Richard Chamberlain, in his younger days, was a star of the cinema when he received his big break portraying Dr. Kildare on the eponymous program in the 1960s. At the time, he was in his younger days. The actor was a handsome young guy who also had a lot of skills, and he achieved success in both the film industry and the television industry before he decided to concentrate on his career in the theater. He continues to perform in all three different media, demonstrating that he is a performer who excels in a variety of areas. Even more impressively, he was the very first actor to play the action hero Jason Bourne in the made-for-television movie “The Bourne Identity,” which was released in 1988.
Chamberlain is an actor who belongs to an earlier era in the history of Hollywood; however, he has been able to maintain a career in the modern entertainment industry by making guest appearances in films and television shows produced in the 1990s and 2000s. Some of these include “The Drew Carey Show,” “Will & Grace,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Chuck,” “Brothers & Sisters,” and “Justice League: Gods and Monsters.”
But despite having a successful acting career, Chamberlain spent a significant portion of his life trying to conceal a major secret. Chamberlain was first accused of being gay by a French magazine in 1989, when he was 55 years old. However, he did not come out as gay until he was 69 years old, 14 years after the magazine first accused him of being gay. Since that time, the actor has explained why he concealed this information from the general public for such a significant portion of his life. Keeping a secret like that hidden for the bulk of his life must have been an easy task.
Chamberlain, who is now 87 years old, is showing no signs of slowing down; not only does he have a great appearance, but he also continues to act on occasion. His life and work have been quite successful, so why don’t we have a look at them?
Richard Chamberlain was born on March 31, 1934, in Beverly Hills, California. During his childhood, he spent a lot of time listening to the radio, particularly mysteries and plays that were broadcast on the radio. Because Chamberlain was a reserved and timid youngster, he did not like going to school very much when he was younger. After completing his high school education at Beverly Hills High School, he went on to attend Pomona College in Claremont, California.
He majored in painting and art history when he was in college, and he was also active in student theater plays at that time. When Chamberlain was in his last year of college and was putting on a performance of “Arms and the Man” by George Bernard Shaw, he experienced a moment of clarity. In his biography titled “Shattered Passion,” which was published in 2003, he said that he experienced “a life-changing epiphany as a newbie actor” when he came to the realization that “maybe [he] might embrace [his] first love and truly become an actor!”
Soon after graduating from college, he started seeking jobs at major production studios in the area. The young guy with buttery blonde hair and attractive looks attracted the attention of Paramount Pictures, which expressed interest in recruiting him. However, something significant would put his career on pause for the time being. To make matters worse, the Korean War broke out in December of 1956, and Chamberlain was conscripted to serve in the Army. He would be gone for a total of sixteen months. He subsequently said in an interview with “The Advocate” that he did not appreciate his time spent there, stating:
“Being in the army was the worst experience of my life. I don’t enjoy being ordered about. It’s not my thing to give other folks orders. I went in as a private and came out as a sergeant. It was all simply another part that I had to play.”
Regardless, the time he spent away did not prevent him from pursuing his goals. When he got back to the United States, he already had his mind made up about where he wanted to go first.
Chamberlain was the one to pick up the phone when Hollywood called. However, it wasn’t until 1961 that he got his major break in the industry. Prior to that, he appeared in a few projects. He was cast as the main character, Dr. Kildare, in a television medical drama series with the same name. The number of people who were fans of Chamberlain skyrocketed, and he received high marks from reviewers all around the world. In the 1960s, Richard Chamberlain achieved overnight success, earning him the title of The Golden Boy.
Because he had such a poor opinion of himself, he craved the attention and admiration of the public. He referred to it as a “great medication” in his description of how it made him feel. We can imagine. However, Chamberlain’s behavior suggested that something was wrong. Chamberlain was having the time of his life as the popularity of the medical drama “Dr. Kildare,” which was centered on a young intern and his relationship with his supervisor, skyrocketed. He remembers being pursued by beautiful ladies through the aisles of stores. Additionally, he recalls driving his convertible Stingray as supporters followed him across the hills. At one point, a supporter went so far as to approach Chamberlain on a mountain in Switzerland in order to get an autograph from him. At this point, his father shared with him the news that he could see that his son “had made it.”
