Prying open the closet

Tome includes biz vets like actor Butler, publicist Bragman

Young Hollywood may be a little more closeted than you think.

So discovered Robert Trachtenberg as he compiled his book “When I Knew,” an alternately humorous and poignant collection of anecdotes pinpointing the exact moment their authors realized they were gay.

Published by Regan Books, the tome includes industry vets like actor Dan Butler, publicist Howard Bragman, scribe-critic Gavin Lambert and 86-year-old writer Arthur Laurents.

And while there are non-pros of all ages (an attorney, a restaurateur, a softball coach), the biggest hurdle was in getting the younger faces of Hollywood to open up.

“People who I know are gay — working actors who show up at screenings and premieres with their partners — were still really, really hesitant and in many cases wouldn’t do it,” says Trachtenberg, a photographer and filmmaker (“Cary Grant: A Class Apart”). “They really felt it would jeopardize their getting work. And I had to respect that.”

He estimates that for every 10 actors he approached, about five were reticent or refused outright.

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