1970s Male Teen Idols
The cutest and most talented 70s male teen idols!
This is my growing list of the cutest and most talented male teen idols from the 1970s. These cuties became famous on hit TV shows, with songs at the top of the charts, or just because their likenesses graced the pages of teen magazines such as Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, or Super Teen.
Most of these guys would out-grow their teen idol status and become accomplished entertainers in television, film, or music. Others didn't fare as well over time and simply disappeared from the spotlight for one reason or another.
Also, please note, that maybe your favorite actorsl isn't listed, and that is because he may have "earned" a spot on the companion page to this, 1970's Popular and Handsome TV Actors. With a page this size, I can't list everyone who could fit into this category, so I broke it down into two articles.
So, let's get started with our look back, shall we?
Willie Aames from Eight Is Enough
Willie Aames was a child actor in the 1960s and appeared on Adam 12, Gunsmoke and The Courtship of Eddie's Father.
In the '70s he did stints on Cannon, Medical Center, and The Waltons. On The Odd Couple, starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman, Aames was the first actor to play Felix Unger's son, Leonard, a role which would eventually be assumed by another teen-idol-to-be, Leif Garrett.
In 1976, Aames got the role of Tommy Bradford in the series Eight Is Enough, which ran until 1981.
Aames became an ordained minister and appeared as a Christian superhero in the video series Bibleman from 1995-2004.
Jimmy Baio Was Billy Tate on Soap
There isn't a lot of information available about Jimmy Baio. We know that his television career began at 13 when he played an uncredited part on the TV series, Ellery Queen.
In 1976, he was cast to play Nick Vitale in the series Joe and Sons, which lasted for one season. The next year he joined the cast of Soap, playing Billy Tate. He stayed with the show until 1981.
Baio went on to appear as a guest star on various TV shows in the 1980s and '90s, but it appears that he retired from acting in 1996.
It is also cool to note that Jimmy is Scott Baio's cousin. Another cousin is Joey Baio, who had some success as an actor in the 1950s and '60s.
Scott Baio from Happy Days
Baio got his big break in the 1976 film Bugsy Malone playing the title character. What made this film so different from other gangster films was that it was an all-kid cast and a musical.
But the role most associated with Baio is Chachi Arcola from Happy Days. I have to admit that I was never taken with Scott Baio as Chachi on Happy Days, or even with his popular TV "cousin," The Fonz. But lots of other girls found them both to be dreamy.
Baio came on the scene in season five and lasted until season nine, when he left for the spin-off series, Joanie Loves Chachi, which lasted two seasons. He returned to Happy Days for its last season, when his series was cancelled.
The cancellation didn't slow him down. Baio went on to star in another popular syndicated series, Charles in Charge, which ran from 1984 to 1990.
His most recent project, See Dad Run, debuted on Nick at Nite in October, 2012 and was cancelled after three seasons.
Lenny Bari From Fish
Lenny starred in Fish, the short-lived spin off from Barney Miller. Abe Vigado's character became a foster father of sorts to five street-wise kids; Loomis (Todd Bridges), Victor (John Cassisi), Jilly (Denise Miller), Diane (Sarah Natoli) and of course, Mike played by Lenny.
Lenny began singing at the age of 5 and when he was 10 he was singing at the Little Miss American Pageant in New York when he was spotted by a manager who signed him immediately.
By the time he was 15 he was starring on Broadway (never having had an acting lesson in his life) in The Me Nobody Knows. He eventually ended up in the road company for Grease.
There isn't a lot of information available on Lenny, The Internet Movie Database offers up just a few credits for him after his gig on Fish. The feature film Skatetown U.S.A., a guest stint on both, Quincy and Hill Street Blues with both of those appearances being in 1981.
The Bay City Rollers
This Scottish pop group was originally formed in 1967 with a different line-up. The Rollers we know from the '70s consisted of brothers Alan and Derek Longmuir, Eric Faulkner, Stuart "Woody" Wood, and Les McKeown.
After having major success in the UK, executives at Arista Records thought these guys had a chance to make it big in the US. They were right. The group hit #1 on the Billboard charts with S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night, which just a few years before had completely failed to chart in the UK. Another hit song, Money Honey reached #9 on the charts and the boys seemed unstoppable. But the stress of success took its toll on bassist, Alan Longmuir and he quit the band in 1976 and was replaced by 17-year-old cutie, Ian Mitchell. Mitchell also wasn't destined to last long with the group and he was replaced by Pat McGlynn, whose time with Rollers was also short-lived.
In 1978, Alan Longmuir returned to the band just as they were about to make their Saturday morning debut on the Krofft Super Star Hour. The show was eventually renamed The Bay City Rollers Show, and lasted for only 13 episodes. After the show failed, and with their popularity slipping, singer Les McKeown left the band and struck out on his own. By 1979 the band was called simply, "The Rollers."
At present there is no official Bay City Rollers band, but Mitchell, Faulkner and McKeown have each toured and included BCR songs in their acts.
