Richard Chamberlain celebrates his 90th birthday

Richard Chamberlain was about to turn 50 in 1983 when he played the role of his life: that of the priest Ralph de Bricassart.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 17:12
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Richard Chamberlain celebrates his 90th birthday

Richard Chamberlain was about to turn 50 in 1983 when he played the role of his life: that of the priest Ralph de Bricassart. Dressed in a cassock, he fell in love with audiences around the world, including Meggie Cleary (the character played by Rachel Ward) in El pájaro espino, the miniseries of only four episodes that made television history (in Spain it released in 1985). It's been a while since the actor wore Hawaiian shirts and led a quiet life, far from Hollywood, in his luxurious home in Hawaii, where he will celebrate his 90th birthday today.

At first, it was supposed to be a film adaptation of the novel by the writer Colleen McCullough, about the forbidden love between an ambitious priest, who became a cardinal, and a young woman, a friend of his family. For the role of Ralph de Bricassart, the names of Christopher Reeve, Robert Redford or Ryan O'Neal were considered. But when it was decided to change the film to a miniseries, the chosen one was Richard Chamberlain, quite well known on television thanks to Dr. Kildare, Centennial or Shogun.

But none of the works were comparable to the popularity of El pájaro espino. It was the character of his life, and at the same time his last great work. From there, only secondary roles ( Mujeres desesperadas ) or low-budget films such as Les mines del rei Salomó, with Sharon Stone in one of her first performances.

In the mid-eighties, he left Los Angeles – where he was born – and settled permanently in Hawaii, a place he had been visiting frequently since the early seventies. The reason for the change of residence was to be able to lead his private life with discretion.

In 2003, Chamberlain published his memoirs Shattered love (Shattered love) in which he revealed a childhood and adolescence marked by his father's alcoholism and confessed his homosexuality (although it was a secret in the public domain). In the sixties he flirted with several women, but at the beginning of the seventies he began a relationship with the actor Wesley Eure (72). In 1977 he met another actor, Martin Rabbett (70), with whom he later worked in King Solomon's Mines. They married in Hawaii and split in 2010 after thirty-three years together.

Chamberlain continues to live in the archipelago. There are no pictures of him and he hasn't made any statements since just three years ago, when he granted a feature to Hi Luxury magazine in which he spoke of his philosophy of life based on love: “It's not just something that we do In reality, it is the presence of wisdom, connection and fullness that you can invite into your life", he said in the interview, noting that his good physical condition is due to exercise, a healthy diet, eight hours of sleep and croquet practice.