At 89, Richard Chamberlain Lives Freely And Looks Like The Same Dashing Heartthrob He Was In The 60s(7 photos)

In his younger years, Richard Chamberlain was a movie star. His big break came when he played Dr. Kildare on the show with the same name in the 1960s. The actor, a good-looking young man with a lot of ability, was successful in movies and TV shows before he turned his attention to the theater. He has kept acting in all three forms, which shows that he is a versatile actor. In fact, the 1988 made-for-TV movie "The Bourne Identity" was the first time he played the action hero Jason Bourne.

Chamberlain is from an earlier time in Hollywood history, but he has kept up his career in the modern industry. In the 1990s and 2000s, he was in movies and TV shows like "The Drew Carey Show," "Will & Grace," "Desperate Housewives," "Chuck," "Brothers & Sisters," and "Justice League: Gods and Monsters."

But Chamberlain had a big secret that he kept hidden for most of his life, even though he was a famous actor. A French magazine told the world that Chamberlain was gay in 1989, when he was 55 years old. He didn't reveal his sexuality himself until he was 69 years old, 14 years later. It must not have been easy for him to keep that secret for most of his life. Since then, the star has talked about why he kept it from everyone for so long.

Chamberlain is still going strong at age 89. He not only looks great, but he also does some acting work from time to time. His life and work are truly amazing. Let's take a look at what he looks like now, thirty years after he became famous.

The late Richard Chamberlain was born on March 31, 1934, in Beverly Hills, California. He grew up listening to the radio, especially puzzles and plays. For some reason, Chamberlain didn't like going to school. He was a shy and quiet kid. After graduating from Beverly Hills High School, he went to Pomona College in Claremont, California.

He took classes in drawing and art history and also performed in student plays while he was in college. Chamberlain had an epiphany when he played George Bernard Shaw's "Arms and the Man" in his senior year of college. In 2003, he wrote in his autobiography "Shattered Love" that he had "a life-changing breakthrough as a neophyte actor" when he learned that "maybe (he) could embrace (his) first love and actually become an actor!"

Not long after he started college, he started looking for work at the big companies. The young guy with the good looks and buttery blonde hair was wanted by Paramount Pictures. But something very important would stop his career. It was too bad that the Korean War started, because in December 1956, Chamberlain was forced to join the Army. He spent 16 months living abroad in the end. He told The Advocate afterward that he didn't like being there. What he said:

"I didn't like being in the Army... I don't like being told what to do. I don't like telling people what to do. I got promoted to sergeant. It was just another part I played.

His time away didn't change his goals, though. He was very clear about where he wanted to go when he got back to the US.

Chamberlain answered the phone when Hollywood called. Though he was cast in a few shows, it wasn't until 1961 that he got his big break. He got the lead part of Dr. Kildare on the medicine show "Dr. Kildare." Chamberlain's fan base grew by leaps and bounds, and reviewers all over the world gave him high marks. In the 1960s, Richard Chamberlain became famous all of a sudden as a Golden Boy.

He loved the attention and love from people because he didn't think much of himself. He said it was like taking "wonderful medicine." We can picture it. Still, Chamberlain wasn't quite right. Chamberlain loved life as the medical show "Dr. Kildare," which was about a young intern and his relationship with his boss, became a huge hit. He remembered being chased by women who loved him around grocery stores. During his time driving his convertible Stingray, fans would follow him up and down the hills. A fan once went all the way to the top of a mountain in Switzerland to ask Chamberlain to sign something. It was at this point that his father told him he knew he "had made it."

A little while ago, Chamberlain talked about being a teen hero. He said that he loved the praise and attention, but he got so much fan mail—up to 12,000 letters a week!—that he couldn't answer all of them. He did, however, sign a lot of things for his friends, and he made time in his very busy schedule to answer letters and gifts that were especially meaningful to them.

Stop Being a Prince Charming

Chamberlain loved working on "Dr. Kildare" and thought that getting to do it was a huge blessing, but he never seemed to have any free time. At that time, he had a deal with MGM. Chamberlain saw what MGM could do and was cast in other shows during the off-season of "Dr. Kildare." It seemed like whenever he had a week off, he was sent somewhere to work on marketing. However, Chamberlain was able to take dance and singing lessons every day after work. It was his own way to get away from work.

Along with his work on "Dr. Kildare," Chamberlain was in a number of movies. Of course, he quickly got tired of always playing what he called "Prince Charming" roles. He wanted to see more, so he was cast in both "Joy in the Morning" (1965) and "Twilight of Honor" (1963). Fans were not pleased, which was a shame. It looked like Chamberlain would always have to play Prince Charming.

Now, though, he chose to quit the movie business and work in the theater instead. After many years, he remembered that actor Cedric Hardwicke had told him, in good faith, that he would become famous before he learned how to act. Because Chamberlain wanted to improve as an actor, he went to England to work as an actor in the theater and learn more about his skill. He played the lead in many plays, such as "Private Lives," "The Philadelphia Story," and "West Side Story." He was in famous plays in England, such as "Hamlet" in 1969 and "Richard II" in 1971. Still, Hollywood called to him, and he came back in the end.

