Impossibly handsome. Impossibly British. In-the-closet gay? Absolutely.
Richard Chamberlain, actor in the highly-acclaimed (in certain circles) “The Thorn Birds” as Father Ralph,TV’s Dr. James Kildare from 1961-1966 and the Shogun miniseries, is now 69.
And he’s got nothing to lose, he says and isn’t, now, afraid to tell everybody he’s gay.
OK. Seems kind of staged that his fear disappears, he appears in Advocate magazine (gay orientated issue) and does a Dateline interview as his book is released. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he told it before but no one was paying attention.
He tells Dateline: “When I grew up, being gay, being a sissy or anything like that, was verboten,” said Chamberlain, who lives in Hawaii. “I disliked myself intensely and feared this part of myself intensely and had to hide it.”
But the book? Apparently it doesn’t dwell on his homosexuality. Is it a good read?
San Francisco Chronicle – The Doctor is Out
“I’m 69 frigging years old and I’ve just come to this!” Chamberlain says in a voice that’s giddy and incredulous. “Can you imagine all those years of fear? Not that I never had a good time, of course. I have good friends and I loved my career and all. But there was always this undercurrent of grngg- grngg” — he makes a low, grinding noise — “like something was wrong.”
Before he wrote the book, Chamberlain says, “if somebody gave me a sideways glance I would think it was my problem. And now! Somebody does that, I go, ‘What’s in your head that you’re cringing at, that you’re sneering about? It can’t be me, ’cause you don’t even know me. I’m happy!’
LA Times – Richard reconciled
Why now? And does he think anyone really cares?
Just ask, and he’ll answer. After decades of eluding questions and fudging replies when interviewers inquired about his private life, Chamberlain now seems eager, in fact elated, at the prospect of talking. His answers are sometimes surprising — especially for those who think that “coming out” is no problem for actors nowadays, and that the kiss between two men on this week’s Tony telecast signifies some sort of end to industry homophobia. Not to Chamberlain.
Writing the book turned out to be “the biggest learning experience of my life,” he says. “I suddenly realized that being straight or gay is a total nonevent. If you tell me you’re straight, what does that say about you? Nothing but the general category of people you choose to sleep with. Period. Nothing about whether you are good, bad, smart, dumb, entertaining, boring. I suddenly realized that saying I’m gay is no big deal. Who cares? The only people who care are the ones who have the same wrong ideas in their head that I’ve always had. That being gay is a terrible, dirty, horrible thing to be.”
Reading the LA Times review made me think of how smart some – some – actors are and how they can come across as empty or bland or blah, even on the screen.