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Richard Chamberlain and Thorn Birds co-star Rachel Ward appear at PBS Pioneers of Television session at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, July 22, 2012. - Provided courtesy of Rahoul Ghose / PBS / ABC

Rachel Ward reunites with 'Thorn Birds' co-star Richard Chamberlain (Photo)

Get more: TV
07/23/2012 by Corinne Heller

Rachel Ward recently reunited with Richard Chamberlain, her co-star and on-screen love interest from the 1983 ABC mini-series "The Thorn Birds," for the first time in decades.

The two spoke at the network's "Pioneers of Television" season 3 presentation on Sunday night. The event is part of PBS' series of panels for Television Critics Association summer tour, which is aimed at promoting upcoming programs and is taking place this week in Beverly Hills, California.

"You look more beautiful than ever, by the way," Chamberlain told Ward, according to Access Hollywood.

Chamberlain, 78, and Ward, 54, had not appeared on stage together since "The Thorn Birds" ended production almost 30 years ago. The last time they met was when they ran into one other in an airport in Thailand several years ago. Aside from "The Thorn Birds," the two also both starred in the 2006 Hallmark TV movie "Blackbeard," which was filmed in the south Asian state.

"We were working on the same project, but we didn't have scenes together. Rachel was just leaving town and I was just coming in and we met in the airport for about 10 minutes and it was so great to see you," the outlet quoted Chamberlain as saying.

"The Thorn Birds" tells the story of the Cleary family, which moves from New Zealand to Australia. Ward played the family's daughter, Meggie, who falls in love with Chamberlain's character, the family's priest, Father Ralph de Bricassart. "The Thorn Birds" won six Emmys. Chamerlain was nominated for one but lost to Tommy Lee Jones, who received a nod for"The Executioner's Song."

Ward ended up marrying another "Thorn Birds" co-star - Bryan Brown, who played her character's husband, Luke O'Neill. The pair has three children - daughters Rosie and Matilda and a son, Joe.

She went on to star with Jeff Bridges in the 1984 film "Against All Odds" but later concentrated mostly on television films. Her last acting role was in the 2007 mini-series "Rain Shadow." She currently directs Australian TV shows such as "My Place" and "The Straits."

Ward said at the TCA panel that the critics spurred her to stop acting, adding: "When I got slaughtered, I really took it to heart. I never really got my confidence back after that," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Chamberlain was a heartthrob in the 1960s, thanks in part of his title role in the series "Dr. Kildare." He has also had guest spots on contemporary shows such as "Desperate Housewives," "Chuck" and "Leverage" and played an HIV-positive man on the ABC drama series "Brothers and Sisters."

PBS' "Prioneers of Television" series features Chamberlain, Ward, Brown and other veteran TV stars, such as Cloris Leachman, sharing behind-the-scenes stories and facts about television shows. The show premieres in January 2013.

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