Do you remember watching Dr Kildare on TV, and if so, do you remember having a crush on the charming Doctor James Kildare? Played by Richard Chamberlain from 1961 to 1966, many in the Spring Chicken Community have never forgotten how he set their hearts a flutter back in the day, not only in this role, but in many more to follow.
“Oh, how I loved this man. I had his picture inside every cupboard door, so I could look at him every time I was getting the meals ready!”
I admit with no shame, he was my very first crush when I was 14 and he was Dr Kildare!
“I had all his photos pinned up on my bedroom wall when he was in Dr Kildare. I, along with so many others, adored him as the handsome doctor. I swore I’d marry a blonde, blue-eyed man – and I did!”
Richard Chamberlain became a teen idol in the ’60s, singing the theme song to Dr Kildare as well as starring in the title role, but according to Spring Chicken Facebook followers, the influence of the TV show extended far beyond the bedroom walls of teenage girls.
“Dr Kildare is one of the main reasons why I became a nurse. I still have the record he made, ‘All I Have to Do Is Dream’. Lovely memories.”
I loved Richard Chamberlain as Dr Kildare, and I named my son Richard after him.
“I always thought I was named Carol because I arrived close to Christmas. Turns out I was named after a nurse in Dr Kildare – my dad fancied her!”
The TV show was so popular that a whole range of themed merchandise became available, including an annual, a dressing up kit complete with stethoscope, and a Dr Kildare doll. Even the side-buttoned top worn by James Kildare became a fashion trend:
“Dr Kildare started a trend in side-buttoned blouses. My sister and I both had one.”
Those side-buttoned blouses were the in thing for the mods!
… to Heartbroken Priest
After hanging up his stethoscope in 1966, Richard Chamberlain went on to star in numerous films, including The Three Musketeers, Towering Inferno and The Slipper and the Rose, but his award-winning roles in several very popular TV mini-series earned him the title of “King of the Mini-Series” in the early ’80s. He played Edmond Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo
in 1975, Alexander McKeag in Centennial in 1978, Pilot-Major John Blackthorne in Shōgun in 1980, and then in 1983, priest Ralph de Bricassart in The Thorn Birds – a role that saw a whole new generation of viewers fall in love with him.
I loved Richard Chamberlain in The Thorn Birds. I named my cat Meggie after the girl who loved him!
In 1985, Richard starred in King Solomon’s Mines. In 1988, he was the first actor to play Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity, and his career continues to this day.
He’s now in his 80s, but still as handsome as ever – which Richard Chamberlain role is your favourite?