Richard Chamberlain

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Richard Chamberlain

Chamberlain in December 1982
BornGeorge Richard Chamberlain
(1934-03-31) March 31, 1934 (age 78)
Beverly Hills, California, United States
Years active1960–present
PartnerMartin Rabbett (1970s-present)
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Richard Chamberlain

Chamberlain in December 1982
BornGeorge Richard Chamberlain
(1934-03-31) March 31, 1934 (age 78)
Beverly Hills, California, United States
Years active1960–present
PartnerMartin Rabbett (1970s-present)

George Richard Chamberlain (born March 31, 1934)[1] is an American stage and screen actor and singer, who became a teen idol in the title role of the television show Dr. Kildare (1961–1966).

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


Early life

Chamberlain was born in 1934 in Beverly Hills, California, the son of Elsa Winnifred (née Matthews) and Charles Axiom Chamberlain, who was a salesman.[2][3][4] Chamberlain's father was well known within Alcoholics Anonymous, having traveled for years speaking at A.A. conventions. In 1952, Richard Chamberlain graduated from Beverly Hills High School and later attended Pomona College[5] (class of 1956).[6]


Chamberlain co-founded a Los Angeles-based theatre group, Company of Angels, and began appearing in TV series in the 1950s. In 1961 he gained widespread fame as the young intern, Dr. Kildare, in the MGM television series of the same name. His singing ability also led to some hit singles in the early 1960s. One of them was the "Theme from Dr. Kildare" entitled "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight", which hit number 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.[citation needed]

At the end of the 1960s he spent a period 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, for The Hallmark Hall of Fame, in 1970.

In the 1970s, Chamberlain enjoyed success as a leading man in films such as 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), The Last Wave (1977), 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 TV movie, William Bast's The Man in the Iron Mask (1977), followed.

Chamberlain later appeared in several popular television miniseries (earning him a nickname of "King of the Miniseries"),[7] including Centennial (1978-79), Shōgun (1980), and The Thorn Birds (1983) as Father Ralph de Bricassart with Rachel Ward 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 in the television film version of The Bourne Identity (1988).

Since 1990

Since the 1990s, Chamberlain has mostly appeared in television movies, on stage and as a guest star on series including 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,[8] as well as two episodes of season 4 of Chuck where he played a villain known only as The Belgian.[9] Chamberlain has also appeared in several episodes of Brothers & Sisters, playing an old friend and love-interest of Saul's.[10] He also appeared in the indie 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. He resided in Hawaii with his partner, actor-writer-producer Martin Rabbett, from 1976 to 2010. Rabbett and Chamberlain starred together, among others, in Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold, in which they played brothers Allan and Robeson Quatermain. Soon after, Chamberlain legally adopted Rabbett. In the spring of 2010 Chamberlain moved from Maui to Los Angeles because of work possibilities, leaving Rabbett in Hawaii, at least temporarily.[11] Chamberlain was outed by the French women's magazine Nous Deux in December 1989 at the age of 55, but it was not until 2003 that he officially came out as gay in his autobiography, Shattered Love (ISBN 0060087439).

Honors and awards

In 1962 Chamberlain won the Golden Apple Award for Most Cooperative 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, 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.



From Richard Chamberlain Sings: - UK #8[12]

From Twilight of Honor
From Richard Chamberlain (aka Joy in the Morning)
From The Slipper and the Rose


  1. ^ California Births, 1905 - 1995, George Richard Chamberlain
  2. ^ Film Reference bio
  3. ^ "Ancestry of William Shattuck". Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  4. ^ "Richard Chamberlain Online Article 139". 1935-03-31. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  5. ^ Richard Chamberlain Biography @ Yahoo! Movies
  6. ^ Pomona College Alumni Directory 2000, p. 40.
  7. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (1988-05-01). "Richard Chamberlain's Mini-Series Mastery". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ notice of Chamberlain's national tour in Spamalot
  9. ^ Posted by DarkUFO (2010-11-02). "Chuck - Episode 4.09 - Chuck versus Phase Three - Synopsis (Spoilers)". Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  10. ^ Michael Ausiello. "'Brothers & Sisters' Exclusive: Richard Chamberlain joins the cast as... Saul's ex?". 
  11. ^ "Richard Chamberlain returns to LA". Belfast Telegraph. April 12, 2010. Retrieved June 18, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 99. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links