David Hyde Pierce, best known for playing Dr Frasier Crane’s effeminate brother Niles in the US TV series Frasier, has quietly come out of the closet.

A recent article by the Associated Press contained a brief reference, 16 paragraphs in, to Pierce’s long-term partner – the actor, writer and producer Brian Hargrove. Website AfterElton.com then contacted a representative for Pierce who confirmed the reference had not been a mistake.

The relationship was common knowledge in acting circles with the pair even hosting parties at their Los Angeles home. When asked about his sexuality in a 1993 interview Pierce retorted, “Basically, I don’t talk about my personal life.”

2007 is proving a bumper year for American actors coming out of the closet – Pierce following T.R. Knight and Neil Patrick Harris.

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