Dirk Benedict Was Battlestar Galactica's Starbuck
The first time I ever saw Dirk Benedict was on his short-lived 1974 TV series Chopper One in which he played Officer Gil Foley.
Then just a few years later, Benedict got his big break. He played Lt. Starbuck on the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica, which only lasted for one season. Some called it a Star Wars take-off, and not a very good one at that. In fact, I do believe there were some lawsuits going on between 20th Century Fox and Battlestar's producers, Universal Studios.
Before Battlestar and even Chopper One, Benedict starred in a cult classic horror film called Sssssss (1973) playing the lab assistant to a scientist who has a bad habit of turning his assistants into giant snakes.
Battlestar Galactica Cutest Hunk?
Who was your favorite Battlestar Galactica hunk?
With his dark hair, beautiful blue eyes, and soft, gentle voice, it's easy to understand why Robby Benson was such a hit as a teen heartthrob.
Benson had a role on the soap opera, Search For Tomorrow, in 1972. He moved on to working in film and made his big screen debut in the 1972 film, Jory. That was followed by Jeremy and the role that most remember best, as Billy Joe MacAlister in the film, Ode To Billy Joe (1976) based on a popular written and performed by singer Bobbie Gentry.
Benson continued to work into the 1980s and made a name for himself doing voice work, most notably in Disney's Beauty and the Beast as Beast.
In 1984, Benson had heart surgery to correct a defect. The surgery was successful, but he had to have another operation in 1998.
Benson continues to act, write, direct, and teach and he is an active fundraiser for heart disease research.
Michael Biehn 70's Teen Idol and 80's Science Fiction Hero!
Most folks probably associate Michael Biehn with two roles: Sgt. Kyle Reese in the 1983 sci-fi thriller The Terminator and Corporal Dwayne Hicks in the 1986 movie Aliens.
In fact, Biehn paid his dues in the '70s, working on a variety of television shows including James at 16, Logan's Run, Family, and an ABC After School Special.
Biehn also had a role in a short-lived series from 1979 called The Runaways and that landed him a place in teen magazines.
Danny Bonaduce Wise Cracking Red-Head Danny Partridge
His biggest claim to fame is his role as wise cracking red-headed Danny Partridge on the classic show The Partridge Family that aired on ABC from 1970-74.
His career started in the late 60s making appearances on shows like The Second Hundred Years, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Mayberry R.F. D. to just name a few.
After being cast as Danny on the series, he was given the chance to make a solo self titled album which was released in 1973 by Lion Records. Bonaduce admits that he did very little singing on the album as most vocals belonged to Bruce Roberts.
After The Partridge Family ended its run, Bonaduce made a few films, the most notable of them, the 1978 film, Corvette Summer co starring Mark Hamill.
In the 1980s, he became a radio personality in Philadelphia, his home town. In the 1990s he had his own talk show The Danny Bonaduce Show.
From 2008 to 2013, he was seen on truTV Presents: World's Dumbest...
Clark Brandon starred in the short-lived show The Fitzpatricks beginning in 1977. The series only lasted for 13 episodes but that was long enough for teen magazines to start running stories and pin-ups of this cutie.
Brandon went on to appear on other popular TV shows including Family, Fantasy Island, and Wonder Woman before landing a part on another series, Out of the Blue, in 1979.
In 1981 Brandon starred in the series Mr. Merlin, about the great wizard living in modern day California. He played Zachary Rogers, the wizard's apprentice. The series lasted for a season and is probably Brandon's most popular work.
I am not sure where Brandon is today. If anyone has an update, please feel free to share.
Kevin Brophy 70s Teen Idol and Lucan the Wolf Boy
There isn't much information available about Kevin Brophy. Honestly, the only thing I remember about him is his role in Lucan, the story of a young man who spent the first 10 years of his life living with wolves.
The show ran from 1977-78 and followed the boy's story after he is taken in by a kindly research scientist who teaches him how to live in the world of men. Each week, we watched as Lucan tried to fit into this new world. When he was pushed to the point of becoming angry, his eyes would glow red and you could tell that his wolf instinct was coming into play.
Brophy was in the news for an unusual reason more recently. In 2012, a man named Ray Fulk, who had never met Brophy, died and left half of his $1 million estate to the actor. The other half was left to another actor, Peter Barton.
David Cassidy 70s Singing Sensation
David Cassidy, the step-son of Shirley Jones and son of actor Jack Cassidy, made his professional debut on Broadway in 1969 in the four performance play The Fig Leaves Are Falling. After that, he made guest appearances on a variety of TV shows including Adam 12 and Marcus Welby, M.D.
It was his role as Keith Partridge on The Partridge Family that helped propel him to teen heartthrob status. He told the producers of the show that he could sing and they decided to let him have a go at it, taking the lead on "I Think I Love You," which became a hit single. Encouraged by this success, Cassidy recorded solo albums. His first solo effort to make the Top Ten was "Cherish," from his solo album of the same name. The show's success, combined with his solo musical successes, made him a true teen idol.
Cassidy left the series and in 1978 began another show, playing an undercover police officer in the show David Cassidy: Man Undercover. The show lasted just one season.
