Douglas Thmopson - Author and International Journalist

More miniseries followed like ‘ Seventh Avenue ' and ‘East of Eden.' ‘ An agent told me that if I would lose my English accent I would never stop working in America .' She did and she hasn't.

Today as ‘Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman' she is the title star of one of the most successful TV series in America and one that is a worldwide ratings hit. She is so intent on maintaining the series that when she and her fourth husband James Keach held their baby shower for their recently arrived twins it was on the location set of the series in Agoura , California .

She has learned to use every situation to her advantage. She was lucky from the start having a happy stable family. Her parents, her late father John was a gynaecologist, her mother Mieke a Dutch-born Japanese prison camp internee during WW11, raised her and her two sisters, Sally,42, and Ann,41, to be confident with themselves:' Mummy and Daddy made us stay up for parties and hand round goodies to guests; they made us introduce ourselves and talk.'

From a protected childhood she went straight into a protected marriage. At 17, she met Sir Richard Attenborough's 18-year-old son Michael. They ‘dedicated our lives to one another' and married three years later. Five years later they were divorced.

‘He left me, you know. I didn't leave him.I didn't want us to break up. But we were just too young. And our interests were totally different We got back together again after he left me and decided we dearly loved one another but if we were to enjoy a relationship with one another it couldn't be while we were living together .

‘We were awful to each other, awful....All the time. We got on each other's nerves. .'

On her arrival in Hollywood she said of her first husband:' Now, we're terrific friends though of course he thinks I've sold out to the Devil by coming over here.Michael thinks I ought to be a great dramatic actress.'

They were such opposites you wonder why they married. What could have been her motivation?

‘We were in very different fields. I suppose we always were. The first time I realised that was when I did the James Bond film ( Solitaire in ‘Live and Let Die'). I was 21 and married. It was my first time away from home and my first time away from Michael and the first time in my life I was unprotected and had to think for myself.

‘I discovered I'd never made a decision for myself and I'd never credited myself with any thought on any subject and I came back from the film grown up.

‘Michael and I are the best of friends. The best thing that ever happened to us was that we did get married and we did get divorced. It was a friendly divorce too, by post, no lawyers, split everything equally.WIth enormous pride I can say I claimed no alimony. Neither did he, thank God! I was the one earning the money then!'

She says she was very low after the break up. Worse, she wasn't working:' I was obviously sending out signals saying Don't Employ Me, I'm a manic depressive! I was completely unable to cope.'

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