The Thorn Birds is an award-winning Australian American miniseries from 1983 and takes place at the beginning of the 20th century in Australia. Four episodes of the series were produced and first broadcast on ABC in 1983. The Thorn Birds won six Emmy Awards and seven Golden Globes in 1984.
In The Thorn Birds, Richard Chamberlain portrayed father "Ralph de Bricassart", which is banished to the Australian outback. There he befriends the owner of a large sheep farm, "Mary Carson". The series revolves around the forbidden relationship between father "Ralph" and "Meggie Cleary", the niece of "Mary Carson". Father "Ralph" has to choose between his love for "Meggie" and that for the Church – his devotion to God wins in the end. But their paths cross again and again...
Richard Chamberlain (84) celebrated his first successes already during the 1970's. His big breakthrough came with The Thorn Birds. in 1995 he appeared again in the sequel The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years. Chamberlain also starred in many musicals and had engagements on Broadway. In his career of actor won three Globes Golden, including one for The Thorn Birds.
Rachel Ward had her breakthrough as "Meggie" in The Thorn Birds.
Rachel Ward (59) was also nominated for a Golden Globbe for her portrayal of "Meggie"Cleary and really celebrated her breakthrough with The Thorn Birds. Today, Ward works as a Director, screenwriter and actress. In this photo, we see her with her son Joe.
The Australian actor Bryan Brown played "Luke O'Neill", a worker from the sheep farm who later marries "Meggie".
But "Luke" only married "Meggie" for her estate and her family's money. Their relationship is never really heartwarming or emotional, but rather cold and distant - he senses her secret longing for father "Ralph".
Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown (70) got to know each other and fell in love on the set of the mini series. They were married in 1983 and have three children. Bryan Brown starred in countless films and TV series. He also appeared alongside Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in the movie Australia. Most recently, he starred in Gods of Egypt.
Hollywood legend Barbara Stanwyck portrayed the landowner "Mary Carson" on "The Thorn Birds". Barbara Stanwyck died on January 20, 1990 at the age of 82. The actress was nominated for an Oscar four times during her career and won the Academy's Honorary Award in 1981 for "for superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting.". She also won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her performance in The Thorn Birds.
In The Thorn Birds, Ken Howard played the character of "Rainer Hartheim". Unfortunately, the actor died in 2016 at the age of 72. Before his death, he had last appeared in the movie Joy, alongside Jennifer Lawrence. He was also featured in shows like 30 Rock, Blue Bloods and The Young and the Restless.
Sydney Penny played the young "Meggie" in the first part of The Thorn Birds. Penny (46) is a popular American actress, from 1993 to 2008 she starred in the series All my Children, and from 2003 to 2005 she was part of the main cast of The Bold and the Beautiful. In 2014, she starred in several episodes of the series Pretty Little Liars.
In The Thorn Birds, Jean Simmons played "Fiona Cleary", "Meggie's" mother. Simmons has appeared in countless Hollywood films and was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in the classic Hamlet in 1948. She won two Golden Globe Awards and and Emmy for The Thorn Birds. Simmons also starred in the series North and South for eleven episodes. Jean Simmons died from lung cancer on January 22, 2010, at the age of 80.
Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward were one of THE on-screen couples of the eighties. The two actors celebrated a little The Thorn Birds reunion in 2012, when they appeared on the PBS show Pioneers of Television. They seemed pretty happy about seeing other again!