Richard was born George Richard Chamberlain on the 31 March 1934 (not 1935 as stated in a lot of articles) in Beverly Hills, to parents Charles and Elsa Chamberlain. He was their second child, their first son was Bill aged 6 at the time of Richard's birth. His father Charles was a salesman for a company which made fittings for chain stores, which made the family reasonably well off.
Richard at 18 months old
Richard's mother and father, Elsa and Charles Chamberlain, and brother Bill
Two years after Richard was born his parents moved the few miles from Los Angeles to Hollywood into a seven-roomed house in Beverly Hills.
Richard at 6-years old
Richard started school at the Beverly Vista Grammer School.
Richard at 13-years old
He then went onto the Beverly Hills High School. When he graduated from school he was voted the best-mannered boy in the class. Richard then went on to study art at California's famous Pomona College in Claremont, twenty-five miles from Hollywood. There, he majored in Applied Art and was gradually drawn to the College theatre groups. It was during this period that the acting bug struck him. On graduation, he decided he wanted to be an actor and began to make the rounds of the studios, but soon found himself in uniform instead, and served two years in Korea, emerging with a set of sergeant's stripes.
Back in Los Angeles, he found himself an actor's agent and again began making the rounds of the studios. Richard drifted into occasional roles on such shows as "Gunsmoke" playing Pete in the episode 'The Bobsy Twins' and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" playing Clay Pine in the episode 'Road Hog.' He managed, in an obscure way, to make a living and to cram in some acting lessons in his free time, of which he then had no shortage.
Meanwhile, back at MGM, the studio was preparing a television version of "Dr. Kildare", one of the studio's most successful movie properties, and having already decided upon Raymond Massey to play the role of Dr. Gillespie, was on the lookout for a promising young star for the title role. Richard Chamberlain was called in, he was the 36th actor to try out for the part, and shortly thereafter, both he and the "Dr. Kildare" series became an overnight sensation. Richard became the man who would make millions of girls swoon over his performance as Dr. Kildare, and whose face would be known all over the world. He was soon getting 12,000 fan letters a week -more than Clarke Gable in his heyday.
Although the series earned him three Photoplay Gold Medals and his first Golden Globe award he found that after five and half years playing the doctor he had a hard time being accepted as a serious actor. His solution was to leave television altogether and appear on stage with stock companies. Then in 1968 came the big decision to try his luck in England.
After returning to television for the BBC, and appearing opposite Katharine Hepburn in the film "The Mad Woman Of Chaillot," he did something no American had dared to do since John Barrymore over 40 years earlier - he played "Hamlet" on stage. Fortunately he recieved great reviews for this performance, which he still appreciates.
When he was 45-years old, history repeated itself when a new generation discovered Richard Chamberlain when he starred as the macho but very gentle Pilot-Major John Blackthorne in "Shogun." This time he was third choice after Sean Connery and Albert Finney. The series was a smash hit all over the world and a Dr. Kildare-like fever broke out all over again.
Years later he gave a memorable performance as a priest in TV's "The Thorn Birds," starring opposite Rachel Ward. He became the king of the TV mini-series, with other mini-series such as "Wallenberg: A Hero's Story" and "The Bourne Identity."
In the 1990's he has starred in two very successful theatre productions of "My Fair Lady" and "The Sound Of Music."
Currently he lives at his Hawaiian island home on Oahu, a thirty minute drive from downtown Waikiki, where he has settled permanently. Richard's second home was atop of a mountain 2,000 feet above Honolulu and had breathtaking views of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. The house was originally a one-story five-bedroom home built in 1955 until Richard had it rebuilt into an $8.5 million two-story compound. It has an outside pool with a waterfall which bubbles over into an half-mooned shaped jet spa, and the compound also houses a two-bedroom guesthouse, and is surrounded by jungle vegetation.
Construction of Richard's second Hawaiian home
Richard's second Hawaiian home
Aerial view of Richard's second home
Richard outside his home
Richard's first Hawaiian home
The pretty wooden built house which he bought 25 years ago for a holiday getaway
Richard with his mother and father, Elsa and Charles Chamberlain, and brother Bill