Sadly, David passed away, at age 67 on November 17, 2017.
Shaun Cassidy, David Cassidy's half-brother, is the son of actress Shirley Jones and actor Jack Cassidy. As a pre-teen he started his own band called "Every Mother's Dream" while his mom and David were working on The Partridge Family.
In 1976 Cassidy released several singles in Germany and had a hit with "Morning Girl." The following year he won the role of Joe Hardy on the TV series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. The show ran for three season, during which time Cassidy recorded several more hit singles: "Da Doo Ron Ron," "That's Rock and Roll," and "Hey Deanie."
Shaun Cassidy may be David's younger brother, but he certainly grew up to be a major teen heartthrob on his own merit.
In recent years Cassidy has worked on Broadway and on several TV shows as a writer and producer. One, the 1995 series American Gothic, gained cult status.
Battle of the Cassidy boys!
Who was the best Cassidy teen idol?
Michael Cole as Pete Cochran on the Mod Squad
Michael Cole's career began in the 60s with work in television and feature films.
From 1968-73, he worked in what would be his most famous role, that of Pete Cochran on the series The Mod Squad about three young rebellious social outcasts who become undercover cops. Cole's character of Pete Cochran, the son of a wealthy family who toss him to the curb when he gets arrested for stealing a car turned Cole into a teen sensation over night.
Cole wasn't interested in the role at first, but after reading the scripts and getting better feel for the tone of the series decided to take the role.
Cole is still active in front of the camera. His most recent work was in 2010, in a short film called Father's Day.
Tony DeFranco of the DeFranco Family
Tony DeFranco was the lead singer for The DeFranco Family, a Canadian singing group high on the American charts from 1973-77. DeFranco, then 13, sang the lead on the group's biggest hit: "Heartbeat( It's a Love Beat)."
The group went on to chart several more singles, including "Abra-ca-dabra" in 1973, "Save the Last Dance For Me" in 1974 and their last chart hit, "We Belong Together" in 1975.
The group officially disbanded in 1978. DeFranco and his sister Marisa still perform on occasion but he also has a successful career as a real estate agent.
Peter Duel of Alias Smith and Jones
Peter Duel's entertainment career began in the 1960s with minor roles in both film and television.
In 1965 he played psychology student John Cooper in the Sally Field comedy series Gidget. The series lasted for one season. Shortly after the series ended, he was offered a starring role in Love on a Rooftop, as newlywed apprentice architect Dave Willis. Even though the series did fairly well in the ratings, ABC decided to not renew it for a second season. Duel wasn't too disappointed, as he had decided to try for more serious acting roles.
In 1970 Duel was cast in the role that he is best remembered for: Hannibal Heyes/Joshua Smith in the successful Western series Alias Smith and Jones, which co-starred Ben Murphy. The show was a hit. Sadly, on a break between the first and second series in 1971, Duel committed suicide. The producers recast Roger Davis in Duel's role, but the show never really recovered and was cancelled in 1973.
Peter is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Penfield, New York.
Rick Ely Singer and Actor
I don't remember Rick Ely, but he earned plenty of fans in 1970 with his work on a short-lived TV series, The Young Rebels. The show was set during the American Revolution and Ely played Jeremy, a young Patriot who fights against the British using guerrilla warfare.
After the series ended, Ely went on to make guest appearances on The Streets of San Francisco, Gunsmoke, M*A*S*H, and One Life to Live. He recorded the album Circle Game in 1970.
Erik Estrada Made California Highways Safe!
Estrada's film debut was in the 1970 film The Cross and the Switchblade which co-starred Pat Boone. Other parts in both feature films and television began to fill up his acting resume.
In 1977 he was cast in the role that would bring him teen idol fame, that of Officer Francis ("Frank") Llewellyn "Ponch" Poncherello a rather trouble prone officer who was assigned a partner in the level headed Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox) in an effort to keep him out of trouble. The series ran from 1977-83.
In August 1979, Estrada was injured while filming an episode for the series, fracturing several ribs and breaking both wrists which required hospitalization.
Estrada still acts as well as does charity work for D.A.R.E., The United Way, and the American Heart Association.
Wesley Eure was Land of the Lost's Will Marshall
From 1974 to 1981 Wesley Eure played the role of Mike Horton on the daytime soap, Days of Our Lives.
But most will remember Eure as Will Marshall on the classic Sid and Marty Krofft Saturday morning show Land of The Lost. He played that role from 1974-77 and was credited simply as "Wesley." This was intentional. The producers thought that by listing only his first name they would build mystery and interest in Eure as an actor. Sadly, the gimmick didn't work.
But Eure is more than just a cute face. He is a talented writer, having written a children's book called The Red Wings of Christmas in 1992. The neat thing about this book is that Ronald Paolillo illustrated it. We all remember who Paolillo is, right? You got it, he was Arnold Horshack on Welcome Back Kotter.
Greg Evigan of BJ and The Bear Fame!
