Shattered Love: A Memoir

Shattered Love: A Memoir

by Richard Chamberlain
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Shattered Love: A Memoir by Richard Chamberlain

From his breakout role in Dr. Kildare, through more than four decades of unforgettable performances on television and in film, Richard Chamberlain has epitomized the ideal leading man. Strong and handsome, sophisticated yet kindly, his public persona has drawn fans of all ages. But despite his worldwide acclaim in The Thorn Birds and Shogun -- two of the most successful miniseries of all time -- the actor himself has never led a life of easy confidence. Even at the height of his fame he lived in constant fear that the "real" Richard would one day be discovered -- and that the love he had gained from fans, family, and friends would be ripped away.

In Shattered Love, Richard Chamberlain recounts his fascinating journey as an impressionable boy growing up in postwar California who stumbled into the Hollywood of big studios, big money, and big personas. Through long days on the set and glittering evenings on the town with Joan Crawford, Princess Margaret, Elizabeth Taylor, and a cast of other colorful characters, Chamberlain gamely and tirelessly played his Golden Boy role. As time passed, however, he longed to reconcile his deepest self with his public persona -- including his sexual orientation, a secret he has guarded until now. With candor, honesty, and wit, Shattered Love captures Chamberlain's poignant struggle to come to terms with the truths in his life -- from his tumultuous relationship with his troubled father to his lifelong quest to find spiritual truth in everyday life.

Warm, touching, and brave, Shattered Love draws on a lifetime of stories and on lessons learned from some of the most inspiring spiritual teachers of our time -- sharing with readers the author's own journey from desperate suppression to a life lived with an open heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060087449
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/04/2004
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 298,539
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

Richard Chamberlain has starred in such classics as Dr. Kildare, The Thorn Birds, and Shogun and has received rave reviews for his theatrical turns in Hamlet, Cyrano de Bergerac, and My Fair Lady, as well as numerous other plays and films. Chamberlain lives in Hawaii, where he continues to act and pursue his passion for painting.

Read an Excerpt

Shattered Love

A Memoir
By Richard Chamberlain

Regan Books

ISBN: 0060087439

Chapter One

I was born in Los Angeles during the Great Depression and was quickly whisked off to Beverly Hills. Alas, it was to the normal, pre-90210 part of that glittering town, the "wrong" side of Wilshire Boulevard - and, even worse, the wrong side of Beverly Drive. In short, the wrong side of the now-vanished streetcar tracks.

My folks took out a thirty-five-year mortgage and bought a three-bedroom, one-and-a-quarter-bathroom house for a hefty seven thousand dollars. There were five of us: Chuck and Elsa, my father and mother; Bill, my brother; and soon Nonnie, my wonderful maternal grandmother.

There were no freeways, no tall buildings in L.A., no jet planes, no zip codes, no smog, no TV - and consequently no video games, no computers or cell phones, no drugs or guns at school. Some of our neighbors still had iceboxes instead of the newfangled fridges, so the ice truck trundled down our street every other day, delivering big blocks of ice. We kids used to clamor after the truck, begging for chunks to lick on hot summer days. The Good Humor man drove by too, ringing real bells. An ice cream bar cost five cents.

Who needed TV? We had the movies, at ten cents a double bill. And it was the golden age of radio - soap operas and music, dramas and news, on weekdays, and an extravaganza of comedy and variety shows on the weekends: Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Fred Allen, Red Skelton.

I loved listening to radio dramas and fairy tales and mysteries. Television scenes are limited by the varying skills of the actors, and especially by limited production budgets - you get only what the producers can afford. But my imagination had unlimited funds to spend on the images my radio evoked. And the picture tube in my head was wide-screen, full color, and a hundred feet high.

There were vacant lots galore with tall grass to play in. We used to hide in the grass, pulling up clumps with dirt clods at the end and then lofting these missiles over where we thought our friends were hiding. When you got hit with one it didn't usually hurt that much. The neighborhood was full of kids, and even at preschool age we were free to roam and play and invent adventure. No kidnappers, no molesters, and no drug dealers - house and car doors left unlocked - we felt safe; we took safety for granted.

I was seven years old on that Day of Infamy when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and savaged the U.S. Navy, awakening the Sleeping Giant and drawing us into mortal combat with the rampaging fascist forces of Germany, Japan, and Italy. Children pick up on just about everything, and my parents' initial shock at suddenly being at war scared my brother and me. Seeing this, they changed their tune and explained to us that the fighting was very, very far away, and that our brave and righteous military would keep us as safe and sound as we'd always been. Still believing that moms and dads speak only the truth, I bought this, and the war became in my juvenile imagination a distant high adventure, a rough-and-ready sporting event that we good guys were bound to win.

