Interview 2


Q: You look very fit and youthful. What are your reflections on turning 60?

RC: My intention is to become a Hawaiian beach bum who paints and occasionally acts. Seriously, I keep thinking my life has just begun. It still seems to be 'happening' and that is a great feeling. I have never been happier. I have always been a very controlled person and I have finally learned to loosen up. Professionally, for better or worse, there are quite a number of acting jobs I have recently done. (during 1997, a TV mini-series called "The Lost Daughter," and two films "All The Winters That Have Been," and "River To Drown In").

Q: If you had to choose, which do you prefer, theatre or cinema?

RC: I can't really say. When I am working in the theatre I think it's a great place to be. The adrenalin of having a live audience helps. At the same time I feel an obligation not to let people down especially when they have paid so much to see me. On the other hand it tends to go on and on. I did a year's run of "My Fair Lady" in 1993. It was a big hit, but I was ready to leave by the end of the year. Eight times a week for one year is a lot of repetition.

Q: What roles do you really enjoy playing?

RC: That's a hard question. I think what I look for in the theatre now is something new. There are very few good new plays and unfortunately Broadway has become so commercial, so expensive.

Q: Is there a characteristic that has helped you achieve success more than any other?

RC: Probably being single-minded about my career. It was definitely the most important thing in my life for years and years.

Q: I was surprised to read that despite your good looks and charm you were quite shy and introverted as a young man - a loner really?

RC: I wasn't exactly a hermit but I was psychologically very withdrawn and had very little self confidence. I couldn't even tell you why. But it's not uncommon for young actors to enter the profession with low self-esteem. You want to acquire the fame and fortune that you think will make you a worthwhile person. This gives a tremendous drive and then you discover after you have achieved some measure of success that it basically doesn't make you worthwhile at all. Real self-worth needs a deeper process.

Q: But you were attracted to the glamour for a while?

RC: Of course. There are areas of show business which are very seductive. The glitter of power is very attractive when you are around it but very unattractive for some reason when you are away from it. Eventually I lost interest in the celebrity lifestyle.

Q: Did growing up in Beverly Hills influence your choice of career?

RC: Not really. And I hasten to add that I grew up in the normal part of Beverly Hills not the wealthy section. My family lived on the other side of Wilshire Boulevard where your average family still lives.

Q: Is it possible to lead a normal life in Hollywood?

RC: It is possible, but difficult. When I lived in Los Angeles most of my friends were not in show business at all. It wasn't anything calculated on my part, it just happened. They helped to keep me level-headed.

Q: You spent almost five years in Britain in the late Sixties and early Seventies working as an actor. What did you gain from that experience?

RC: The general flavour of working in Hollywood is very tough, very power and wealth oriented. It matters very much who you know, where you are seen, what you drive, where you live. There is an awful lot of hype to the Hollywood scene. Conversely in Britain the only thing that really matters to anybody is the quality of your work. Nobody cares where you live or what car you drive and that is refreshing. My English experience was well-timed because it happened after the "Dr Kildare" TV series which I starred in became a hugh hit. Had I stayed in Hollywood my values might have become distorted because of my new-found fame and popularity. In England I was exposed to more solid values.

Q: Did you discover any other significant differences between British and American culture?

RC: One in particular has to do with the importance of language. British culture is a culture of language. Not only are the children in the United States no longer taught how to write, they can barely speak in sentences. I was impressed by the ability of English children to express themselves.

Q: Can you name a TV show you were in that you feel proud of?

RC: I would have to say "The Thorn Birds" - that was a good one.

Q: You live in Hawaii now. What made you settle down in the islands?

RC: In all my travels I have never encountered a place with the kind of sweetness there is on the islands. It is something that has affected the culture in the most extraordinary way. You see it in the generosity, openness and friendliness of the people. I am not saying that they are perfect, there's just a loveliness about there culture, but unfortunately we are paving over it as fast as we can in the name of progress. I want to do what I can to help them.