Article 5

Richard Chamberlain "I have finally found happiness"

In Hawaiian, "Aloha" means "welcome". Remaining faithful to the island's tradition, that's how Richard Chamberlain received me. He gave me a lei, a garland of flowers, before kissing me twice on the cheek. Tradition, always. Before his arrival in France, the hero of "Thorn Birds" and so many other successful series made an appointment for me at Waikiki at Honolulu. Still slim and seductive, not showing his 59 years (last 31st March).

You have copied Jack Lord, hero of the "Hawaii State Police" series who chose to live in Hawaii?

RC: I never see him, although we have friends in common. I respect his wish to escape from the world of television and cinema. Me, I still do act, he doesn't. He has really closed the door!

You accepted to see us in your paradise provided that we didn't see your house on Oahu 30 minutes away from here?

RC: I'm sorry for the readers of your magazine, many of whom have got used to writing to me for several years now, but when these photographs are seen in a magazine, I am certain to see tourists outside my door. Now, I chose Hawaii, a "paradise" as you put it so well, in order to live better, in peace, in harmony with nature. Here, I've finally found happiness. I owe it to myself to preserve that.

But people must recognise you when you go for a walk?

RC: Yes, but it's not like Los Angeles where I lived before. Here, everyone is pleasant. There is never any aggression, any tension. They let you live your life without disturbance. That's part of the philosophy of those who were born on the island or who have got used to living here.

You have been away a long time?

RC: A year. Incredible when you know the love I have for Hawaii, and the time it took me to choose a house. When I took on the leading role in the musical "My Fair Lady", I didn't imagine it would go on for a year. We went to the main cities in America, on to Broadway as well. You can't speak badly of such a success. It came to me when in the afternoons, in a room, I used to think about Hawaii, about my house, my friends, my dogs.

It was now lunch-time at the restaurant in the Hotel Halekulani, one of his favourites, he wants to choose the menu himself. For me, a local speciality, the famous Mahi Mahi, a fish caught that morning, with very white, tasty flesh and for him curried lamb. Suddenly, we felt away from everyone. I can understand why Richard has settled here.

What gave you the idea of choosing Hawaii?

RC: My parents came here on honeymoon a long time ago now and they often spoke of the fabulous place they had discovered. Then, it was like an obsession. During family mealtimes, they would talk about it. I was a pupil at Beverly Hills High School - the same one as in the series- and I was used to the rather noisy, rather crazy world of Hollywood and I used to say to myself that I shouldn't like that.

You've changed your mind?

RC: In 1970, I came here for the first time, with friends. It was then I understood their craze because I'd got it straightaway, just by getting off the boat. I didn't leave again before buying a little villa. At the time, it wasn't too expensive. Later, I built the house. At first, it was only a resting-place, very primitive, just like camping. Nowadays, it is more comfortable, without being over the top. I didn't come to this spot to transform it into a palace.