I remember watching B.J. and the Bear on TV in 1978. The movie introduced us to Greg Evigan as trucker Billie Jo "B.J." McKay. It led to a TV series of the same name that lasted for three seasons and also was responsible for the spin-off series, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo.
Evigan gained teen idol status with his role as B.J. and his handsome face graced the pages of Tiger Beat, Teen Beat, and just about every other teen magazine of the time. There was even a poster or two, if I recall correctly.
Evigan is not just nice to look at, He has a nice singing voice too, which you can hear for yourself. Evigan sings the show's theme song and recorded several albums over the years.
He continues to work in the entertainment industry, acting and singing. Some of his most recent work on TV was in the 2009 movie, The Phantom Racer.
Garrett's first film appearance was an uncredited role in the 1969 movie Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, as the son of Elliot Gould and Dyan Cannon. In 1973, he got the role of Mike Pusser in the movie Walking Tall and then its sequel, Walking Tall, Part II.
But I discovered him in his short-lived series, Three for the Road. That was when his picture began to appear regularly on the covers of teen magazines.
Garrett branched out into music and in 1977 he released his first solo album. In 1978 he signed a record deal with Scotti Brothers Records and released another album, Feel The Need. The album's first release, "I Was Made For Dancing," became his first Top Ten hit. Sadly, his music career stalled after that and several more albums failed to chart or to produce any hit singles.
Things didn't go well for Garrett in the 1980s. He was arrested more than once for drug-related offenses and was in a car accident that left his best friend paralyzed.
Garrett is a survivor. Today, he is involved in music and movies. Let's hope this former teen idol can get things back on track. I admit it, I had a "mega crush" on Garrett. I thought other guys were cute, but none stole my attention like he did. Looking back now so many years into the past, I really have no clue why I found him so much more attractive than any of the other guys. Do you find yourself wondering what you were thinking about your choice of teen idols to . . . well idolize?
Andy Gibb Wanted to Be Our Everything!
He was born Andrew Roy Gibb in Manchester, England on March 5, 1958. He was the youngest of four boys and his older brothers, Barry, Robin, and Maurice would go on to musical stardom as the Bee Gees. As a teenager, Andy began singing in clubs around the Isle of Man. Eventually in 1976 he recorded a hit song called "Words and Music."
Robert Stigwood, who was handling the Bee Gees, added Andy to the RSO Records label. In 1977 he had his first hit record, "I Just Want To Be Your Everything," which was followed by two other number one songs, "Love Is Thicker Than Water" and "Shadow Dancing."
Gibbs' romance with actress Victoria Principal gave him a duet partner. Together they recorded a cover of the old Everly Brothers hit, "All I Have To Do Is Dream." The couple would eventually break up. Principal has stated that Gibbs' drug use prompted the split. Drugs put Gibbs' career off track for a while, but he bounced back.
In 1988, while in London working on a new album with his brothers, Gibb complained of chest pains. He died on March 10, 1988, just 5 days after his 30th birthday. The cause of death was myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.
Gibb is buried at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Paul Michael Glaser as Starsky on Starsky and Hutch
Paul Michael Glaser's first film role was in the 1971 film Fiddler On The Roof playing Perchik. He went on to gain minor attention on a TV series called Love Is A Many Splendored Thing playing Dr. Peter Chernak.
Glaser made numerous guest appearances on television before finally landing the role of Detective David Starsky in Starsky and Hutch, a crime drama series that made him into a household name.The show ran for four years, from 1975-79.
Glaser directed the 1987 movie The Running Man starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is still active in the entertainment field and has added photography and poetry to his list of interests.
Michael Gray from Saturday Morning's SHAZAM!
In 1972, Michael Gray starred as young intern doctor Ronnie Collins on The Brian Keith Show.
His teen idol status came in 1974 when he was cast as Billy Batson in Filmation Studios' live action Saturday morning kids show, SHAZAM!. The series ran for two seasons and spun off another live action super hero show, The Secrets of Isis.
Gray hasn't done too much work in the entertainment industry since his days on SHAZAM!. I have heard that he is trying to get back into acting, but is this just a rumor? Anyone have an update on what former heartthrob Michael Gray has been involved with lately?
Mark Hamill Star Wars Hero!
One of Mark Hamill's earliest jobs was as the voice of Corey Anders on the cartoon series Jeannie from 1973 to 1975.
In 1974, Hamill starred in a short-lived series called The Texas Wheelers, which lasted only eight episodes, but three years later he was cast as Luke Skywalker in the movie Star Wars and his teen idol status was set. Hamill did two more Star Wars films, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and The Return of The Jedi (1983).
Hamill continues to work in movies and TV. His most recent work, however, is as a voice-over artist playing Skips on The Regular Show.
Richard Hatch Was Apollo on Battlestar Galactica
In 1970, Richard Hatch originated the role of Philip Brown on the soap opera All My Children. Later, he made guest appearances on shows including The Rookies, Hawaii Five-0, and The Waltons. In 1976 he replaced actor Michael Douglas on the series, The Streets of San Francisco, playing Inspector Dan Robbins until the end of that series in 1977.
