Richard Chamberlain

Richard Chamberlain

Birth name: George Richard Chamberlain
Born: March 31, 1934
Age: 89
Birthplace: Beverly Hills, California, USA
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George Richard Chamberlain (born March 31, 1934) is an American stage and screen actor and singer, who became a teen idol in the title role of the television show Dr. Kildare (1961-66).

Since then, he has appeared in several mini-series such as Shōgun (1980) and The Thorn Birds (1983), and many successful films, and he has performed classical stage roles and worked in musical theatre.


Early life

Chamberlain was born in 1934 in Beverly Hills, California, the son of Elsa Winnifred (née von Benzon; later Matthews) and Charles Axiom Chamberlain, who was a salesman. In 1952, Chamberlain graduated from Beverly Hills High School and later attended Pomona College (class of 1956).


Chamberlain co-founded a Los Angeles-based theatre group, Company of Angels, and began appearing in television series in the 1950s. He was cast as Lt. Dave Winslow in "Chicota Landing", a 1960 episode of the NBC western series, Riverboat. In the story line, Juan Cortilla, a Mexican bandit played by Joe De Santis, is stormed from jail. Chamberlain, as United States Army Lieutenant Winslow, asks Grey Holden (lead series character played by Darren McGavin) to transport Cortilla and his men to a military garrison. Instead, Cortilla takes over Holden's vessel, the Enterprise, and its gunpowder. Connie Hines appears with Chamberlain as Lucy Bridges, and Ted de Corsia is cast as another bandit.

Less than a year later, in 1961, Chamberlain gained widespread fame as the young intern, Dr. Kildare, in the NBC/MGM television series of the same name, co-starring with Raymond Massey. Chamberlain's singing ability also led to some hit singles in the early 1960s, including the "Theme from Dr. Kildare" entitled "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight", which struck No. 10 according to the Billboard' Hot 100 Charts. Dr. Kildare ended in 1966, after which Chamberlain began performing on the theatre circuit. In 1966, he was cast opposite Mary Tyler Moore in the ill-fated Broadway musical Breakfast at Tiffany's, co-starring Priscilla Lopez, which, after an out-of-town tryout period, closed after only four previews. Decades later he returned to Broadway in revivals of My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music.

At the end of the 1960s, Chamberlain spent a period of time in England where he played in repertory theatre and in the BBC's Portrait of a Lady adaptation, becoming recognized as a serious actor. In 1969, he starred opposite Katharine Hepburn in the film The Madwoman of Chaillot. While in England, he took vocal coaching and in 1969 performed the title role in Hamlet for the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, becoming the first American to play the role there since John Barrymore in 1929. He received excellent notices and reprised the role for television in 1970 for the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

In the 1970s, Chamberlain enjoyed success as a leading man in films: The Music Lovers (1970), Lady Caroline Lamb (playing Lord Byron, 1973), The Three Musketeers (1973), The Lady's Not for Burning (1974), The Towering Inferno (in a villainous turn as a dishonest engineer, 1974), and The Count of Monte Cristo (1975). In The Slipper and the Rose (1976), a musical version of the Cinderella story, co-starring Gemma Craven, he displayed his vocal talents. A television film, William Bast's The Man in the Iron Mask (1977), followed. That same year, he starred in Peter Weir's film The Last Wave.

Chamberlain later appeared in several popular television mini-series (earning him a nickname of "King of the Mini-series"), including Centennial (1978-79), Shōgun (1980), and The Thorn Birds (1983) as Father Ralph de Bricassart with Rachel Ward and Barbara Stanwyck co-starring. In the 1980s, he appeared as leading man with King Solomon's Mines (1985) opposite newcomer Sharon Stone, and also played Jason Bourne/David Webb in the television film version of The Bourne Identity (1988).

