Article 162

Watch for "Dr. Kildare" in Monty Python

Some of the younger generation in the audience may not have any idea, but there will be a teen idol on stage when "Monty Python's Spamalot" is performed next week at the Von Braun Center Concert Hall.

Miley Cyrus? One of the Jonas Brothers?

No, we're talking teen idol before they were even born ... maybe even before their parents were born.

The show "Dr. Kildare" was an overnight success back in 1961, the precursor to medical shows like "E.R." and "Scrubs" and hunk doctors like George Clooney or Zach Braff. It starred a guy named Richard Chamberlain, who not only drove the women crazy with his drop-dead good looks, but also had hits with "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight" (the theme from "Dr. Kildare"), "Love Me Tender," "All I Have to Do is Dream" and "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo."

Since that time, Chamberlain, now 74, has been king of the mini-series with "Shogun," "The Thornbirds," "Wallenberg," "The Bourne Identity" and "Centennial." He will be the king of "Spamalot" - King Arthur, that is - when the show plays here Tuesday through Feb. 22.

"'Dr. Kildare' was a huge smash with the young people," Chamberlain said in a phone interview. "The show was just part of the whole mad experience of suddenly finding myself popular with the young people.

"We made the three or four records and they sold well, then I just didn't think of doing it anymore."

The success of "Dr. Kildare" helped launch Chamberlain's long acting career. "Shogun" earned Chamberlain a Golden Globe Award as Best Actor, as well as an Emmy nomination. He received another Golden Globe Award, Emmy nomination and a People's Choice Award for his work in "The Thornbirds."

On stage, his most recent parts include the title role in the U.S. premiere of "Scrooge" and the king in "The King and I" for Hawaii Opera Theatre. On TV, Chamberlain has guest starred on "Will & Grace," "Nip/Tuck," "Hustle" and "Desperate Housewives." On the big screen, he has been in the movies "The Three Musketeers," "The Four Musketeers," "The Return of the Three Musketeers," "Towering Inferno" and "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry."

His favorite role?

"That's a tough question," said Chamberlain, who lives in Hawaii. "I thought 'Wallenberg' was a wonderful series and 'Shogun' may be one of the best things done on TV. I also have vivid memories of doing 'Hamlet' in England.

"I've been so lucky to get some really fine material, and always thought the fun of acting is doing as many things as possible. I'm more than proud. I have immense gratitude to the show business and life itself."

Richard Chamberlain Online