The war released a tremendous energy in the United States, which until then was still suffering the deprivations and gloom of the Depression. The accelerating war effort took on a youthful determination, a robust, vital innocence - we were so obviously the white-hatted heroes fighting valiantly against the black hats of darkness.

Even through our inevitable defeats and losses, Americans remained feisty and optimistic. Our energetic optimism was apparent in our jive-filled, swinging music, and in our exuberant jitterbugging. Movies fortified our confidence in our superb fighting men and pumped up our loathing of the villainous Germans and Japanese (somehow the Italians never seemed that dangerous). If you have to march out and kill people, it's useful to hate them.

Our grammar school had paper drives and scrap metal drives. We kids would collect old newspapers all through our neighborhoods and pile the playground high with stacks of carefully tied bundles of the Los Angeles Times and huge piles of scrap. Once I took a fancy to a sort of Oscar-like shiny brass trophy on one of these piles, stole it, and took it home. When Dad saw it he asked where I'd gotten it. I lied, saying that I'd found it in the alley. He asked me to show him exactly where. I was mighty scared, but I took him out into the alley behind our house and pointed out with my shaking finger a particular trashcan. Dad, no fool drunk or sober, fixed me with a gaze of Olympian severity and asked again, "Where did you get it?" I admitted, stuttering, "The s-scrap pile." We returned home and I got spanked, more for lying than stealing.

Food was rationed with allotted food stamps. I remember that butter and sugar and meat and, worst of all, bubble gum were in particularly short supply. Margarine was easier to get, but the dairy companies got a law passed permitting the sale of only white margarine in large, unbutterlike chunks. To make this white stuff more appetizing, my grandmother would soften it in the oven and then mix in yellow coloring. The newly yellow margarine would be cooled in molds the shape of normal butter cubes. This was a tricky procedure because if the margarine actually melted it would separate and become an inedible mess.

Automakers were all making military vehicles - Jeeps and tanks and such - so new cars were just about impossible to find. By the end of the war my dad's old Ford had well over two hundred thousand miles on it ...


Excerpted from Shattered Love by Richard Chamberlain
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Shattered Love: A Memoir 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Melissahil More than 1 year ago
Richard Chamberlain is not only a gifted actor, he is a natural on writing. If you are looking for a cheap thrill of a Hollywood actor biography, this isn't the book you are looking for. Naked honesty is what you will find here. I say this one is a keeper in my library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have always enjoyed Richard Chamberlain as an actor. This shows he is educated in a variety of subjects. A talented writer.....and NOT BORING. His views are interesting......... Intelligent and find he's even more likable, than before!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was in love with Dr. Kildare at age of him all over my bedroom including the ceiling...and I was awed by The Thorn of the best reads of my life and he captured Father Ralph to perfection...I gladly payed full price to see where my hero had gone in his life...I was not disappointed...he's a wonderfully wise, studied and curious man with an eye toward the sublime in all things...he's very kind and balanced...he's in touch with his own weaknesses and has cultivated genuine gratitude in their stead ...the issue of his sexual orientation is so softly woven into his life that it's of no consequence to those of us who loved the sexy leading a human being he sparkles among the hollywood tin we are expected to revere these days...he remains my love affair with this movie star just got better...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having loved Mr. Chamberlain since teenage years, I was fascinated to read his book. It was compelling, and enlightening, and truly a reflection of his kind, warm,and giving personality. As a born-again Christian, however, my views differ from his in certain points regarding spirituality, etc. but that does not change my high regard for him as an actor and humanitarian. Throughout his life, he has led it with dignity, and privacy devoid of tabloidism, and given us years of entertainment and joy with his performances. Blessings to this wonderful 'gentle'man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for gossip forget it not his style. He is too decent
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had owned a copy of this book since it was first released, but somehow the title was off-putting and I found other books I wanted to delve into first. When I settled down with Richard's magnificent road to self- discovery and what life and love and self --the great trilogy for me--were beginning to mean to him I almost wept. His acting was inspirational, but his quest for knowledge about himself was incredible. I plan to read the second half of this book again (the haikus were wonderful unto themselves) and works by authors who help him on his great quest for answers and self love. I hope Richard will share more of his self discovery journeys with us in another book devoted to finding love, spirit, harmony--and perhaps share some of his paintings with his words.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chamberlain's revelation of his homosexuality was no surprise (didn't we all hear about this years ago?), and he deals with it in a very sympathetic and dignified way. The story of this very complex, sensitive (and gorgeous!) young man finding his way through the treacherous landscape of Hollywood is both touching and fascinating!
Guest More than 1 year ago
scj-lv More than 1 year ago
Lots of insight into his thinking about life, work, and being.
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