat:

QUESTION: Actors who can sing and dance seem in demand in the States with the popularity of “Glee” and “Smash.” If you’ve seen these shows, what do you think of them?

I love them. I think that any show that brings diversity onto the screen, particularly in the way these shows are shown, I’m 100 percent behind.

America has the most gay men represented on television than any country in the world.  The only thing I wish they would do more often is not stereotype those gay men and women. It’s always the same type they choose. Rather than seeing camp, flouncy, girly men and butch heavy women, it would be nice to see other types. There are “lipstick lesbians,” pretty girls. There are butch guys, guys who are into sports.

Who’s your diva?

I’ve worked with a lot, with everybody from Stephanie Powers to Chita Rivera, Carol Channing, Betty Buckley. I would have to choose two divas — that’s solely because I did “Sunset Boulevard” with both of them and they were amazing. I have to say Betty Buckley and Elaine Paige.

They are two women who sing with their [who-ha]. It’s a thought that’s in your mind that makes you sing in a certain way. It really creates a huge difference in the vocal sound and how you present it on stage. I learned that lesson a long time ago. I learned that from vocal coach Roy Mote and Shirley Bassey. I always try to sing from my [junk].

Barrowman (left) relaxes with his partner, architect Scott Gill. Photo courtesy of Gavin Barker Associates.

Read the full interview with Barrowman in the September issue and at He has more to say about life and work as an actor who’s gay, and spending time in Palm Springs.