His next role, and the one that earned him teen idol status, was as Captain Apollo on the series Battlestar Galactica which lasted for one season only. Battlestar's cancellation didn't stop Hatch. He went on to work in films and TV and even to start a new career as a motivational speaker.
In 2004, he began work on the new Battlestar Galactica series, playing Tom Zarek. He stayed with that series from 2005 to 2009 with a total of 22 episodes under his belt.
Sadly, Richard passed away on February 2, 2017 at age 72 of pancreatic cancer.
The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzled Us
The Hudson Brothers Show
Bill, Mark and Brett, better known to audiences as The Hudson Brothers had their own variety show that lasted from July 31, 1974 to August 28, 1974 on CBS. They sang, danced and did the usual comedy skits. It wasn't long until teen magazines like Tiger Beat and 16 were doing write-ups on these three cuties with Brett getting the lion's share of attention.
The Razzle Dazzle Show
CBS liked their style and gave them their own Saturday morning variety series The Hudson Brother's Razzle Dazzle Show, It aired starting on September 7, 1974 to lasting until August 30, 1975. It was filled with songs and comedy skits and was generally a lot of fun. Basically, it was a kid-friendly version of their prime-time variety series.
Even though they did a lot of silliness on their shows, these guys were serious musicians and singers and released several albums to their credit. In 1974, they landed their biggest hit on the charts So You Are a Star, which reached the number 21 spot. They had a really nice sound, but for some reason their music never really caught on with listening audiences. Perhaps they were viewed more as a novelty act than as serious musicians, which is really sad.
Bonkers and Hysterical
No, they didn't go bonkers, instead they starred in another comedy variety series called Bonkers that was filmed in the UK in 1979.
In 1982, they starred in the comedy horror film, Hysterical which they wrote. It is actually a pretty cute movie. It won't win any major awards, but it is a fun time waster.
Brian Kerwin From The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo
Brian Kerwin began his career in 1976 working on the soap opera The Young and the Restless. He made guest appearances on popular TV shows before being cast in 1979 as Deputy Birdwell "Birdie" Hawkins on B.J. and the Bear and the spin-off show The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo. That was one of my favorite shows until it was revamped and the name changed to Lobo. But, I digress.
Kerwin continued to work on both the small and big screens, appearing in Murphy's Romance as Sally Field's ex. After that it looked like he was headed for a successful movie career, but things just didn't seem to float that way. Kerwin has kept a nice even pace on the small screen, however. His most recent long-term project was as Charlie Banks on One Life to Live, from 2007-2011.
Kerwin married in 1990 and he and his wife have three children. He is still pretty cute for a 64-year-old.
Lance Kerwin from James at 15 and Salem's Lot
Lance Kerwin made appearances on shows including Cannon, Wonder Woman, and The Bionic Woman before he was cast as teenager James Hunter in 1977. The main character on James at 15 loved to daydream and take pictures. The show followed him through his challenges adjusting to life in Boston after his family moves there from Oregon. The series title was changed in the second season to James At 16 and the adjustment during that season was James getting a girl pregnant.
In 1979, after the series ended, Kerwin worked on Salem's Lot, a multi-part TV movie that starred another teen idol, David Soul.
Kerwin hasn't acted in recent years. He became an ordained minister and lives in Hawaii with his wife and children.
Biff, Steve, Cosie and John Those Four Cute Guys From The Kids From C.A.P.E.R.
The Kids From C.A.P.E.R is one show that folks have a tough time remembering. It aired on NBC for 13 episodes (September 11, 1976- September 3, 1977) and starred four really cute guys.
- Biff Warren started singing in his father's nightclub when he was about 11 years old. His career began officially when he did an ABC Movie of the Week called Shirt/Skins playing a messenger boy. In 1977, he was cast as Mark Lewis on the daytime soap, As the World Turns. He also did appearances on The Waltons, SHAZAM, and The Streets of San Francisco before he was cast as Doomsday on The Kids From C.A.P.E.R. Sadly, Warren passed away in 1998 at age 38.
- Cosie Costa appeared on The Streets of San Francisco, Eight is Enough, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman before being cast as Bugs on C.A.P.E.R. Does anyone know where he is now and what he is up to?
- John Lansing is an actor, writer, and producer. Cast as Doc on C.A.P.E.R., he had the "looks and the brains" of the group. Lansing went on to write and produce episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger, and Swamp Thing, among others.
- Steve Bonino was cast as P.T., the leader of the group. There isn't an awful lot of information available about Bonino, so if anyone can give an update, it would be appreciated.
It is a bit of a mystery as to why NBC decided to cancel the series, as it was popular enough in the ratings to deserve a second season. The series has yet to be released on DVD and might never be, sadly. It was silly fun and it would be great to see it again, after all of these years.
Michael Lembeck was Kaptain Kool!
Michael Lembeck may not be classified as a teen idol in everybody's book, but I added him here because I always thought he was cute, even if he did wear sparkly makeup for his role as Kaptain Kool, leader of the rock group The Kongs. The group hosted The Krofft Supershow that aired on ABC from 1976-1978. In the second season of the series, the glittery make up was gone, thank goodness.
