Picks and Pans Review: Richard Chamberlain Made the Most of the Miniseries

updated 03/07/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/07/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Asked what he thinks of his unofficial title, King of the Miniseries, Richard Chamberlain replies, "Fine by me. Better than Slob of the Mini-series." With his handsome profile and swashbuckling presence, the former Dr. Kildare earned the crown by playing the kimono-draped 17th-century seaman John Blackthorne in Shogun, NBC's 12-hour, Nielsen-topping adaptation of James Clavell's novel about feudal Japan. That was followed, in 1983, by ABC's riveting 10-hour version of Colleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds, in which Chamberlain portrayed a priest tormented across decades by love for country girl Rachel Ward. Since then he has starred in Wallenberg: A Hero's Story (about Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg), Dream West (about explorer John Charles Fremont) and Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity, among others. But Thorn Birds' Father Ralph, says Chamberlain, 58, remains the best of such roles (he hopes to film a Thorn Birds sequel). One regret: the 1987 TV movie Casanova. As the notorious libertine, he says, "I was arch and supercilious and ridiculous." But no slob.


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