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Teen Idols of the 80’s #2

12 Apr

Willie Aames teen years

Well this is a tough one Hunky Men or Teen Idol category, Willie was both.  Born in 1960 Aames was an adult by the time the 80’s rolled around but came to stardom in the TV family drama “Eight is Enough” playing Tommy Bradford 1977-1981.

Charles in Charge

A minor success opposite Scott Baio in “Charles in Charge”  (who also falls into the Teen/Hunky Men category)  and a series of  forgettable movies including the unforgettable “Paradise” only because it starred Phoebe Cates in numerous nude scenes.  Paradise was a blatant copy of the Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins another teen idol that did not make it to Hunky Men status.

Aames and Cates in Paradise 1982


Child Star Syndrome

Willie made his acting debut at the age of 11 in the” Odd Couple”  and went on to appear in some of the top rated TV shows throughout the 70’s  “Adam 12”, “Gunsmoke”, Medical Centre”, “Waltons” and the Voice of Jamie Boyle  on the animated show “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home”.  In his memoir “Grace is Enough” co-written with his then wife Maylo Upton,  Aames reveals the sad saga of  a hollywood  child star;   molested at 11, drinking and using drugs while filming Eight is Enough with co-star Grant Goodeve, making $1 million a year, own home at 18, married and divorced,  filed for bankruptcy in 2008, attempted suicide, lost his house and car, had garage sale to raise money and unemployed for almost 3 years.  After years of drug and alcohol abuse Aames became straight and sober,  a born again Christian and met his 2nd wife Maylo who was also seeking addiction treatment at the  time.  In 2008 Aames was working as a construction labourer and since has found a job with a cruise line with the entertainment staff.   No matter what decade the hollywood child star story is almost always tragic.

The Cosby Show

10 Apr

The Cosby Show - The Huxtable Family Original Cast

The Cosby Show dominated the airwaves in the 80’s; 201 episodes aired from 1984 – 1992 earning 20-30 million viewers per episode and one of only 3 TV shows to be #1 five years in a row.  This 30 minute sitcom was ground breaking and trendsetting at the same time.  The affluent and professional couple Claire (Phylicia Rashad) and Cliff (Bill Cosby) in the role of “Lawyer Mom” and “Doctor Dad” portrayed African American life as it was never seen before on TV, a normal everyday family that just happen to be black, this was not Sandford and Son.  Sometimes  criticized for not being “Black” and reflecting the the real state of race relations in the US the Cosby show  was not overtly political or racial but subtle in Family Values and African American culture largely based on Cosby’s own family and comedy routine.  The show highlighted Cosby’s observations, facial expressions and family interactions  with the younger cast members for humour avoiding the standard sitcom one liner and canned laughter.  When they did tackle issues of the day they were family issues and not specifically related to race.  The show could have been the “Waltons” with darker skin.  The show was praised by many of all colours for it’s  positive portrayal of family and  parenting.

The Cosby Kids, The Bill Cosby Show, The New Bill Cosby Show

Cosby was one of the first Stand Up Comedians to have and star in their own sitcom show named after them self and based upon their comedy routine, Sienfeld, Roseanne, Drew Carey and Ellen were all to follow.

Bill Cosby for Jello

Cosby was extremely popular as a stand up act in the 70’s and had a number of  unsuccessful TV shows, 3 in total with variations of his name in the title prior to The Cosby Show,  most notably Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.  He was  also fondly remembered as the spokesperson for Jello.  Cosby’s personal interest in jazz led to 0ver 50 special guest star appearances: Lena Horne, Stevie Wonder,  Placido Domiongo, Dizzie Gillispie, Tito Puente  and Sammy Davis Jr. along with current and soon to be acting celebrities, John Ritter, Debbie Allen, Rita Moreno, Sonia Bragga, Robert Culp, Adam Sandler, Robin Givens, Naiomi Cambell, Alicia Keys, Danny Kaye, Red Buttons and Christopher Plumber to name a few.

The Cosby Show came to an end as all great shows do with ratings in decline and a spin off   “A Different World” featuring Lisa Bonet as she leaves the Huxtable home and begins her university education at Hillman college, it aired for 6 seasons.  The final episode aired during the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles.

Hunky Men of the 80’s

5 Mar

Adrian Zmed

Adrian Zmed, teen heart-throb almost at 30.

It is only fitting that I balance Sexy Women of the 80’s with Hunky Men.  Adrian Zmed gets first post as he was a staple of the very late 70’s and all over television in the 80’s appearing in episodic series Starsky and Hutch, Love Boat, Empty Nest, Bosom Buddies, Goodtime Girls, Murder She Wrote and the list goes on.  Like so many actors, a high school sports star he suffered a severe injury to his knee playing football and thus turned to acting and singing.   It was  in 1982 when he appeared in both Grease 2 with Michelle Pfeifer and TJ Hooker (82-85) playing the character Vince Roman alongside William Shatner and Heather Locklear did he rise to the top of the Handsome Hunk heap.

Zmed, shirtless as he often was on TJ Hooker


Zmed  and Locklear were constantly being scripted into situations that called for shirtless or skimpy outfits as they often did police duty undercover even tough they were uniformed officers.  Adrian went on to minor success on the large screen with Bachelor Party starring a young Tom Hanks and Tawny Kitaen.  His big screen career never rose higher than this and he returned to TV series and specials. In 85 he departed TJ hooker and became the host of Dance Fever for 2 years and has kept active with numerous TV appearances.  Zmed can be found performing Adrian Zmed In Concert on  the Princess cruise ship line.  Adrian turns 57, March 4, 2011.

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