The Thorn Birds Cast: A Mini-Series About Australia Filmed In The U.S.

By Emily Morenz
Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward in 'The Thorn Birds.' Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Australian author Colleen McCullough, The Thorn Birds was the highest-rated miniseries in television history other than Roots. Airing for only a few days from March 27th to March 30th, 1983, the drama starring Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward and Barbara Stanwyck and others captivated the millions who gathered around their TVs to watch the Cleary family experience tragedy and triumph as they moved from New Zealand to Australia to work on their aunt’s farm. The Thorn Birds covers three separate generations that span from 1915-1969 and involves viewers’ favorite topics such as forbidden love, death, and an abundance of scandal. The cast was made up of numerous actors who'd already seen successful careers in entertainment, but others had their biggest breakthroughs in The Thorn Birds.