Shattered Love: A Memoirby Richard Chamberlain
In Shattered Love, Richard Chamberlain poignantly recounts his lifelong struggle to find happiness. Tracing a fascinating path over his meteoric rise to success, he chronicles his struggle to come to terms with his own imperfections, his growing desire to be honest about his sexual orientation, and his yearning to live with an open heart. And along the way/em>… See more details below
In Shattered Love, Richard Chamberlain poignantly recounts his lifelong struggle to find happiness. Tracing a fascinating path over his meteoric rise to success, he chronicles his struggle to come to terms with his own imperfections, his growing desire to be honest about his sexual orientation, and his yearning to live with an open heart. And along the way he imparts the lessons he has learned about overcoming our own self–imposed obstacles to happiness.
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Shattered LoveA Memoir
By Richard Chamberlain
Regan BooksISBN: 0060087439
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.
Meet 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.
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