Wednesday, April 28, 2010
During his long, successful career, Richard Chamberlain has played a wide variety of roles. But who knew that he could also do a pitch-perfect impression of Katharine Hepburn?
Chamberlain played opposite the legendary actress in the 1969 film "The Madwoman of Chaillot." He recalls that Hepburn demanded to meet him before he could get the role of Roderick in the comedy.
"I had to fly to France for her to OK me for the part," says Chamberlain, still "Shogun" handsome at 76. "She loved to fool around. We did a scene in this park where I had just tried to drown myself. I was lying with my head in her lap on this park bench. They were lighting the scene and she started fooling around with my hair."
And his ears. Conjuring up the spirit of the late, great Kate, Chamberlain mimics her, saying in her distinctive patrician style, "Oh, little pig ears. Close to your head. Just like mine. It means you are very selfish.' "
Chamberlain is relaxing in the living room of his three-bedroom West Hollywood apartment. His primary residence has been Hawaii for the last 25 years, but last July he moved back to Los Angeles — he's actually a Beverly Hills native.
"This is my hometown and it's great being back," he enthuses. He seems to be busier than ever. The next day, he was flying to Oregon to appear as the world's greatest thief on the TNT series "Leverage."
"My agent just called from England; they want me to do a play there this summer," says Chamberlain, who came to fame nearly 50 years ago as the idealistic "Dr. Kildare" on the NBC series.