MCM: Richard Chamberlain

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This was one of those instances where I could have sworn we had done a Man Candy Monday featuring Richard Chamberlain years ago, but multiple searches of the site revealed we had only featured him in context to his roles as Louis XIV or Lord Byron, or talked about movies he’d done like The Three and Four Musketeers, The Slipper and the Rose, and The Count of Monte Cristo. We somehow managed to not do a Man Candy Monday about this man-candiest-of-men, so here I am to rectify the situation!

Gosh, where do I start? As someone born in the late-1970s and spent all of my childhood in the ’80s, Richard Chamberlain was probably one of my earliest actor crushes, with his aristocratic good looks and affable demeanor. He seemed to have a sense of humor about his roles, no matter how serious, that I found endearing, and as a young girl, accessible in a non-intimidating way. It took me until I was well into adulthood to understand the appeal of a bad boy like his Musketeers co-star, Oliver Reed, but I have memories of liking Richard Chamberlain that go way back to the age of single digits. So, let’s get on with the man candy show!

 

A Thunder of Drums (1961)

 

Joy in the Morning (1965)

 

The Portrait of a Lady (1968)

 

Julius Caesar (1970)

 

Hamlet (1971)

 

The Music Lovers (1971)

 

The Woman I Love (1972)

 

Lady Caroline Lamb (1972)

Richard Chamberlain in Lady Caroline Lamb (1972)

 

The Three and Four Musketeers (1973 & 1974)

 

F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Last of the Belles (1974)

 

The Lady’s Not for Burning (1974)

 

The Count of Monte Cristo (1975)

 

The Slipper and the Rose (1976)

 

The Man in the Iron Mask (1977)

 

Shogun (1980)

 

The Thorn Birds (1983)

 

Cook & Peary: The Race to the Pole (1983)

 

Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story (1985)

 

Dream West (1986)

 

Casanova (1987)

 

The Return of the Musketeers (1989)

 

Blackbeard (2006)

 

 

What’s your favorite of Richard Chamberlain’s historical costume movie and TV roles?

36 Responses

  1. Constance

    What I want to see him in is Lady Caroline Lamb…but it is not available to stream :( may have to break down and buy a dvd…

    Reply
  2. Roxana

    Oh My God, he was so darned pretty! That face wasn’t just easy to look at it was mesmerising! Plot? What plot?

    Reply
  3. Claudia Trent

    You skipped “Centennial”, which featured one of his best roles – Scottish trapper Alexander McKeag. Chamberlain is practically Hollywood’s King of the Costume Dramas. Along with McKeag, my other favorite roles of his are Aramis, Louis & Phillipe of “The Man in the Iron Mask”, Ralph de Bricissart, and John Blackthorne.

    Reply
  4. LadySlippers

    My mother had THE biggest crush on him and he was quite a dish.

    Any recent productions anyone know of?

    Reply
  5. Elizabeth Mahon

    I loved Centennial. Some of my favorite actors are in that series. I confess that I own DVD’s of Portrait of a Lady and The Slipper and the Rose (why has no one ever done this on stage?). I’ve been dying to see The Music Lovers. I was lucky enough to get to see him on Broadway in Blithe Spirit many moons ago.

    Reply
    • Kelly

      There is a stage version of The Slipper and the Rose, though I’ve never seen it. He copes quite well with the dancing, too, especially as he’s right next to Christopher Gable of the Royal Ballet!

      Reply
  6. mmcquown

    Shogun. It was the precursor of a series of Orientalia that caught my imagination. 3/4M would also have to be noted. I haven’t seen a lot of the others. It wasn’t a period piece, but I do remember Dr Kildare rather fondly. It was the season of doctor shows. I didn’t watch it as often, but I did watch “Ben Casey’ drop a cool 7 grand at craps in At;antic City and not break a sweat.

    Reply
  7. LydiaR

    I would love to watch his version of “The Lady’s Not For Burning” again but it’s not available anywhere. I think I might still have the VHS copy I made when it ran on PBS, and I do still have a VCR, but most of my tapes are in dad’s attic 30 miles away and I don’t want to put him at risk.

    Reply
  8. EAG46

    When The Thornbirds aired my sister and I were spellbound by it. Richard Chamberlain was certainly a dashing gentleman. Still is, really. [Is Frank Langella in your pipeline next? Or a feature on capes/cloaks?]