More recently, Chamberlain discussed his time spent as an adolescent idol throughout his formative years. He said that he used to get so much fan mail — up to 12,000 letters a week! — that there was no way for him to reply to each and every one of them, despite the fact that he was quite appreciative of the praise and the fact that he was considered handsome. However, he did sign a lot of items for his fans, and when he got a particularly heartfelt letter or a unique hand-made present, he took the time out of his tremendously busy schedule to respond to it. He also signed a lot of things for his admirers.
Even though Chamberlain believed it was an incredible stroke of luck that he was given the chance to work on “Dr. Kildare,” he never seemed to have any time off. He liked working on the show. During that period, he was bound by an agreement with MGM. During the off-season for “Dr. Kildare,” MGM decided to cast Chamberlain in other movies because they saw the potential he had. Even if he did manage to get a week off, it appeared as if he was continually being sent to work on PR in some other location. Despite this, Chamberlain was able to find time after work most days to attend her singing lessons and her dance sessions. It was his own little way to get away from the office.
Chamberlain is most known for his role as Dr. Kildare, but he was also active in the film industry. However, he quickly became exhausted with what he referred to as always portraying characters that he called “Prince Charming.” In 1963, he appeared in both “Twilight of Honor” and “Joy in the Morning” as a result of his desire to broaden his acting experience (1965). Sadly, the supporters were not satisfied with the performance. Was it inevitable that Chamberlain would always play the role of Prince Charming?
It was at this point that he made the decision to give up the world of movies and instead pursue a career in the theater. After a number of years had passed, he remembered how the actor Cedric Hardwicke had, with the best of intentions, informed him that he would become a celebrity before he learned how to act. Chamberlain was aware of this fact, and as a result, he decided to go to England in order to hone his acting skills by performing in a variety of stage productions while he was there. He was the lead actor in a number of shows, including “Private Lives,” “The Philadelphia Story,” and “West Side Story,” in which he played the part of Tony. While living in England, he was a cast member in renowned performances like as “Hamlet” in 1969 and “Richard II” in 1971. Despite this, he finally answered the lure of Hollywood and went back.
The time that Chamberlain spent in the United Kingdom paid off, since the critical acclaim that he received for his acting was outstanding. After returning to the United States, he maintained his acting career throughout the 1970s, portraying leading man parts in films such as “The Music Lovers,” “The Three Musketeers,” “The Towering Inferno,” “The Count of Monte Christo,” and “The Slipper and the Rose.” When the decade of the 1980s came around, he had already made appearances in a number of well-known television miniseries, such as “Centennial,” “Shogun,” and “The Thorn Birds.” As a result of this, he became known as the “king of the mini-series.” In the television movie “The Bourne Identity,” which he starred in at the same time, he gave his first performance as the character Jason Bourne.
After this time, Chamberlain continued to work in the entertainment industry, although he was cast mostly in supporting parts in film, television, and stage. He was in his 50s at the time, and he had already established himself as an accomplished actor and leading man at that point, which enabled him to take on more laid-back parts. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, he had guest appearances on a wide variety of television shows, some of the more notable of which include “The Drew Carey Show,” “Will & Grace,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Nip/Tuck,” “Chuck,” and “Brothers & Sisters.” He has continued to act in supporting roles, but less compared to the frequency with which he did so in earlier decades.
Chamberlain has not only shown to the whole world his abilities as an actor during his great career, but he has also been recognized for his efforts. In addition to being nominated for Emmys and Golden Globes, he has won three times at the Golden Globes for his work on television. Other distinctions have also been bestowed upon him. Nevertheless, he does not necessarily believe in the system of recognizing performers for their profession, despite the fact that he has won several awards.
Chamberlain shared his ideas on why he doesn’t think acting awards make any sense at all in an exclusive interview with the Television Academy. Here are his reasons:
“It’s awesome to come out on top. Acting, or any other kind of artistic expression, should never be treated as a race in my opinion. It would be ridiculous to suggest that, in light of these outstanding achievements, anybody else is a more deserving winner than anyone else. However, from a business perspective and all that other stuff… On the other side, when you’re in that environment and you come out on top, it’s an incredible feeling.”
Chamberlain earned another award in recognition of his accomplishments in the year 2000, this time in the form of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. However, despite the fact that his impact on the stage and cinema would go on in perpetuity, he had a difficult time of it for the bulk of his life. Chamberlain kept a secret close to his chest for many years, and it was one that might have severely damaged his professional reputation.
