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. In the spring of 2010 Chamberlain moved from Maui to Los Angeles because of work possibilities, leaving Rabbett in Hawaii, at least temporarily.
In a interview for the Advocate Chamberlain said: "Q: It was widely reported in April that you had split from Martin Rabbett, your partner of more than 30 years, and had moved to Los Angeles from your shared home in Hawaii. How are you doing? A: Well, we haven’t really split. In other words, we’re still very, very close. The essence of our relationship has remained the same; we just don’t happen to be living together. I went home for Thanksgiving and had the most wonderful time, and we’ll be spending Christmas together with friends in New York. So we’re not split, really. I just moved to L.A. because I wanted to work more. Martin, unfortunately, doesn’t like L.A. at all, but he’s thinking of moving to San Francisco. Q: Wow. I thought you were newly single and looking. A: At 76? You’ve got to be kidding." (Picture: Martin Rabbett)
In another recent interview, Chamberlain said: “I wanted a little more action in my life, in the sense that not much happens in Maui, except it’s so incredibly beautiful. I wanted to work and be with my friends here and be a part of the city,” says Chamberlain, adding that he and Rabbett, 20 years younger, are “closer and better friends now than we ever were. It took time and growing up,” Chamberlain says. “I needed to have my own place and own work. I’ve done that and now we’re very close again.”
Richard Chamberlain is an American actor, who became a teen idol in the title role of the television show Dr. Kildare. Chamberlain was outed in December 1989, but it was not until 2003 that he officially came out as gay in his autobiography, Shattered Love. Chamberlain esided in Hawaii with his partner, actor-writer-producer Martin Rabbett, from 1976 to 2010. Even if they live apart, Charmberlain says: "I needed to have my own place and own work. I've done that and now we're very close again."
Richard Chamberlain 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.
Chamberlain was born in 1934 in Beverly Hills, California, the son of Elsa Winnifred (née 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 the 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 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. The same year, he starred in Peter Weir's film The Last Wave.
Chamberlain later appeared in several popular television miniseries (earning him a nickname of "King of the Miniseries"), 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 in the television film version of The Bourne Identity (1988).
Since the 1990s, Chamberlain has mostly appeared 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.
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.
Shattered Love: A Memoir by Richard Chamberlain
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: It Books; Reprint edition (May 4, 2004)
Amazon: Shattered Love: A Memoir
One of the most beloved actors of our time shares the New York Times bestselling story of how he learned to live with an open heart.
Early in his career, shortly after rising to fame as television's Dr. James Kildare, Richard Chamberlain took on the role of Hamlet on the English stage. The play contained a lesson the actor has remembered throughout his life: "To thine own self be true." But for Chamberlain these were not always easy words to live by. Even as he won the adoration of millions of fans, this handsome, charming, debonair leading man seriously questioned his own self–worth, living a life haunted by personal insecurity despite decades of immense popular success in memorable roles in Dr. Kildare, The Thorn Birds, Shogun, and other television dramas. Finally, with the help of friends and guidance from spiritual teachers, including Krishnamurti, Chamberlain began the sometimes painful but deeply rewarding process of reconciling his deepest self with his public persona. Now, in Shattered Love, he poignantly recounts his lifelong struggle to find happiness. Tracing a fascinating path through his meteoric rise to success, he chronicles his struggle to come to terms with his own imperfections, his growing desire to be honest about his sexual orientation, and his yearning to live with an open heart. And along the way he imparts the lessons he has learned about overcoming our own self–imposed obstacles to happiness: the importance of listening to our own instincts instead of listening only to others, not demanding the impossible of ourselves, and allowing ourselves to explore negative feelings in order to move forward.
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