Article 106

Lord Love And The Lovers

Richard Chamberlain looked straight into my eyes and said: "I love you like a thousand summer mornings ... I love you."

A pause, while my heart thundered to a stop. The he said: "Yes, I think this poem should be one of the finalists."

"What warm, lovely people your readers are."

Alas, the handsome, former Dr. Kildare was not romancing me, but helping to judge the newspapers love poem competition.

We had asked his help because he has just finished a film in which he played the dashing Lord of love himself, the poet Lord Byron.

The film, Lady Caroline Lamb, with Sarah Miles as the swinger of the 19th century, will be out soon.

"I've had some marvellous parts," he told me over lunch, "playing mostly tortured romantics ... Tchaikovsky in The Music Lovers, Richard II and Hamlet."

"It is such a challenge playing these parts after being that nice wholesome Dr. Kildare."

I told him I'd always thought Dr. Kildare was a virgin.

"Oh yes, very likely," he said. "But Lord Byron is a different kettle of fish."

"Robert Bolt, Sarah Miles' husband, directed the Lamb picture, and he wanted Byron played as the first pop idol of his age."

"I've seen some of the film already, and Byron comes over as a wicked, scandalous and licentious man who changed his society."

"But I think he was untouched by real love."

"I'm a little like Byron. I'm a romantic, too."

"Although I am very emotional, I have trouble expressing my feelings. I find it difficult to fall in love - unlike Byron."

"I don't know why I've not married. I've been on the verge of it three times."

"Maybe it's because I'm really married to acting."

"There's no one special in my life at present, but I've a feeling that the whole marriage thing may not happen for another five years."

"When it does, I'd like to stay in one place and have a couple of kids."

The life of this youthful 35-year-old has changed drastically since his Kildare days.

"Thank goodness, I was given Portrait Of A Lady on BBC TV which was a success. That changed my life."

His ideal woman? "One who doesn't play games, who's secure and warm."

"The sort to whom I could say: 'Let's hop off to Venice for Christmas'."

"But I'm probably searching for an ideal which I'll never achieve."

Richard Chamberlain Online