After his gig as the Kaptain, he went on to work on One Day at a Time as Max Horvath, the guy who married Julie Cooper (MacKenzie Philips).
Today, Lembeck is an Emmy award-winning director. He directed The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3 along with episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond.
Randy Mantooth as John Gage on Emergency!
It was his role on the TV series Emergency! that brought Randy Mantooth into the limelight and earned him teen idol status. The show ran on NBC from 1972-1977 and six movies of the week aired over the next two years.
When the show ended, Mantooth went on to work on daytime soaps, including Loving, As The World Turns, General Hospital and One Life to Live.
His most recent work was on the TV shows Sons of Anarchy and The Ghost Whisperer.
Philip McKeon was Tommy on Alice
Philip McKeon's career began at age four when he worked as a child model for magazines and TV commercials. This seemed to naturally lead to work in movies and television.
In 1976, he was cast as Tommy on the series Alice, after star Linda Lavin saw him in a Broadway play. She felt that he was perfect for the role and he stayed with the series until it ended in 1985. .
He hasn't done a lot of work in front of the cameras in recent years, but he has added producing and directing to his resume. His sister, actress Nancy McKeon, gained fame on the TV series The Facts of Life.
Sadly, Philip passed away at age 55 on December 10, 2019.
Leigh McCloskey is a an Artist and Classically Trained Actor!
Leigh McCloskey is a classically trained actor having studied at the Julliard School in New York. He did lots of stints on television, but it was his work in the 1976 TV movie, Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway starring Eve Plumb (remember her as Jan Brady on The Brady Bunch?) in the title role that brought him to the attention of teen magazines.
In 1977 he starred in a sequel of sorts to the Dawn movie called Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn which also co-starred Plumb.
Even though the 1970s treated McCloskey fairly well, it was in the early '80s that he achieved his greatest acting recognition. He played Mitch Cooper on the night-time soap Dallas from 1980-82.
Most folks might not know it, but McCloskey is an excellent artist. In 2003 he released a book Tarot ReVisioned featuring his art for the 22 Major Arcana Tarot cards.
Jimmy MiNichol Brother to Kristy McNichol
Jimmy McNichol, the brother of actress Kristy McNichol, got his start making commercials before doing guest appearances on shows including S.W.A.T. and Little House on the Prairie.
In 1977 he had a role on the short-lived series The Fitzpatricks and in 1979 he starred on another show, California Fever.
The following year, he and his sister Kristy recorded the single "He's So Fine," featuring Kristy on vocals.
Jimmy McNichol retired from acting in 1995 and lives in California with his wife and their two children.
Ben Murphy of Alias Smith and Jones
Ben Murphy's career started in 1967 with an uncredited role in the film The Graduate. From there, he had small roles on various TV shows including The Virginian and It Takes a Thief.
The most memorable role of his career though came in 1971 when he was cast as Jed "Kid" Curry (Thaddeus Jones) in the series, Alias Smith and Jones co-starring Peter Duel. Sadly, at the height of the show's popularity, Duel committed suicide. His role was recast with Roger Davis, but the show was eventually cancelled.
In 1973, Murphy began work on the series Griff with Lorne Greene. That show lasted for one season. Three years later, he was cast in his own series, Gemini Man, which lasted for 11 episodes. He finished out the 1970s with appearances on shows including Fantasy Island and The Love Boat.
Donny Osmond was a Little Bit Rock and Roll
In the 1970s, Donny Osmond and his brothers Merrill, Jay, Wayne, and Alan recorded the song "One Bad Apple" which became a hit. Soon after, other hits including "Puppy Love", "Go Away Little Girl", and "Crazy Horses" followed, helping to launch Osmond to full heartthrob status.
In 1974, sister Marie Osmond joined the brothers at their concerts and recorded duets with Donny. After a successful stint co-hosting the Mike Douglas Show, Donny and Marie were offered their own show, aptly titled The Donny and Marie Show, which lasted for four years.
Osmond maintains his public image as a Mormon, a musician, and entertainer. He hosted seasons 9 and 18 of Dancing with the Stars and performed Donny & Marie: A Broadway Christmas with his sister in 2010 and a similar show in Chicago in 2014 to very positive reviews.
Freddie Prinze Of Chico and the Man
Freddie Prinz began his entertainment career as a comedian in comedy clubs in New York City, eventually landing guest appearances on Jack Parr Tonight and The Tonight Show. These were his big breaks, as he was invited to sit down with Johnny Carson and be interviewed (something that didn't happen often to up-and-coming comedians).
In 1974, Prinz got the role of Francisco "Chico" Rodriguez on the hit series Chico and the Man, which ran for four seasons, three of which starred Prinz.
Sadly, on January 28, 1977, Prinz shot and killed himself in the presence of his business manager. He was rushed to the hospital, but there was nothing that could be done for him. He died on January 29, 1977 at age 22.
