Winner of six Emmy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards, including the highly coveted Golden Globe for Best Miniseries, THE THORN BIRDS stars Richard Chamberlain (BROTHERS & SISTERS, The Perfect Family, Shogun).
Chamberlain – who won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor for his portrayal of the ambitious, alluring and conflicted Father Ralph de Bricassart – is joined by an award-winning cast including Academy Award® nominee Rachel Ward (RAIN SHADOW, On the Beach, Against All Odds) as Meggie Cleary, the beautiful, yet often neglected young woman who falls in love with Father de Bricassart; the wealthy and envious matriarch Mary Carson played by Barbara Stanwyck, who won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress, for her role in the miniseries; Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Up) as the ascetic, wise and understating Archbishop Contini-Verchese.
In THE THORN BIRDS, a wealthy Australian sheep station owner named Mary Carson, declares her deep yet unrequited love for a young parish priest, Father Ralph de Bricassart. Angry and frustrated, Mary dies shortly thereafter, knowing she can continue to control Father de Bricassart’s destiny, even from the grave. She places him far beyond the reach of anyone, especially her young niece Meggie Cleary, who falls in love with the priest. Father de Bricassart reciprocates his love and physical yearning for Meggie, however he is engaged in a constant struggle between his spiritual calling and his carnal desires. Spanning several generations, the saga chronicles the bittersweet lives, loves, secrets, tragedies and triumphs of a New Zealand farming family (originally released in 1983).
Based on the best-selling novel by Colleen McCullough, THE THORN BIRDS miniseries was directed by Emmy Award winner Daryl Duke (COLUMBO) and executive produced by Emmy Award winner and Academy® Award nominee David L. Wolper, who has spearheaded over 500 acclaimed film and television projects, including The Mists of Avalon, L.A. Confidential, the epic miniseries franchises for both ROOTS and NORTH AND SOUTH, Casablanca, The Hellstrom Chronicle and more. THE THORN BIRDS was produced by Emmy Award winner Stan Margulies, whose extensive list of motion picture and television credits include Dash and Lilly, THE JACKSONS: AN AMERICAN DREAM, ROOTS and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, among others.
A back-to-back marathon of THE THORN BIRDS will air the following Sunday, December 16th at 10 a.m. ET/PT on Encore.