Richard Chamberlain Biography

Birthday: 1934-03-31
Place of Birth: Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Height: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
Wiki Biography: Actor Richard Chamberlain was THE leading TV heartthrob of the early 1960s. As Dr. Kildare, the slim butter-haired hunk with the near-perfect Ivy-League good looks and polite, charming demeanor became a huge celebrity and had all the girls fawning over him--a situation he would find not only exciting and gratifying, but unnerving and haunting at the same time. Born George Richard Chamberlain in Beverly Hills on March 31, 1934, he was the second son of salesman Charles and homemaker Elsa Chamberlain. Richard experienced a profoundly unhappy childhood and did not enjoy school at all, making up for it somewhat by excelling in track and becoming a four-year letterman in high school and college. He also developed a strong interest and enjoyment in acting while attending Pomona College. He in fact lost an initial chance to sign up with Paramount Pictures, which became interested in him right after graduation, because he had to serve his military obligation in Korea for 16 months. He headed for Hollywood soon after his discharge, and in just a couple of years had worked up a decent resumé with a number of visible guest spots on such series as "Gunsmoke" (1955) and "Mr. Lucky" (1959). It was as the star of the medical series "Dr. Kildare" (1961), however, that he became an "overnight" sensation, a huge pin-up favorite and a source of idol-worship for teenagers everywhere (it also sparked a brief singing career for the actor). The attention Richard received was phenomenal. He subsequently advanced into the usual soap-style leads on film befitting his image, but Twilight of Honor (1963) with Joey Heatherton and Joy in the Morning (1965) opposite Yvette Mimieux did not bring him the screen fame they were expected to. Crossover stardom is elusive, and at the time he was considered strictly a TV commodity with a glossy "Prince Charming" image to shoulder on top of that. More interested in a reputation as a serious actor than the trivial adulation of youthful fans, Chamberlain abruptly turned his back on Hollywood and devoted himself to the stage. In 1966 alone he appeared in such legit productions as "The Philadelphia Story" and "Private Lives," and also showed off his vocal talents playing Tony in "West Side Story". In December of that year a musical version of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" starring Richard and Mary Tyler Moore in the sparkling George Peppard/Audrey Hepburn roles was headed for Broadway. It flopped badly in previews, however, and closed after only four performances. An important role in director Richard Lester's Petulia (1968) led Richard to England, where he dared to test his acting prowess on the classical stage. His bravura performances as "Hamlet" (1969) and "Richard II" (1971), as well as his triumph in "The Lady's Not for Burning" (1972), won over the not-so-easy-to-impress British audiences. On the classier film front he portrayed Octavius Caesar opposite Charlton Heston's Julius Caesar (1970) and Jason Robards' Brutus; composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in Ken Russell's grandiose The Music Lovers (1970) opposite Glenda Jackson; and Lord Byron alongside Sarah Miles' Lady Caroline Lamb (1973). While none of these three films were critical favorites by any measure, they helped to reshape Richard's image as a sturdy and reliable actor. Richard felt ready to return again to America. While he made a triumphant Broadway debut as Reverend Shannon in "The Night of the Iguana" (1975), enjoyed modest box-office popularity with the action-driven adventure movies The Three Musketeers (1973) as Aramis and a villainous role in The Towering Inferno (1974) and earned cult status for the Aussie film The Last Wave (1977), it was television that made him a TV idol all over again as the "King of 80s Mini-Movies". The epic storytelling of The Count of Monte-Cristo (1975) (TV), "The Thorn Birds" (1983) and "Shogun" (1980), all of which earned him Emmy nominations, placed Richard solidly on the star list again. He won Golden Globe awards for his starring roles in the last two miniseries mentioned. In later years he devoted a great deal of his time to musical stage tours as Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady", Captain Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" and Ebenezer Scrooge in "Scrooge: The Musical". Enormously private, Richard moved to Hawaii quite some time ago and at age 69 decided to "come out" with a tell-all biography entitled "Shattered Love," in which he quite candidly discussed the anguish of hiding his homosexuality to protect his enduring matinée idol image. He has shown himself to be a good sport, appearing in the gay-themed comedy film I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007) and in TV episodes of "Will & Grace" (1998) and "Desperate Housewives" (2004).

Richard ChamberlainPhotos & Pictures

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Filmography

TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
Hallmark Hall Of Fame Hamlet 1951 Comedy
Dr. Kildare Dr. James Kildare 1961 - 1966
Centennial Alexander McKeag 1978 - 1979 Action
The Thorn Birds Ralph de Bricassart 1983 Drama
Island Son Dr. Daniel Kulani 1989 Drama
TV Guide Close Up Himself 2005 -
Small Town Security Narrator 2012 Reality Tv
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
King Solomon's Mines Allan Quatermain 1950 0
Twilight of Honor David Mitchell 1963
Joy in the Morning 1965 Drama
Petulia 1968 Biography, 0
The Madwoman of Chaillot 1969 Comedy, Drama
The Music Lovers Tchaikovsky 1971 Drama, Music
Lady Caroline Lamb Lord Byron 1973 Drama, History, Romance
The Four Musketeers Aramis 1974
The Towering Inferno 1974 Action, Thriller
The Swarm Dr. Hubbard 1978 0, Reality Tv
The Thorn Birds Ralph de Bricassart 1983 Drama
Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold Allan Quatermain 1986 0
The Return of the Musketeers Aramis 1989 Action, Adventure, Comedy
Bird of Prey Jonathan Griffith 1996 Crime, Drama, Music
Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke Bernard Lafferty 1999 Drama
River Made to Drown In Thaddeus MacKenzie 2003 Drama
The Pavilion Huddlestone 2004 Drama
Blackbeard 2006
Strength and Honour Denis O'Leary 2007 Action, Drama
The Perfect Family Monsignor Murphy 2011 Comedy, Drama