biography

Born George Richard Chamberlain on March 31, 1934, in Beverly Hills, actor Richard Chamberlain was the younger son of a food market equipment salesman and his wife. Very athletic in his youth, he ran track in high school and, later, at Pomona College, which he entered in 1952. While studying at Pomona, he developed an interest in acting and was noticed by at least one studio, However, he was drafted into the Army following his 1956 graduation. After detaching from military service in in 1958, Chamberlain returned to southern California with a renewed interest in acting. He found success relatively quickly, first in television in guest roles on such programs as Gunsmoke, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Thriller. He was also cast in his first film, the crime drama The Secret of the Purple Reef (1960; with Jeff Richards and Peter Falk). Shortly afterward, Chamberlain signed a contract with MGM; the studio put him in a supporting role in the western A Thunder of Drums (1961; with Richard Boone and George Hamilton) and cast him as the title character in the NBC series Dr. Kildare.
Richard ChamberlainRichard ChamberlainRichard ChamberlainRichard Chamberlain and Joan Marshall

LEFT and CENTER: Beefcake shots of Richard Chamberlain. RIGHT: With actress Joan Marshall in the mid 1960s

Enormously popular out of the gate, the series made an overnight star out of Richard Chamberlain. As each episode was an hour in length, the actor had relatively little time for films but did secure roles in MGM's Twilight of Honor (1963; with Nick Adams) and Joy in the Morning (1965; with Yvette Mimieux). The high cost of producing the series and declining ratings led to the cancellation of Dr. Kildare in 1966. After five years of a demanding weekly series, Chamberlain longed for a change of pace, which he seemingly found when he was cast in a musical Broadway version of Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1966. With Mary Tyler Moore in the lead role, the show had promise but folded before its December 1966 premiere. Afterward, he headed to England, where he found work in the BBC TV series The Portrait of a Lady (1968). Staying in Britain for several years, he acted in the films The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969; with Katharine Hepburn, Donald Pleasence, and John Gavin), Julius Caesar (1970; with Charlton Heston), and The Music Lovers (1970; with Glenda Jackson), among other films. Upon his return to the U.S. in the 1970s, Chamberlain found work in theatrical releases and made-for-TV films, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Last of the Belles (1974; with Susan Sarandon, Blythe Danner, and Richard Hatch) and The Swarm (1978; with Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, and Bradford Dillman). While film success eluded him, television again made him a star in the mini-series Centennial, Shogun, and The Thorn Birds.

the films of richard chamberlain

The Secret of the Purple Reef (1960)

Richard Chamberlain and Jeff Richards

With Jeff Richards in the low-budget 20th Century-Fox crime drama The Secret of the Purple Reef, Chamberlain's first film

Dr. Kildare (1961-1966 NBC TV Series)

Richard ChamberlainRaymond Massey and Richard Chamberlain

LEFT: As the title character in Chamberlain's 1961-1966 NBC TV series Dr. Kildare. RIGHT: With co-star Raymond Massey

Twilight of Honor (1963)

Richard Chamberlain, Joan Blackman, and Claude Rains

From the MGM drama Twilight of Honor with Joan Blackman and Claude Rains

Joy in the Morning (1965)

Yvette Mimieux and Richard Chamberlain

Richard Chamberlain Yvette Mimieux star as newlyweds with seemingly insurmountable problems in the MGM period romance Joy in the Morning. By all accounts, Chamberlain and Mimieux had a poor working relationship on this picture

Petulia (1968)

Julie Christie and Richard Chamberlain

Julie Christie and Richard Chamberlain star as an unhappily married couple in the Warner Bros. drama Petulia

The Four Musketeers (1974)

Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, Michael York, and Frank Finlay

With Oliver Reed, Michael York, and Frank Finlay in The Four Musketeers

Shogun (1980 NBC Mini-Series)

Richard Chamberlain

As Anjin-san in the NBC mini-series Shogun

The Thorn Birds (1983 ABC Mini-Series)

Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Chamberlain, and Rachel Ward

With Barbara Stanwyck and Rachel Ward in the ABC mini-series The Thorn Birds

King Solomon's Mines (1985)

Sharon Stone and Richard ChamberlainRichard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone

From the Cannon Group's comedy-adventure King Solomon's Mines

Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986)

Richard Chamberlain

As the title character in Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold, the sequel to King Solomon's Mines

richard chamberlain today

Moving to Hawaii in the 1980s to avoid the spotlight, Chamberlain's career began to slow in the 1990s. In 2003, he penned his autobiography, titled Shattered Love, in which he revealed that he is gay and his struggles in Hollywood. Since then, he has portrayed gay characters in several film and television roles. Today, he continues to take on occasional film and television projects; he's just completed a role in Finding Julia (2018; with Andrew McCarthy) and will appear in a revival of the series Twin Peaks.