John Schneider Bo Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard
Schneider's love of performing started at 8 years of age when he would put on magic shows for his friends. His family eventually moved from New York to Georgia where John became interested in doing school plays as well as community theater. At one point he joined a group and they sang barbershop-style at Six Flags of Georgia amusement park.
His big break came when producers were holding auditions in Atlanta for the potential television series The Dukes of Hazzard. He showed up for the audition with a beard and a beer can in one hand, after all the producers were looking for a "good ole boy". He was cast as Bo Duke and soon the show was a Top Ten hit, while most critics hated the show, audiences loved it.
While performing a version of Still, a Lionel Richie song at a People's Choice Awards, an executive from Scotti Brothers Records saw him and he and the company talked. At the time, though it wasn't possible to record any material but that changed in 1981 when he was able to release his debut album, It's Now of Never with Schneider doing his version of the Elvis Presley classic. The album went to number 8 on the country chart with the single making it to a respectable number 4. However, a few years later when he wanted to record a country album, he found that he wasn't being taken all that serious as a singer. Some likened his early attempts at singing as being nothing but a cheap imitation of Howard Keel. Several albums after his first, still found him without a real singing career, however in 1983, he teamed up with Jimmy Bowman who produced singers like Hank Williams Jr, Johnny Lee and Crystal Gayle. Bowman quickly found the right songs and style for Schneider and the result was the album Too Good to Stop Now, which made it to number 4 on the country album chart and produced two number one country hits I've Been Around Enough to Know and Country Girls. More hit singles would follow.
John continues to act with his most recent work in the series The Haves and the Have Nots on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Mark Shera of S.W.A.T and Barnaby Jones
Mark Shera first came to my attention as Officer Dominic Luca on the ABC cop series S.W.A.T. which lasted for two seasons.
After the series ended, he joined the cast of the popular private detective series Barnaby Jones, starring Buddy Epsen in the title role. He stayed with that series until it ended in 1980.
Shera went on to make guest appearances on a variety of popular TV shows. Sadly, there isn't a lot of information available about his last TV role, which was on the 2002 TV mini-series Taken.
Anyone have an update on what Shera is up to of late?
Peace, Love and Bobby Sherman!
Okay, so maybe Bobby Sherman officially achieved teen idol status in the late '60s after starring on Here Come the Brides as Jeremy Bolt, but he maintained that status well into the 70s. Oh, and the series also starred another soon to be 70s teen idol, David Soul!
In 1971, Sherman made a guest appearance on The Partridge Family as Bobby Conway. The episode titled "A Knight in Shining Armor" was the introduction to a new show starring Sherman called Getting Together. That series lasted for 14 episodes.
After that, he appeared on Ellery Queen and Fantasy Island but eventually he pulled away from the music and TV industry to focus on his personal life. Sherman found a new interest working in emergency services, volunteering at the Los Angeles Police Department and working as an EMT.
Rex Smith Took Our Breath Away!
Rex Smith leaped onto the scene in March, 1979 with a TV movie called, Sooner or Later. Smith played Michael, a 17-year-old aspiring musician who attracts the attention of pretty Jessie (Denise Miller) who is really just 13 years old, but who convinces Michael she is 16. What will happen when he discovers her real age?
The song "You Take My Breath Away" from the TV movie scored Smith a Top 10 hit, but he wasn't able to keep the momentum going. In 1981 he had one other hit with a duet he recorded with Rachel Sweet called "Everlasting Love."
Smith continues to act to this day, recently appearing on Broadway in The Pirates of Penzance and as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
Rick Springfield Australian Import and 70s and 80s Teen Idol!
In 1972, Rick Springfield came to the United States to try to duplicate the musical success he had in his native Australia. He signed with Capitol Records and released an album called Beginnings which produced a #14 hit called "Speak To The Sky."
A cartoon series called Mission: Magic!, which centered around Springfield and his music, came out in 1973. It lasted one season (but is currently out on DVD!) That's when Springfield began appearing in teen magazines like Tiger Beat.
Sadly, his career stalled when it was rumored that Capitol Records was paying people to purchase his album. Radio stations stopped playing his music and he virtually disappeared from the radio airwaves.
A survivor, and a cute one at that, he continued to worked on his music, playing in clubs throughout California. He took up acting to keep his face in the public eye. He even gave up his wonderful Australian accent after being told that he would stand a better chance getting acting roles on American TV shows without it.
In 1981, Springfield came back onto the music scene in a big way with his #1 hit, "Jesse's Girl." I think Springfield is a true inspiration. He shows what happens when you work at what you love: You don't give up your dream but instead continue to move forward one step at a time.
Parker Stevenson was Frank Hardy on The Hardy Boys
Parker Stevenson's first role of note was in the film A Separate Peace in 1972. Two years later he starred with Pamela Sue Martin (who would later play Nancy Drew in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries) in Our Time. In, he worked with Sam Elliott on the film Lifeguard.
But teen idol stardom was just waiting around the corner. It hit for Stevenson when he got the role of Frank Hardy in the TV series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, which aired for three seasons beginning in 1977. Even though he was popular, it did seem as though co-star Shaun Cassidy, as his brother Joe, got the bulk of the attention. Personally, I liked Parker the best.