Following His Passion Chamberlain's time in the UK paid off because his playing got him great reviews. He went back to the United States and kept working as an actor, playing main men in movies like "The Music Lovers," "The Three Musketeers," "The Towering Inferno," "The Count of Monte Christo," and "The Slipper and the Rose" in the 1970s. By the 1980s, he had been in a number of well-known TV miniseries, including "Centennial," "Sh��gun," and "The Thorn Birds." He was called the "king of the miniseries" because of this. Besides that, he created the role of Jason Bourne in the 1988 TV movie "The Bourne Identity."

Beginning at this point, Chamberlain kept acting, but mostly in smaller parts in movies, TV shows, and plays. He was already in his 50s and had shown that he was a good actor and leading man, so he could play parts that were less stressful. During the 1990s and 2000s, he was in a lot of TV shows, such as "The Drew Carey Show," "Will & Grace," "Desperate Housewives," "Nip/Tuck," "Chuck," and "Brothers & Sisters." Despite being much less often than in the past few decades, he still does small roles from time to time.

As an actor, Chamberlain has not only shown the world how good he is, but he has also been paid for it. He has been nominated for many awards, including Emmys and Golden Globes. For his work on TV, he has won the Golden Globe three times. Even though he has won awards, he doesn't always believe in the method of giving artists awards for their work.

Telling His Secret

Chamberlain told the Television Academy in a private talk why he doesn't think performance awards make sense:

It's great to win things. I don't think acting or any other kind of art should be treated like a horse race. It would be silly to say that this year, so-and-so is better than so-and-so, having put on such great shows. But it's necessary for business reasons and all that... On the other hand, it feels great to win in that kind of environment.

Chamberlain was again praised for his work in 2000 when he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California. People would always remember how much he changed the stage and screen. But it wasn't always easy for him for most of his life. Chamberlain kept a secret from many years that could have destroyed his career.

Not until 2003 did Richard Chamberlain finally tell the truth about the secret he had kept his whole life. He was a gay man. He thought it was not only hard, but also impossible to be gay in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. He decided to keep his secret, though. In his book "Shattered Love," he came out as gay when he was 69 years old.

He finally came out, which makes me proud, but it also makes me sad that he had to deal with the issues that being gay caused him for so long. He finally felt brave and sure of himself enough to be who he really was after years of treatment.

Getting Out

Unfortunately, his secret wasn't first made public when he wanted it to be. In December 1989, a French women's magazine called Nous Deux did it, 14 years before he felt ready to do it himself. There's no reason why Chamberlain shouldn't have been able to come out on his own terms or even felt like he couldn't for most of his career. He talked about how hard it is for Hollywood to deal with openly gay stars in an interview with The Advocate in 2010:

"It's not simple." In our society, there is still a lot of racism. I feel bad about it, it's stupid, cruel, and wrong, but it's true. Since most actors don't have jobs, it's pretty silly for a working actor to say, "Oh, I don't care if anyone knows I'm gay." This is especially true for main men. I personally wouldn't tell a gay main man star to come out.

When asked when an actress could come out, he said:

"I don't know." In our very wrong society, it's still dangerous for an actress to talk about that, even though a lot of progress has been made. Case in point: Proposition 8 in California... Please don't act like we're all suddenly accepted absolutely perfectly.

He had to wait 69 years before he felt safe coming out in Hollywood. By being open with the public, Chamberlain has helped break down barriers and create a society in Hollywood where having a sexual orientation is not important.

Being real and living

Chamberlain has lived a long and full life and is now living his true life. So it's not a surprise that "when you can just be yourself" is his best thing to say. His freedom to be himself is making him feel good, and it's great to see. We think Chamberlain is still doing very well at age 89. He still has the charm and grace that made fans swoon back in the day.

In 1977, Chamberlain started dating actor Martin Rabbett and the two stayed together for a long time. In 1986, they moved in together and had a secret wedding to make their vows. But in 2010, the couple broke up without a fight. Since then, four years have passed, and he told The New York Times that they are still close friends even though they are no longer together.

Chamberlain told them, "We're much better friends than we've ever been since we don't live together anymore." "So my job is to tell married people and other people to buy another house."

Even though Chamberlain has been through a lot in the past, he has stayed positive as he has become himself.

Chamberlain told Palm Springs Life in 2019 that he's enjoying being himself as he thinks back on his path.

"Going through old age, I'm learning what it's like to be myself." The people in my family always put on a show of being perfect. We both helped each other reach perfection. However, "in the past two years, I've felt this wonderful freedom to really... just be myself," he said.

Chamberlain has taken a back seat in the theater business. The last movies he was in were "Finding Julia" in 2019, "Nightmare Cinema" in 2018, "Twin Peaks" in 2017, and "Echoes of the Past" in 2021.

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