'60s heartthrob Richard Chamberlain makes rare stage appearance
'Dr. Kildare' star appears in Pasadena production of 'The Heiress.'
If you're a television fan of a certain age, you probably have fond memories of actor Richard Chamberlain. He dominated the small screen a few decades back, starting with his portrayal of handsome, earnest young Dr. Kildare in the 1961-66 NBC medical drama and continuing with his work in mini-series such as "Shogun" and "The Thorn Birds."
Chamberlain, now 78 and a longtime Hawaii resident, makes a rare local appearance this month in "The Heiress" at the Pasadena Playhouse. He plays Dr. Austin Sloper, a stern but well-meaning New York physician living in the mid-19th-century whose complicated relationship with his plain daughter, Catherine, leads to tragedy when she becomes the object of a young man's affections.
Actor Richard Chamberlain bobbled a few lines but that didn't undermine a performance that combined magnetism, gravitas and extraordinary detail during the opening night of "The Heiress" at the Pasadena Playhouse on April 29. Chamberlain plays Dr. Austin Sloper, a wealthy New York physician who lives in the city's posh Washington Square neighborhood in 1850.
Actor Richard Chamberlain as Dr. Austin Sloper in "The Heiress" at the Pasadena Playhouse. Sloper takes an instant dislike to a young man named Morris Townsend, who is courting Sloper's daughter Catherine. Sloper distrusts the man's motives.
Heather Tom as Catherine Sloper. The actress is a three-time Emmy Award winner best known for her roles on "The Bold and the Beautiful," "The Young and the Restless" and "One Life to Live."
Steve Coombs, left, as Morris Townsend courts Catherine Sloper, right, played by Heather Tom. Catherine's father, Dr. Austin Sloper, suspects Morris is a fortune hunter who's after Catherine's considerable inherited wealth, which will be greatly increased upon her father's death.
Catherine Sloper (Heather Tom) falls completely in love with Morris Townsend. She decides to defy her father's wishes and marry the penniless young man.
Julia Duffy plays Lavinia Penniman, Dr. Austin Sloper's widowed sister. Lavinia is concerned about Catherine's shortcomings and lack of marriage prospects.
Richard Chamberlain, 78, became a familiar face through his many TV roles, starting with his portrayal of handsome, earnest young Dr. Kildare in the 1961-66 NBC medical drama and continuing with his work in mini-series such as “Shogun” and “The Thorn Birds.”
Heather Tom plays Catherine Sloper as a passionate but repressed young woman whose spirit is completely crushed by her stern father. She is a strong enough actor to counterbalance the magnetic performance of Richard Chamberlain as Catherine's father, Dr. Austin Sloper.
© 2012 Paul Hodgins
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