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Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Richard Chamberlain: He was loved by millions, but he kept a secret from his fans for years

Richard Chamberlain was born in 1934 in Beverly Hills, the second son of a singer and a factory owner. He went to Clermont to study Applied Art and it was there that he discovered that acting was his calling. He made his debut on the small screen in 1959 in one of the episodes of the series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, and a year later he appeared in a full-length production. It was a crime drama called “The Mystery of the Purple Reef.”

For a long time he struggled with morbid shyness and lack of self-confidence. Acting helped him overcome this fear.

At the beginning of his career, Richard Chamberlain often played on stage and on Broadway. His acting career developed very dynamically, he appeared in many great titles – he achieved success thanks to his appearances in adaptations of Alexandre Dumas’ novels – “The Three Musketeers” as Aramis and “The Count of Monte Cristo” as Edmund Dantes.

He played a devastatingly handsome doctor in “Doctor Kildar” and a priest involved in a complicated affair in “The Thorn Birds”. He was loved by millions around the world for these roles. However, for many years he hid a secret, which he revealed only many years after the first rumors.

For years he played handsome lovers whom women were crazy about, but in 2003 he decided to come out and confess that he had been homosexual practically all his life.

“I knew I was gay when I was 11 or 12,” he admitted in an interview with The Bay Area Reporter.

Even though he didn’t feel comfortable hiding his orientation, it didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most popular actors in cinema and television at that time.

Undeniably, one of his greatest and most famous roles was as John Blackthorne in the series “Shogun” in 1980, for which he won a Golden Globe.

The series, directed by Jerry London, was based on the novel by James Cavell, who was not involved in the script. The production was initially supposed to be a cinema film, but ultimately the material was extended and divided into 12 episodes.

Both the novel and the series focus on the English sailor John Blackthorne, who ends up in feudal Japan. As a European, he is not very welcome in a country whose borders have been closed to outsiders for a very long time, especially Protestants.

Richard Chamberlain revealed that he was looking forward to the new version of Shogun, the first two episodes of which debuted on February 27 on Disney+. More will appear weekly, starting on March 5. We will see the last episode on April 23.