Article 100

1990 was not a good year for "Father Ralph"

When, in these reflective days of hindsight, Richard Chamberlain thinks about the past 12 months, the artistically taut skin of his youthful face shows wrinkles. For the worldwide idolized "Father Ralph" and "Casanova", in the U.S.A. it was a year of defeat and painful revelations. "A year I would very much rather forget", as Chamberlain himself says candidly.

He was called "Lucky Richard" in the American press. After his successes in "Shogun" and his raved-about portrayal of the lustful priest in "Thornbirds", Richard Chamberlain was "king of the mini-series." He got more fan mail than Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Sylvester Stallone put together. More offers of marriage than Tom Cruise. He was the male dreamboat, the harmless dream type, the storybook lover and the wished-for son, who seemed to take the breath of all women, from girls to grandmas along with ladies of all kinds.

With the beginning of 1990 - in the U.S.A. - the run of luck was at an end. And to begin with, the image of the irresistible screen and TV Casanova. First of all, an English photographer discovered the unpretentious house on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, where the handsome Richard had hidden away for 12 years in between film- making. Photographs showed that the supposed women’s hero shared his sub-tropical home not only with two dogs, but also with a man 15 years younger than he was, called Martin Rabbett.

Then - after only twelve episodes - production of the new Chamberlain series Island Son was abandoned: in it he plays a doctor on Hawaii. That the critics in the U.S.A. called the dialogue "foolish", the script "thin" and the series generally as "soap-opera" was bad enough. Worse, however, was that even passionate Chamberlain fans changed channels and in a short time slipped into non-viewers. Even worse: as star and co-producer Richard had personally been involved.

"I ought to have concerned myself about all the details" he confessed, when it was too late, "I feel personally responsible for the failure of the series."

However, the fact is that Richard Chamberlain, now as before, is these days back in front of the camera as a detective in the TV thriller Aftermath. He wants to film a new series in Hawaii and wipe out the disaster with Island Son.

He is only looking ahead and thinking of the future. He would prefer not to be reminded about the past twelve months.