Chatting with Richard Chamberlain
By Rob Faubion
    Television and stage icon Richard Chamberlain says he’s having a great time on stage every night.  Currently leading the cast in the national tour of Monty Python’s Spamalot, the esteemed actor is garnering rave reviews across the nation as King Arthur in the hit musical “lovingly ripped off” from the classic 1975 comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    Chamberlain took time out from the tour - which plays Austin on March 10th through 15th - to chat with about having fun with Spamalot, his
Richard Chamberlain
(photo by Greg Gorman,
courtesy Panacea Entertainmen)
performing highs and lows, and his advice to gay actors. What inspired you to take the role as King Arthur in Spamalot?

RC: Well, I wanted desperately to see the show, because I think the Pythons are brilliant and Mike Nichols - the director - is a genius.  So I got to see the show in New York and just loved it.  And it was this mad, off-the-wall craziness.  I haven’t had the
chance to do much comedy in my career, for whatever reason, so I really wanted to do this show.  What’s your favorite part of being in the show?

RC: There is a scene with the Black Knight with chopping off his arms and legs, and it is just the most bizarre and insane thing that I’ve ever seen.  I just love doing that scene every night!  Musical theatre is not a new venture for you - you’ve had leads in My Fair Lady and Sound of Music, you toured nationally in Scrooge and you even starred in Company
(© Broadway Across America)
for PBS back in the late 70s.  Is musical theatre one of your passions?

RC:  Not really, curiously enough.  I really enjoyed playing in King and I and Company, but you could play me a song from a musical, and I wouldn’t know what show it was from.  I think My Fair Lady and Sound of Music are both brilliant shows.  And lot of people of my generation - I’m in my early 40s - don’t remember, but you had top-selling albums during your rise to fame as Dr. Kildare.  Was it difficult to balance those two career paths being a television star and a pop star?  
Chamberlain in his Dr. Kildare days (photo courtesy

RC: I don’t know what you mean by a “pop star.”  I believe the success of the songs was because of Dr. Kildare.  I wouldn’t have had that success if it wasn’t for the television show.  You’ve created several iconic roles in your career: Dr. Kildare, plus starring roles in the miniseries Shogun, Thorn Birds, Centennial.  As an actor, do you find it a positive or a limiting asset to have been so strongly identified with a particular role - or in the case of miniseries, a particular entertainment genre?

RC:  Because of Dr. Kildare, it would have been a limited problem in America.  I was this popular guy that was in everyone’s living rooms every week, so I went to England for four years.  And I got to do a lot of classic roles there.
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