George Richard Chamberlain
March 31, 1934
|Education||Pomona College (B.A., 1956)|
|Partner(s)||Wesley Eure (1975–1976)|
Martin Rabbett (1977–2010)
George Richard Chamberlain (born March 31, 1934) is an American actor and singer who became a teen idol in the title role of the television show Dr. Kildare (1961–1966). He subsequently appeared in several miniseries, such as Shōgun (1980) and The Thorn Birds (1983) and was the first to play Jason Bourne in the 1988 television film The Bourne Identity. Chamberlain has also performed classical stage roles and worked in musical theatre.
Chamberlain was born in 1934 in Beverly Hills, California, the second son of Elsa Winnifred (née von Benzon; later Matthews) and Charles Axion Chamberlain, who was a salesman. In 1952, Chamberlain graduated from Beverly Hills High School and later attended Pomona College (class of 1956). Chamberlain was drafted into the United States Army, attaining the rank of sergeant while serving in Korea from 1956 to 1958.
Chamberlain co-founded a Los Angeles–based theatre group, Company of Angels, and began appearing on television in guest roles in the early 1960s. In 1961, he gained widespread fame as the young intern Dr. James 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", titled "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 1925. He received excellent notices and reprised the role for television in 1970 for the Hallmark Hall of Fame. A recording of the presentation was released by RCA Red Seal Records and was nominated for a Grammy Award.
In the 1970s, Chamberlain appeared in The Music Lovers (1970), Lady Caroline Lamb (playing Lord Byron; 1973), The Three Musketeers (1973), The Lady's Not for Burning (made for television, 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 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), and played Jason Bourne/David Webb in the television film version of The Bourne Identity (1988).
Since the 1990s, Chamberlain has appeared mainly in television films, on stage, and as a guest star on such series as The Drew Carey Show and Will & Grace. in 1991, he appeared in a TV movie version version of Davis Grubb's The Night of the Hunter that received mixed reviews. He starred as Henry Higgins in the 1993–1994 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, Chamberlain 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 2017, Chamberlain appeared in Twin Peaks: The Return as Bill Kennedy.
Chamberlain was not open about his homosexuality for most of his career, to protect his privacy and his acting opportunities. He was outed by the French women's magazine Nous Deux in December 1989, but did not confirm it until his 2003 autobiography Shattered Love: A Memoir.
In 1977, Chamberlain began a long-term relationship with Martin Rabbett, an actor, like Eure, 20 years his junior. Rabbett played the brother of Chamberlain's lead character in the 1986 film Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold. They began living together in Hawaii in 1986 and had a private commitment ceremony. The couple split amicably in 2010, with Chamberlain moving to Los Angeles. In a 2014 interview, Chamberlain said that while he and Rabbett were no longer intimately involved, they remained close friends.
Awards and nominations
|1985||Aftonbladet TV Prize||Best Foreign TV Personality – Male||—||Won|
|1978||Australian Film Institute Awards||Best Actor in a Leading Role||The Last Wave||Nominated|||
|1985||Bravo Otto||Best Male TV Star||—||Won|
|1977||Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Actor in a Play||The Night of the Iguana||Nominated|||
|1962||Golden Apple Awards||Most Cooperative Actor||—||Won|
|1980||Male Star of the Year||—||Won|
|1962||Golden Globe Awards||Best Television Star – Male||Dr. Kildare||Won|||
|1979||Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama||Centennial||Nominated|
|1983||Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television||The Thorn Birds||Won|
|1985||Wallenberg: A Hero's Story||Nominated|
|1988||The Bourne Identity||Nominated|
|1971||Grammy Awards||Best Spoken Word Recording||Hamlet||Nominated|||
|2012||Hawaii International Film Festival||EuroCinema Hawai'i Lifetime Achievement Award||—||Won|
|2023||Online Film & Television Association Awards||Television Hall of Fame: Actors||—||Inducted|||
|1963||Photoplay Awards||Most Popular Male Star||—||Won|
|1963||Favorite Male Motion Picture Star||—||Nominated|
|1975||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Special Program – Drama or Comedy||The Count of Monte Cristo||Nominated|||
|1981||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special||Shōgun||Nominated|
|1983||The Thorn Birds||Nominated|
|1985||Wallenberg: A Hero's Story||Nominated|
|1982||Sitges Film Festival||Best Actor||The Last Wave||Won|
|2011||Steiger Awards||Lifetime Achievement Award||—||Won|
|2003||TV Land Awards||Classic TV Doctor of the Year||Dr. Kildare||Nominated|
|1959||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Clay Pine||Season 5 Episode 11: "Road Hog"|
|1960||Rescue 8||—||Episode: "High Explosive"|
|1960||Bourbon Street Beat||Dale Wellington||Episode: "Target of Hate"|
|1960||Gunsmoke||Pete||Episode: "The Bobsy Twins"|
|1960||Mr. Lucky||Alec||Episode: "Operation Fortuna"|
|1960||Thriller||Larry Carter||Episode: "The Watcher"|