Since 1990

Since the 1990s, Chamberlain has appeared mainly in television movies, on stage, and as a guest star on such series as ABC's The Drew Carey Show and Will & Grace. He starred as Henry Higgins in the 1993-94 Broadway revival of My Fair Lady. In the fall of 2005, Chamberlain appeared in the title role of Ebenezer Scrooge in the Broadway National Tour of Scrooge: The Musical. In 2006, Chamberlain guest-starred in an episode of the British drama series Hustle as well as season 4 of Nip/Tuck. In 2007, Chamberlain guest-starred in episode 80 (Season 4, Episode 8, "Distant Past") of Desperate Housewives as Glen Wingfield, Lynette Scavo's stepfather. In 2008 and 2009, he appeared as King Arthur in the national tour of Monty Python's Spamalot. In 2010, he appeared as Archie Leach in season 3, episode 3 of the series Leverage, as well as two episodes of season 4 of Chuck where he played a villain known only as The Belgian. Chamberlain has also appeared in several episodes of Brothers & Sisters, playing an old friend and love-interest of Saul's. He also appeared in the independent film We Are the Hartmans in 2011. In 2012, Chamberlain appeared on stage in the Pasadena Playhouse as Dr. Sloper in the play, The Heiress.

Personal life

Chamberlain was romantically involved with television actor Wesley Eure in the early 1970s. In 1977, he met actor-writer-producer Martin Rabbett, with whom he began a long-term relationship. This led to a civil union in the state of Hawaii, where the couple resided from 1986 to 2010 and during which time Chamberlain legally adopted Rabbett to protect his future estate. Rabbett and Chamberlain starred together in, among others, Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold, in which they played brothers Allan and Robeson Quatermain. In the spring of 2010 Chamberlain returned to Los Angeles to pursue career opportunities, leaving Rabbett in Hawaii, at least temporarily. Chamberlain was outed, at the age of 55, by the French women's magazine Nous Deux in December 1989, but it was not until 2003 that he confirmed his homosexuality, in his autobiography, Shattered Love (ISBN 0060087439).

Honors and awards

In 1962, Chamberlain won the Golden Apple Award for Most Co-operative actor. In 1963 he won a Golden Globe award for Best TV Star - Male for: Dr. Kildare (1961). He won the Photoplay Award for Most Popular Male Star for three consecutive years, including 1962, 1963, and 1964.

In 1980 he won the Golden Apple award for Male Star of the Year. In 1981 he won a Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Drama for: Shogun (1980). In 1982 he won the Clavell de Plata award at the Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival as Best Actor for The Last Wave (1977). In 1984 he won a Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV for: The Thorn Birds (1983). In 1985 he won the Aftonbladet TV Prize (Sweden) for Best Foreign TV Personality - Male.

On 12 March 2011, Chamberlain received the Steiger Award (Germany) for accomplishments in the arts.


