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Shattered Love: A Memoir – Richard Chamberlain

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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.

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About temple

Always been a writer, always maintained an interest in politics, how people communicate and fantasy worlds within photography and books. Previously wrote for Blogcritics back in 2005 and interested in exploring the issues and topics I'm interested - the changing landscape of entertainment. all from the POV of a creator first, consumer, second.
  • http://www.richardchamberlaintribute.com RC

    More info at the Tribute to Richard Chamberlain website

  • Rose Kingsley

    I have been an avid fan of Richard
    Chamberlain since Dr. Kildare !

    I feel he is one of our most distinguished Actors of our time !
    I put him in a class with Olivier !

    I wish you continued successes !!!!!!!

    Rose Kingsley,

    Artistic Director of The Opera
    Institute of California.

  • Crystal

    I really love to read this bilography. MR. Chamberlain has been my most favorite star of all times. Wish him all the best.

  • Donald Moore

    AN AMAZING MAN……..

  • Anne

    I wonder if he (Mr. Chamberlain) knows just how HOT he really is. Even at 72 the man still makes my blood rush! He is such an incredible actor and a wonderful humanitarian. I don’t care if he’s gay, straight, purple, green, polka dotted, or striped. He’s a man with great conviction and appeal, and he will always be my “fantasy lover”.

  • http://annclowonline.com Ann Marie clow

    I find Richard Chamberlain art work wonderful and as a fellow artist I can appreciated each and every brush stroke
    I was wondering if I could send him personal note to let him know how much I like his art. His mailing address would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

    Ann Marie clow

  • zhang

    I like his perform very much,and from the thorn birds I recognized him,and sometimes from his eyes outpour the blue ..now he outopen his secret.I’m so happy for this..no wonder he is gay.the funs will love him forever..

    cheers Richard

  • ruth

    I have been in love with Richard since i was a child and i still am!!!

  • Iben, Europe

    I completely and totally adore this wonderful actor! Both his artistic and acting skills are amazing!

    I fell in love with this man as a child, and I still am in love with him. He is my favorite actor among men. There will be hard to find someone to move him down to second place…

    Iben

  • wang

    He is an good actor.I admiration him.

  • claris

    Even now, 2008, I still want to know about this fascinating actor. I plan to put his book on my list of vacation reads. Sometimes it just takes longer to learn about the people you admire over the course of a lifetime.

  • Rosa Brown

    Richard is an outstanding actor and I’m so happy to hear that he continues to grow as a person and an artist. What beautiful paintings that must give him great joy. He deserves all the happiness this world can offer….

  • Sally Walker

    Not only is this man a talented actor he is an inspiration to other people. He is one of those men that I would just love to meet, have a coffee with and just chat away. If only……….

  • marlene sadia

    i got interest on the man while reading the book ‘the thornbirds’. i searched the net for a film, saw a few scenes from the mini series…and fell in love with chamberlaine. i find him really handsome. knowing now that he’s gay, i still love him.

  • laura montanorichard c

    Richard chamberlyn you are a wonderful actor. I have followed your carier for meny years. I loved the thorn birds. I was so happy to see you on brothers and sisters the other evening.keep up the good work.one

  • shirley

    in a recent interview richard chamberlain daid he didn’t want to spoil the feelings people had for father ralph, he doesn’t seem to realize theose fantasies were for him as father ralph.my dvd of the thorn birds came off in rings, in fact i am word perfect for all parts.he will remain my dream man forever.

  • shirley

    in a recent interview richard chamberlain daid he didn’t want to spoil the feelings people had for father ralph, he doesn’t seem to realize theose fantasies were for him as father ralph.my dvd of the thorn birds came off in rings, in fact i am word perfect for all parts.he will remain my dream man forever.

  • shirley

    in a recent interview richard chamberlain daid he didn’t want to spoil the feelings people had for father ralph, he doesn’t seem to realize theose fantasies were for him as father ralph.my dvd of the thorn birds came off in rings, in fact i am word perfect for all parts.he will remain my dream man forever.

  • shirley

    in 2011 he is still drop dead handsome. That voice sends chills down my spine. He is a very interesting man and has explored lifes treasures which have helped to form his opinions, which are warm and gentle.He was blessed with good looks a good heart. He paints and sings, no one can compete with this wonderful human being

  • shirley

    He will always be my number one man, No one can hold a candle to him.

  • julie

    Oh, that voice that can melt a woman’s heart. He is very handsome even today. Totally love him as a performer especially his role in Thorn Birds. I remember that mini series with a great following in Manila. Having worked in a video shop there during that time lots of girls bought that video as a collection and the real reason, they all have a big crush on Richard..me included.

  • Allie

    I have always loved Richard after seeing him in The Thorn Birds. Absolutely fell in love with him then. Don’t personally know him or what kind of man he is, but hearing that he is gay is disturbing to me and sad. Not like I ever thought I was going to have a chance with him, as I am 40 years younger anyway, but it’s the whole homosexual thing. Yes the world has opened its arms to homosexuallity these days and seems to accept it as no big deal, but it IS a perversion and always will be, regardless of how the world now sees it.I feel sad that he is a homosexual and now to watch my favorite movie The Thorn Birds will seem a lie. All the while he was making love with Rachel Ward (Megan) he must have been thinking about some man he knew. Just kills the whole romance of the story now.

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