|1960||Riverboat||Lt. Dave Winslow||Episode: "Chicota Landing"|
|1961–66||Dr. Kildare||Dr. James Kildare||191 episodes |
Golden Globe Award for Best Television Star – Male
|1961||The Deputy||Jerry||Episode: "Edge of Doubt"|
|1961||Whispering Smith||Chris Harrington||Episode: "Stain of Justice"|
|1963||The Eleventh Hour||Dr. James Kildare||Episode: "Four Feet in the Morning"|
|1968||The Portrait of a Lady||Ralph Touchett||6 episodes|
|1978–79||Centennial||Alexander McKeag||12 episodes |
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama
|1980||Shōgun||John Blackthorne||5 episodes |
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special
|1989–90||Island Son||Dr. Daniel Kulani||19 episodes|
|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|
|2005||Will & Grace||Clyde||Episode: "Steams Like Old Times"|
|2006||Hustle||James Whittaker Wright III||Episode: "Whittaker Our Way Out"|
|2006||Nip/Tuck||Arthur Stiles||Episode: "Blu Mondae"|
|2007||Desperate Housewives||Glen Wingfield||Episode: "Distant Past"|
|2010–12||Leverage||Archie Leach||2 episodes|
|2010||Chuck||Adelbert De Smet||2 episodes|
|2010–11||Brothers & Sisters||Jonathan Byrold||5 episodes|
|2011||ThunderCats||Zigg||Voice, episode: "Forest of Magi Oar"|
|2017||Twin Peaks||Bill Kennedy||Episode: "Part Four"|
- "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
- From Richard Chamberlain (aka Joy in the Morning)
- "Joy in the Morning" (1964)
- "Rome Will Never Leave You" (1964) – US #99
- "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"
- Chamberlain, Richard (2003). Shattered Love: A Memoir. New York: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-008743-9.
- "Richard Chamberlain". Biography. April 17, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
- "Chamberlain, Richard 1934–". Encyclopedia.com. Cengage. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
- Reitwiesner, William Addams. "Ancestry of William Shattuck". Wargs.com. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- "Richard Chamberlain Online Article 139". Richard-chamberlain.co.uk. March 31, 1935. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- Foote, Abraham W. (1932). "Foote family, comprising the genealogy and history of Nathaniel Foote, of Wethersfield, Conn., and his descendants; also a partial record of descendants of Pasco Foote of Salem, Mass., Richard Foote of Stafford County, Va., and John Foote of New York City". Burlington, Vt.: Free Press Printing Co. p. 33.
- Rognlien, Gretchen (August 3, 2015). "Celebrate!". Pomona College Alumni Magazine: 46. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
Claremont in Entertainment and Media panel featuring Richard Chamberlain '56.
- Richard Chamberlain, Biography (1934–) Biography.com. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
- Heartthrob Richard Chamberlain Disliked & Feared Himself ‘Intensely’ Hiding Sexuality for Years news.amomama.com. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
- Richard Chamberlain, Biography www.richardchamberlain.com. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
- Kuchwara, Michael (December 10, 1993). "Richard Chamberlain Stars in a Revival of 'My Fair Lady' on Broadway". Associated Press. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
- Simonson, Robert; McGrath, Seth (February 4, 1999). "Laura Benanti & Richard Chamberlain To Make Bway Sound of Music Mar. 10". Playbill.
- Harmetz, Aljean (May 1, 1988). "Richard Chamberlain's Mini-Series Mastery". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
- Bacalzo, Dan (November 18, 2008). "Notice of Chamberlain's national tour in Spamalot". Theatermania.com. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- "Chuck – Episode 4.09 – Chuck versus Phase Three – Synopsis". SpoilerTV.com. November 2, 2010. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- Ausiello, Michael (October 12, 2010). "'Brothers & Sisters' Exclusive: Richard Chamberlain joins the cast as... Saul's ex?". Entertainment Weekly.
- Jones, Kenneth (February 16, 2012). "Pasadena Playhouse's Heiress Will Star Heather Tom, Julia Duffy and Richard Chamberlain". Playbill.
- "Interview 41". www.richard-chamberlain.co.uk. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
- Vary, Adam B. (December 27, 2010). "Out gay actor Richard Chamberlain says he 'wouldn't advise' closeted gay actors to come out. Didn't seem to hurt his career". Entertainment Weekly.
- Giddens, Jamey (March 28, 2015). "Wesley Eure: "I Got Fired From DAYS for Being Gay"". Daytime Confidential.
- "Richard Chamberlain returns to LA". Belfast Telegraph. April 12, 2010. Retrieved June 18, 2010.
- McElroy, Steven (November 28, 2014). "At 80, Richard Chamberlain Is Ready to Speak Volumes". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
- "Winners & Nominees 1978". Australian Film Institute Awards. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
- "Nominees and Recipients – 1977 Awards". Drama Desk Awards. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
- "Richard Chamberlain". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
- "Richard Chamberlain". Grammy Awards. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
- "Television Hall of Fame: Actors". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
- "Richard Chamberlain". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Ltd. p. 99. ISBN 978-1904994107.