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filmography

FILM
Finding Julia (2018) with Andrew McCarthy and Bai Ling
We Are the Hartmans (2011) with Ben Curtis and Jennifer Restivo
The Perfect Family (2011) with Kathleen Turner, Emily Deschanel, and Jason Ritter
Strength and Honour (2007) with Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, and Patrick Bergin
I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007) with Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Dan Aykroyd, Ving Rhames, Rachel Dratch, and Nick Swardson
The Pavilion (2004) with Craig Sheffer and Patsy Kensit
Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke (1999) with Lauren Bacall, Mare Winningham, Kathleen Quinlan, Michael Nouri, Joe Don Baker, James Cromwell, and Brian Dennehy
River Made to Drown In (1997) with Talia Shire
All the Winters That Have Been (1997) with Karen Allen and Hal Holbrook
The Lost Daughter (1997)
The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years (1996) with Amanda Donohoe
Bird of Prey (1995) with Jennifer Tilly, Lenny von Dohlen, Robert Carradine, and Lesley Ann Warren
Ordeal in the Arctic (1993) with Catherine Mary Stewart and Melanie Mayron
Night of the Hunter (1991) with Diana Scarwid and Burgess Meredith
Aftermath: A Test of Love (1991) with Michael Learned, Doug Savant, Lisanne Falk, and Darryl Hickman
The Return of the Musketeers (1989) with Michael York, Oliver Reed, C. Thomas Howell, Kim Cattrall, Geraldine Chaplin, and Christopher Lee
Casanova (1987) with Faye Dunaway and Sylvia Kristel
Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986) with Sharon Stone, James Earl Jones, Henry Silva, Robert Donner, and Cassandra Peterson
The Miracle (1985) with Anthony Quayle
King Solomon's Mines (1985) with Sharon Stone, Herbert Lom, and John Rhys-Davies
Wallenberg: A Hero's Story (1985) with Melanie Mayron and Bibi Andersson
Cook & Peary: The Race to the Pole (1983) with Rod Steiger and Michael Gross
Murder by Phone (1982) with John Houseman and Barry Morse
Shogun (1980)
The Swarm (1978) with Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, Richard Widmark, Olivia de Havilland, Ben Johnson, Lee Grant, José Ferrer, Patty Duke, Slim Pickens, Bradford Dillman, Fred MacMurray, Henry Fonda, and Cameron Mitchell
The Last Wave (1977)
The Man in the Iron Mask (1977) with Patrick McGoohan, Louis Jourdan, Jenny Agutter, Ian Holm, and Ralph Richardson
The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella (1976) with Annette Crosbie, Margaret Lockwood, and Kenneth More
The Count of Monte-Cristo (1975) with Trevor Howard, Louis Jourdan, Donald Pleasence, Tony Curtis, and Kate Nelligan
The Towering Inferno (1974) with Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Jennifer Jones, O.J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner, and Susan Flannery
The Lady's Not for Burning (1974) with John Carradine
The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge (1974) with Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Michael York, Christopher Lee, Geraldine Chaplin, and Faye Dunaway
F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Last of the Belles (1974) with Blythe Danner, Susan Sarandon, Richard Hatch, James Naughton, and Brooke Adams
The Three Musketeers (1973) with Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Michael York, Christopher Lee, Geraldine Chaplin, Faye Dunaway, and Charlton Heston
Lady Caroline Lamb (1972) with Sarah Miles, Jon Finch, John Mills, Margaret Leighton, Ralph Richardson, and Laurence Olivier
The Woman I Love (1972) with Faye Dunaway and Patrick Macnee
The Music Lovers (1970) with Glenda Jackson
Julius Caesar (1970) with Charlton Heston, Jason Robards, John Gielgud, Robert Vaughn, Diana Rigg, and Christopher Lee
The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969) with Katharine Hepburn, Paul Henreid, Yul Brynner, Donald Pleasence, and John Gavin
Hold On: It's the Dave Clark Five (1968) with the Dave Clark Five and Lulu
Petulia (1968) with Julie Christie, George C. Scott, Arthur Hill, Shirley Knight, and Pippa Scott
Joy in the Morning (1965) with Yvette Mimieux, Arthur Kennedy, Sidney Blackmer, Virginia Gregg, and Chris Noel
Twilight of Honor (1963) with Nick Adams, Claude Rains, Joan Blackman, James Gregory, Joey Heatherton, Pat Buttram, and Jeanette Nolan
A Thunder of Drums (1961) with Richard Boone, George Hamilton, Luana Patten, Arthur O'Connell, Charles Bronson, Carole Wells, Duane Eddy, and Slim Pickens
The Secret of the Purple Reef (1960) with Jeff Richards and Peter Falk