    Reply
  9. Irina

    Well, I’m old enough to have a friend whose Senior Prom Date was Chamberlain. She got a lot of mileage from her photo of them gussied up in their HS finery!
    I’d vote for The Lady’s Not for Burning” partly because I also love the play so like pairing him with great writing.
    This is my first post; just tripped over Frock Flicks last week researching something else.
    I describe my career arc thusly: “I started off to be a theatrical costumer; I wound up being a construction lawyer.” (It seemed like a straight line.)
    And I’m a total history buff so9 I wear my eyes out rolling them during many a history film/show.

    Reply
    • msilfan

      Me, thought I was going to be a costumer of some kind, became a web specialist consultant. Funny how life goes!

      Reply
  10. Charity

    My mother LOVED him growing up; I think he was Dr. Kildare on television, and that’s where she got a crush on him? I have never shown her The Thorn Birds (she would Not Approve and find it Depressing) but I absolutely love him as Father Ralph. I have seen The Slipper and the Rose, but it’s been eons — I think it’s now free for streaming on Prime, so I may have to re-watch it one of these days.

    Lovely choice! ;)

    Reply
      • Charity

        Out of curiosity, I just and looked him up in a clip from Dr. Kildare. I’m glad I live alone, because when they finally showed his face I went WOW, NO WONDER. LOL I now know what to give my mother for her birthday. Dr. Kildare on DVD. ;)

        Reply
  11. Jennie

    Definitely Shogun, although as a Colorado girl it was practically a mandate to watch Centennial..and I thought his character was one of the best.

    Reply
  12. Kathleen Julie Norvell

    Regarding his Hamlet: Chamberlain went to London to play Hamlet to prove he wasn’t just another pretty face. The reviews were good and the run went well. On the last night of the run, at the end of the play, when the soldiers are carrying Hamlet’s corpse away, the orchestra struck up the theme song from Doctor Kildare. Chamberlain was trying
    not to laugh and the actors were trying not to drop him.

    I think my favorite, besides the Musketeers films, was The Man in the Iron Mask. The scene in which Louis is painted gold and is dancing is forever burned into my mind.

    Reply
  13. Joyce

    I was a little young for Dr. Kildare, though I was aware of him. I tried reading The Thorn Birds and couldn’t get into it until they announced that he was going to be Fr. Ralph. Then I had an image in my mind, read the book, loved it, and watched the miniseries and loved it and him. He was perfect!

    Reply
  14. Lily Lotus Rose

    I feel like my mother played The Thorn Birds as “the” background movie to the early 80s, so I gotta go with that one as my fave–he totally rocked it as the smokin’ hot priest. Wow, he really was an elegant looker in his younger days. Something about his cheek bones and the set of his eyes reminds me of the actor who played the older Octavian in Rome, Simon Woods. (He definitely does not look like Richard Chamberlain, but there’s something there there.)

    Reply
  15. Cheryl from Maryland

    Obsessed with the Musketeers and the Lady’s Not for Burning as a teen. And yes, Sarah, I realised as I was older that it was Oliver Reed who really got it going on for me.

    Reply
  16. darlenemarshall

    He was always so swoonworthy, even when he was parodying himself in NIP/TUCK on TV. Let”s see–favorite roles would include Shogun (though I liked the book better), Dr. Kildare, The Man in the Iron Mask, and The Three Musketeers.

    Reply
  17. Penny H

    I didn’t know he had done Portrait of a Lady. I’m now up to episode 3 on YouTube, and I have to say, before I started watching, I thought he’d be too healthy-looking to play Ralph Touchett. But he does it convincingly.

    Reply
  18. SarahV

    I could watch The Slipper and the Rose on an endless loop for the next two-three weeks.

    Great Hera, how I love that movie.

    Reply
    • MrsC (Maryanne)

      “Rainbows raced around the room when she danced with me!!” My 11 year old self waltzing around the house for weeks to that one. I loved that movie so much!

      Reply
  19. Roxana

    The eyes! The cheekbones, the dimples!! Ooh he was lovely! And he could act too, which made it even better. 😁

    Reply
  20. Susan Pola Staples

    I have three favourite Chamberlain film/series: The Slipper and the Rose, The Man in the Iron Mask and Shogun. Imo he has the perfect physique for 17th and 18th century costumes. And he holds himself in said costumes without slouching.

    Reply
  21. msilfan

    I saw him playing Cyrano onstage in LA, must have been the 70s, he was good! My little heart was so proud to have liked him before I even knew what he looked like.

    Reply

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