Year Title Role Notes
1960 The Secret of the Purple Reef Dean Christopher
1960 Rescue 8 Unknown Episode: "High Explosive"
1960 Bourbon Street Beat Dale Wellington Episode: "Target of Hate"
1960 Gunsmoke Pete Episode: "The Bobsy Twins"
1960 Thriller Larry Carter Episode: "The Watcher"
1961-1966 Dr. Kildare Dr. James Kildare 191 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama
1961 A Thunder of Drums Lt. Porter
1961 The Deputy Jerry Episode: "Edge of Doubt"
1961 Whispering Smith Chris Harrington Episode: "Stain of Justice"
1963 Twilight of Honor David Mitchell
1965 Joy in the Morning Carl Brown
1967 The Portrait of a Lady Ralph Touchett 8 episodes
1968 Petulia David Danner
1969 The Madwoman of Chaillot Roderick
1970 Julius Caesar Octavius Caesar/Augustus
1970 The Music Lovers Tchaikovsky
1972 The Woman I Love King Edward VIII TV movie
1972 Lady Caroline Lamb Lord Byron
1973 The Three Musketeers Aramis
1974 The Lady's Not For Burning Thomas Mendip TV movie / filmed play
1974 The Last of the Belles F. Scott Fitzgerald TV movie
1974 The Towering Inferno Roger Simmons
1974 The Four Musketeers Aramis
1975 The Count of Monte Cristo Edmond Dantes TV movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1975 The Christmas Messenger Christmas Messenger Short film
1976 The Slipper and the Rose Prince Edward
1977 The Last Wave David Burton Nominated—Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1977 The Man in the Iron Mask Philippe and Louis XIV TV movie
1978 The Swarm Dr. Hubbard
1978-1979 Centennial Alexander McKeag 12 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama
1980 Shōgun Pilot-Major John Blackthorne 5 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1982 Murder by Phone Nat Bridger Aka Bells
1983 The Thorn Birds Ralph de Bricassart 4 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1983 "Cook and Peary: The Race to the Pole" Frederick Cook TV movie
1985 King Solomon's Mines Allan Quatermain
1985 Wallenberg: A Hero's Story Raoul Wallenberg TV movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1986 Dream West John Charles Fremont TV movie
1987 Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold Allan Quatermain
1987 Casanova Giacomo Casanova TV movie
1988 The Bourne Identity Jason Bourne/David Webb TV movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film
1989 The Return of the Musketeers Aramis
1989-1990 Island Son Dr. Daniel Kulani 19 episodes
1991 Aftermath: A Test of Love Ross Colburn TV movie
1991 Night of the Hunter Harry Powell TV movie
1993 Ordeal in the Arctic Captain John Couch TV movie
1995 Bird of Prey Jonathan Griffith
1996 The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years Ralph de Bricassart TV movie
1997 A River Made to Drown In Thaddeus MacKenzie
1997 All the Winters That Have Been Dane Corvin TV movie
1997 The Lost Daughter Andrew McCracken TV movie
2000 Touched by an Angel Everett/Jack Clay Episode: "The Face on the Bar Room Floor"
2002 The Drew Carey Show Maggie Wick 2 episodes
2004 The Pavilion Huddlestone
2005 Will & Grace Clyde Episode: "Steams Like Old Times"
2006 Blackbeard Governor Charles Eden TV movie
2006 Hustle James Whittaker Wright III Episode: "Whittaker Our Way Out"
2006 Strength and Honor Denis O'Leary
2006 Nip/Tuck Arthur Stiles Episode: "Blu Mondae"
2007 I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry Councilman Banks
2007 Desperate Housewives Glen Wingfield Episode: "Distant Past"
2010-2012 Leverage Archie Leach 2 episodes
2010 Chuck Adelbert De Smet 2 episodes
2010-2011 Brothers & Sisters Jonathan Byrold 5 episodes
2011 The Perfect Family Monsignor Murphy
2011 We Are the Hartmans Hartman
2011 Thundercats Zigg Episode: "Forest of Magi Oar"
2015 Justice League: Gods and Monsters Highfather Voice


From Richard Chamberlain Sings: - UK #8

  • "Theme from Dr. Kildare (Three Stars Will Shine Tonight)" (1962) - US #10; UK #12
  • "Love Me Tender" (1962) - US #21; UK #15
  • "All I Have to Do Is Dream" (1963) - US #14
  • "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo" (1963) - US #64; UK #20
  • "I Will Love You" (1963) - US #65
  • "True Love" (1963) - US #98; UK #30
From Twilight of Honor
  • "Blue Guitar"/"They Long to Be Close to You" (1963) - US #42
From Richard Chamberlain (aka Joy in the Morning)
  • "Joy in the Morning" (1964)
  • "Rome Will Never Leave You" (1964) - US #99
From The Slipper and the Rose
  • "Secret Kingdom" (1976)
  • "He Danced With Me/She Danced With Me" (1976)
  • "What a Comforting Thing to Know" (1976)
  • "Why Can't I Be Two People?" (1976)
  • "Bride-Finding Ball" (1976)
From Haleakala: How Maui Snared The Sun/Clarinet Concerto
  • "Haleakala: How Maui Snared The Sun (Tone Poem) (1991), composed by Dan Welcher, performed with the Honolulu Symphony"
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[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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