TELEVISION SERIES
Blackbeard, 2006 Hallmark TV mini-series. Chamberlain portrayed Governor Charles Eden
Island Son, 1989-1990 CBS TV series. Chamberlain portrayed Dr. Daniel Kulani
The Bourne Identity, 1988 ABC TV mini-series. Chamberlain portrayed Jason Bourne
Dream West, 1986 ABC TV mini-series. Chamberlain portrayed John Charles Fremont
The Thorn Birds, 1983 ABC TV mini-series. Chamberlain portrayed Ralph de Bricassart
Shogun, 1980 NBC TV mini-series. Chamberlain portrayed Anjin-san
Centennial, 1978-1979 NBC TV mini-series. Chamberlain portrayed Alexander McKeag
The Portrait of a Lady, 1968 BBC TV series. Chamberlain portrayed Ralph Touchett
Dr. Kildare, 1961-1966 NBC TV series. Chamberlain portrayed Dr. James Kildare

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
Leverage, episode The Last Dam Job, originally aired January 15, 2012
Brothers & Sisters, episode Walker Down the Aisle, originally aired May 8, 2011
Brothers & Sisters, episode Never Say Never, originally aired April 10, 2011
Brothers & Sisters, episode The One That Got Away, originally aired February 13, 2011
Brothers & Sisters, episode Thanks for the Memories, originally aired January 9, 2011
Brothers & Sisters, episode Cold Turkey, originally December 12, 2010
Chuck, episode Chuck Versus Phase Three, originally aired November 22, 2010
Chuck, episode Chuck Versus the Fear of Death, originally aired November 15, 2010
Leverage, episode The Inside Job, originally aired June 27, 2010
Desperate Housewives, episode Distant Past, originally aired November 25, 2007
Nip/Tuck, episode Blu Mondae, originally aired September 12, 2006
Hustle, episode Whittaker Our Way Out, originally aired March 24, 2006
Will & Grace, episode Steams Like Old Times, originally aired October 20, 2005
The Drew Carey Show, episode Look Mom, One Hand!, originally aired May 8, 2002
The Drew Carey Show, episode The Curse of the Mummy, originally aired January 16, 2002
Touched by an Angel, episode The Face on the Bar Room Floor, originally aired October 15, 2000
Great Performances, episode The Good Doctor, originally aired November 8, 1978
ITV Sunday Night Theatre, episode Hamlet, originally aired November 17, 1970
The Red Skelton Hour, episode It's a Treat to Beat a Cheat on the Mississippi Mud, originally aired March 21, 1967
The Eleventh Hour, episode Four Feet in the Morning, originally aired November 27, 1963
Whispering Smith, episode Stain of Justice, originally aired June 12, 1961
The Deputy, episode The Edge of Doubt, originally aired March 4, 1961
Riverboat, episode Chicota Landing, originally aired December 5, 1960
Thriller, episode The Watcher, originally aired November 1, 1960
Gunsmoke, episode The Bobsy Twins, originally aired May 21, 1960
Mr. Lucky, episode Operation Fortuna, originally aired May 21, 1960
Bourbon Street Beat, episode Target of Hate, originally aired March 7, 1960
Rescue 8, episode High Explosive, originally aired January 27, 1960
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, episode Road Hog, originally aired December 6, 1959

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Watch Richard Chamberlain's 1974 made-for-TV movie The Last of the Belles
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