Richard Chamberlain isn't like anyone else
He's not like anything that ever happened before! If you ever have the good fortune to meet America's most vivid new star (as I have) this is most likely what you will say.
Richard Chamberlain has "something" about him that is so totally different and completely compelling that he cannot be compared to anyone else in show business. Film star Joan Crawford puts it this way: "He has a unique kind of magic that literally seems to reach right out from the screen and grab you."
In real life Dick Chamberlain is anything but "Merlin The Magician." He lives a simple day-to-day existence that goes something like this: Up at 6 am, and makes his own breakfast of scrambled eggs and coffee. He feeds peanuts to his morning visitors - two blue-jays and a smattering of rabbits and squirrels. Then he takes off for the studio in white sneakers, a T-shirt and faded jeans.
Five days a week Dick reads scripts rehearses and performs his role of "Dr. Kildare" for his TV series. He usually gets through at the studio by six each evening, and is home by seven.
In the evenings, and in his spare time, Dick either takes lessons (singing or dancing), types out personal answers to written interview questions, studies lines or writes personal letters to fans and friends.
"Doctor" Dick seldom has time to go out dating. When he does, he is happiest doing something quite informal.
On a recent trip to New York Dick's biggest "fun" day was an afternoon spent ambling through the world famous Bronx zoo.
Dick had long dreamed of being a recording artist before he signed with MGM Records. He was very nervous about the first cutting date, but his ill-founded fears vanished when the "Theme from Dr. Kildare" unanimously won public acceptance.
When Dick was asked by MGM Records' president Arnold Maxim and West Coast boss Jesse Kaye if he would do "Love Me Tender," he hesitated at first.
After he'd taken the song home and worked it into his own style he was satisfied that he would be so different that he wouldn't be accused of copying Elvis - and that his disc would be so different that the two could not be compared.
Richard Chamberlain is a completely professional performer. When he arrives at a record session, he has all the songs down pat and is ready to work. Dressed informally and relaxed, he gets right down to business.
He prefers no audience at a session and any photographers or writers who are there have to wait till his work is done before he will see them.
Dick explains it this way: "Since you can only do one job at a time well, this is the way I work. You always get the best results when all your energies are completely concentrated on what you are doing."
This of course, delights all his co-workers, and specially those in the record business. Here's how Jesse Kaye describes Dick: "He is the most co-operative artist I have ever had the pleasure to work with. He does the fullest day's - or night's - work of anyone in the business."
In his private life (what little of it there is!) Dick Chamberlain has his own strong personal likes. He likes any kind of animal, human or otherwise, first and foremost.
He loves to go on picnics and hikes. When he can grab a weekend afternoon away from his work, he and his steady girlfriend, actress Clara Ray, pack up a lunch-box of fried chicken, devilled eggs, bread and wine, and take off to the wilds high above Malibu Beach, just outside of Hollywood.
One of Dick's favourite pastimes is what he calls "collecting junk."
Recently he found a rusty, old birdcage on a back lot at the MGM studios. He took it home, cleaned it, painted it black, parked a hugh candle in it and hung it by a chain in his apartment foyer. All his friends flip for it!
On the rare occasions when Dick dresses up for a special date he is as particular as a male model. Everything must match or blend perfectly - and be interestingly under-stated. He prefers dark clothes for dressy dates and loves exotic restaurants with lots of atmosphere.
Sailing, swimming, and water-skiing are his favourite sports. In fact, the ocean has a very strong attraction for Dick Chamberlain and often at night he walks alone y it.
He specially likes to take these midnight strolls on foggy nights!
TV's Doctor Kildare possesses a mischievous sense of humour and he loves to wear trick make-up on the set - such as a wig, a blacked-out tooth or two, or a false nose. He walks on to the set in his get-up without cracking a smile and goes on with his work until someone spots it - and breaks up!
Co-star Raymond Massey recently pulled a "reverse Chamberlain" on Dick by turning up on the set dressed from head to toe as Abraham Lincoln, a role for which he is world famous.
Richard Chamberlain's two unfulfilled secret goals are to star in a big Technicolor musical movie and to do his own night-club act. He loves performing for live audiences, a privilege he has seldom had the chance to enjoy.
Right now Dick is hard at work on his series and is also cutting sides for his first album, to be released around the first of the new year, called simply "Richard Chamberlain Sings."
Recently, when Dick (who gets a record breaking 15,000 fan letters a week) did a public appearance at a large New York department store, he signed 3,000 autographs, for fans from four to 60! All during this exhausting ordeal he remained gracious and calm - and it was not a pose. That's the way he really is!
When he finally had to leave to catch his plane back to Hollywood, he shook hands with those who were left and apologised for having to go.
The crowd was an all-time record for the store, and though there were innumerable teenaged girls present, there were no riots, no clothes-ripping, no pushing and shoving and no hysterics. For Dick Chamberlain is not like any other young star in the world today.
There is something about him that has a calming influence on his admirers. He transmits great warmth and tenderness - qualities that make his fans feel intensely close to him. He radiates love.
It takes many, many things to make a big star - and Richard Chamberlain is one of those very few who possess all the ingredients of greatness. He will be with us for a very long time.