Rachel Ward on a bed of 'Thorns'
Posted July 22, 2012
Sometimes, bad reviews stick with you.
Rachel Ward starred in one of the most successful TV projects of all time, 1983's The Thorn Birds. She played opposite the King of the Miniseries, Richard Chamberlain. She met her husband while making it, actor Bryan Brown.
But what she seems to remember best about The Thorn Birds, at least in front of the press, is the horrible reviews she received. And, she says, they changed her life.
"When I got slaughtered, I really took it to heart. I really went, 'This isn't for me.' ... I never got my confidence back again," she says. "I'm much more comfortable behind the camera," these days directing.
She does seem to think the reviews were not unwarranted; she concedes she never got hold of the role. Still, "I'm here today because I really value the opportunity to be in The Thorn Birds and I really value the reception it got from the public," she says. "I feel honored to be a part of it. But I did not want to repeat it."
Of course no one is likely to repeat it now. The miniseries is all but dead. And Chamberlain says that's a shame. "It was a terrific medium. Thrilling to be a part of," he says. "I don't know if people are offered those experiences any more. I'm so thrilled I was a part of it."
Chamberlain, Ward and Brown were on a panel for the PBS series Pioneers of Television. They were joined by Louis Gossett Jr., who made a strong pitch for more diversity on TV; Michele Lee, who spoke about Knots Landing's popularity with an African-American audience; and Cloris Leachman, who spent much of the press conference trying to unbutton Brown's shirt.
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