July 22, 2012 7:15pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
TCA 2012: Rachel Ward Reveals She Left Acting After Bad Reviews for 'Thornbirds'
Rachel Ward -- who starred in the wildly popular 1983 miniseries The Thornbirds with Richard Chamberlain -- appeared at the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour Sunday and admitted that it was the critics that drove her out of acting.
Although The Thornbirds was wildly popular, Ward received excoriating reviews for her performance.
“When I got slaughtered, I really took it to heart,” she said. “I never really got my confidence back after that.”
Ward appeared at TCA to support the PBS special Pioneers of Television along with Chamberlain, Louis Gossett Jr. (Roots), Michele Lee (Knots Landing), Cloris Leachman (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Raising Hope) and Ward’s husband, Bryan Brown (who met her on Thornbirds).
Ward, who still does occasional acting, moved to Brown’s native Australia, where she has directed television series.
“As an actress, obviously you need a bit of talent,” she continued. “I think you need enormous guts to have a go at it.”
“Or tits,” chimed in Lee.
“I think you need self-confidence, which I didn’t have,” Ward said. “I feel honored to have been part of [The Thornbirds], but I didn’t want to repeat the experience.”