Favorite TV MDs
By Susan King, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
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( Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times )
Richard Chamberlain "Dr. Kildare" (1961-66)
Pre-Op: Chamberlain appeared in two forgettable movies, "The Secret of the Purple Reef" in 1960 and "A Thunder of Drums" in 1961, before landing the plum role of Dr. James Kildare in the NBC medical drama.
Scrubs: Kildare was a noble young intern at the large Blair General Hospital who was trying to help his patients while winning the respect of his crusty mentor, Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Raymond Massey). Tall and handsome, Chamberlain became an overnight heartthrob especially with teen girls. During the run of "Kildare" he became a popular recording artist and starred in the 1963 legal drama "Twilight of Honor" and the 1965 romantic drama "Joy in the Morning."
Post-Op: He went to Broadway after the end of "Kildare" to star in the ill-fated 1966 Broadway musical version of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with Mary Tyler Moore, which closed in previews. Heading to England, though, he found success in many British films, such as "The Music Lovers," "The Three Musketeers," and "The Four Musketeers." He also ventured to Australia to star in Peter Weir's landmark 1977 thriller "The Last Wave." Chamberlain, though, made his biggest impression in the acclaimed TV productions and miniseries, especially "Shogun" and "The Thorn Birds," that he made in the 1970s, '80s and '90s. His more recent work includes the Adam Sandler comedy "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" and a guest role as Lynette's stepfather on "Desperate Housewives."