Richard Chamberlain did not reveal the information he had been concealing his whole life until the year 2003. Prior to that, he had kept it a well-guarded secret. He was a lesbian. He had the impression that being a homosexual guy in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s was not only challenging; it was almost impossible. Therefore, he made the decision to go on living with his secret. When he finally admitted in his book “Shattered Love” that he was homosexual, he was 69 years old.
It is impossible for us not to feel both proud of him for coming out and sad that he had to spend such a significant portion of his life dealing with the fears that being homosexual brought him. He went through years of treatment before he eventually worked up the gumption and self-assurance to be who he really was.
Unfortunately, his secret was not initially exposed to the public when he wanted to do so. In December 1989, a French women’s magazine called “Nous Deux” was the publication that first revealed his sexual orientation to the public; this was 14 years before he felt comfortable coming out. It is not fair that Chamberlain wasn’t able to come out on his own terms, or even that he thought that he couldn’t come out for most of his career. Neither of these things was in Chamberlain’s control. In an interview with “The Advocate” in 2010, he discussed the difficult connection that Hollywood has with openly homosexual actors:
“It’s a difficult situation. There is a significant degree of homophobia in our society even in this day and age. Despite the fact that it is unfortunate, dumb, callous, and immoral, the situation persists as it is. It is ludicrous for a professional actor to say things like “Oh, I don’t care if anyone knows I’m homosexual,” particularly if you are a leading man. The fact that an actor is working at all is somewhat of a miracle, given that the vast majority of performers do not have jobs. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend coming out as homosexual to an actor who plays a leading man-type role.
When asked when it would be okay for an actor to come out, he gave the following response:
“I have no idea. In spite of all the fantastic developments that have taken place, it is still risky for an actor to speak about something in our society because of how badly it is interpreted. Take a look at what occurred in California with the Proposition 8 ballot initiative. Please don’t act as if we’ve all been magically and ecstatically welcomed all of a sudden.”
Chamberlain had to wait 69 years until he felt it was safe for him to come out in Hollywood. By being honest with the public, Chamberlain is helping to push boundaries and help foster a culture in Hollywood where one’s sexual preference is not of any importance. This is despite the fact that Chamberlain had to wait 69 years until he felt it was safe for him to come out in Hollywood.
According to what was published in “The Advocate,” he discussed his choice to come out during an interview in 2003 with “Dateline NBC”:
“Since I’m not a romantic leading guy anymore, there’s no need for me to continue cultivating that public image anymore. I used to be terrified to speak about it, but those fears have long since passed.
He addressed the ways in which being homosexual at a period when the topic was not openly discussed impacted his sense of self:
“At the time when I was growing up, being homosexual, being a sissy, or anything else of the kind was strictly forbidden. I loathed and dreaded this aspect of myself to the point that I had to keep it hidden because I was so ashamed of it.
Even though he was not open about his romantic life to the outside world, Chamberlain was able to find love on his own. In the early 1970s, rumors circulated that he had an affair with the actor Wesley Eure. Then, in 1977, he started a long-running relationship with the actor, writer, and producer Martin Rabbett, who was 20 years his younger. This relationship lasted for a long time. The couple ultimately decided to make their home in Hawaii, where they remained until 2010. During that time, they tied the knot in a civil ceremony there. Chamberlain eventually relocated back to Los Angeles for job reasons in 2010. In 2014, he said that they “don’t live together anymore, and [they’re] far better friends than [they’ve] ever been.” This was something that he said to the “New York Times.”
Chamberlain made further remarks on his then-relationship during the same interview with “Dateline NBC” that was revealed by “The Advocate.” He said, “I’m proud of my relationship. I really should be pleased with myself.” He added:
“I couldn’t be happier with my life as it is right now.”
Chamberlain has had a long and fruitful life, and he is now enjoying his life in an honest way. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the finest piece of advice he has to offer is “when you can simply be yourself.” It’s lovely to see how at ease he is now that he’s allowed to be himself for the first time in his life. Chamberlain, who is now 87 years old, has, in our view, not lost any of the allure of elegance that she once had and which caused her legions of admirers to go weak in the knees.