Article 67

Why Iím Single at 48!

At 48, Hollywood heart-throb Richard Chamberlain has everything -except a wife.

The star of the new TV blockbuster, "The Thorn Birds," has had a string of glamorous girlfriends. Yet none of his affairs have ended at the altar.

He says: "Most of the time when I am close to getting married, I get cold feet. And now it seems when my feet do warm up I get jilted."

"People often ask why I havenít married but I suppose I just havenít met the right girl yet. Iíve had some wonderful relationships but the fact that the women I like now are very different from those of ten years ago shows how much I have changed."

Friends believe the former Dr. Kildare is afraid that once he marries he wonít be young any more.

He has often admitted he fears growing old.

Chamberlainís first big love affair was with lovely singer Clara Ray. They met when Dr. Kildare was earning him a record 12,000 fan letters each week.

Clara said of Chamberlain: "Some girlsí fancy is taken by wild, exciting men. But most like a man who has sensitivity and understanding. Dick has these qualities.

"His idea of a pleasant evening is to barbecue steaks and go to the movies. His tastes are amazingly uncomplicated."

But from telling friends that he intended to marry Clara, Chamberlain suddenly began saying they were just good friends. And the affair fizzled out.

When Chamberlain came to England in the late Sixties, he fell for young Shakespearean actress Gemma Jones -later the star of TVís "Duchess Of Duke Street."

A close friend said: "Dick really wanted to marry Gemma. He was as much in love with her talent as he was with her person."

"He saw them as a husband and wife acting team like Burton and Taylor."

"It was probably the happiest time of his life. They were inseparable. But after two years of constant planning of their future, the relationship fell apart."

"Dick went around with a long face and his heart on his sleeve. But Gemma had given him his confidence back."

"When he had arrived in England he was a frightened, nearly panic-stricken man. He was afraid his great success with Dr. Kildare had been just a fluke."

While filming "The Count Of Monte Cristo," Chamberlain met Taryn Power, the 21-year-old daughter of actor Tyrone Power.

Chamberlain said: "Sheís only four years out of boarding school. But she has a tremendous personality and knows just how to turn it on."

But once again just when it seemed the romance was white hot, it all fizzled out.

Chamberlain says he has a special girl in his life at the moment but she is not in showbusiness.

"Hollywood and showbusiness are not my whole life," he says. "It can be pretty tense living in the fast lane of Hollywood. Itís not for me really."

He has a home in Hawaii -where some of "The Thorn Birds" was filmed- and another in New York. He also has a small ranch house in a canyon near Hollywood which he shares with two Dalmatian dogs.

Chamberlain puts his still-youthful looks down to his parents.

He says: "They are both 82 now and looking good. My father is ill. But even ill he still looks good!"