Who was your favorite Hardy Boy?
David Soul Was Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson on Starsky and Hutch
David Soul first gained attention back in 1967 when he appeared on the Merv Griffin Show as the "Covered Man," singing songs while wearing a ski mask. The idea was to promote his singing which Soul says has always been his first love.
He launched his teen heartthrob career while starring as Detective Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson on Starsky and Hutch beginning in 1975. The series ran for four years.
Soul also had a #1 hit song with "Don't Give Up On Us Baby" in 1976. Sadly, he was never able to duplicate that success with any of the other songs he released. He became a British citizen in 2004 and lives in England.
Which was your favorite, Starsky or Hutch?
Richard Thomas of The Waltons
Richard Thomas started acting when he was just eight years old, starring in a live TV version of A Doll's House. In 1961 he took a role on the daytime drama series The Edge of Night. Thomas continued to find work in soaps, starring on As the World Turns beginning in 1966.
His film debut was in the 1969 movie, Winning, with Paul Newman. Also in 1969, Thomas starred with Bruce Davidson in Last Summer.
In 1971, Thomas starred in The Homecoming, a television movie that was the pilot for the series The Waltons. He would play John "John Boy" Walton, Jr. in the series, which was based on the life of author Earl Hamner, Jr. Thomas stayed with the series until 1977, when he chose to leave to work in other ventures. He did return to the role for three television movies.
John Travolta Welcome Back Kotter's Vinnie Barbarino
John Travolta played bully Billy Nolan, who was talked into playing a mean trick on Sissy Spacek's character in the 1976 movie Carrie. But it was his role on Welcome Back Kotter as Vinnie Barbarino that earned Travolta his teen idol status. Personally, I never saw the attraction to Vinnie, who was about as dumb as a box of rocks, but there was something about him that made teenage girls swoon.
Travola released a top ten single called "Let Her In" in 1976. He also starred in Saturday Night Fever in 1977. At 24, he was the youngest actor ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, losing to Richard Dreyfuss. Then the following year he starred in Grease. He performed some of the songs on the movie's soundtrack, which sold over 10 millions copies.
Travolta's career is still going strong after all of these years.
Vincent Van Patten
Vince Van Patten is the youngest son of actor Dick Van Patten. All throughout the 1970s, the young Van Patten made guest appearances on television, including appearances on Medical Center, Adam 12, and Barnaby Jones.
In 1974 he was cast as Paul Apple in the TV series, Apple's Way. After that it was a short-lived series called Three For The Road, with another teen idol, Leif Garrett. I actually liked that series, and wouldn't mind seeing it released onto DVD at some point.
In 1976 there was talk of letting Van Patten star in a series all his own called The Bionic Boy, a spin-off from the Six Million Dollar Man. In season four of the Six Million Dollar Man, Van Patten played Andy Sheffield, a high school student who is injured in a rock slide and has bionic implants put in his legs. This episode also had another future teen idol in it; Greg Evigan played Joe Hamilton, a rival of Andy's. The Bionic Boy never came to fruition.
Van Patten was rumored to have been a romantic interest for the late Farrah Fawcett. Van Patten denies the rumors, saying that what he and Farrah shared was a mutual love of tennis. In fact, Van Patten was awarded the 1979 Rookie of the Year award by the Association of Tennis Professionals. In 1981, he won the Seiko World Super Tennis Tournament in Tokyo after beating John McEnroe.
Larry Wilcox got the role of Officer Jonathan "Jon" Baker on C.H.i.P.S. in 1977, staying with the role until the series ended in 1982. Co-star Erik Estrada would get the lion's share of the publicity, but Wilcox had his share of fans, too.
After C.H.i.P.S., he went on to establish his own production company, Wilcox Productions, and served as executive producer on five episodes of the popular HBO series The Ray Bradbury Theater between 1986-89.
Today, Wilcox is a successful businessman who still makes an occasional appearance in front of the camera.
Barry Williams Was Greg Brady on The Brady Bunch
At an early age Barry Williams decided he wanted to be an actor. His first role was on the series Dragnet.
Williams appeared on other shows, including Adam 12 and The Mod Squad, but in 1969 he was cast as the eldest brother, Greg, in the comedy show, The Brady Bunch. The show ran until 1974.
Sadly, it seemed as though Williams was type-cast as Greg. He has never shaken the association with the eldest Brady boy, but instead has capitalized on it, producing numerous Brady-related reunion shows.
Henry Winkler as The Fonz!
Henry Winkler began his acting career in commercials. His first role in a major film was as a gang member in The Lords of Flatbush (1974.)
The role as Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli on Happy Days gave Winkler steady employment for 11 years and made him one of the most memorable characters ever created for a TV series. At first, the character of the Fonz wasn't shown often, for fear of how the audience would react to a "greaser" and high school drop-out. But, as his character became more popular it was decided that he needed more airtime. Soon, it seemed as if everyone was giving folks the "thumbs up" and classic "aaaye" greeting that became associated with the character.
Winkler continues to act, but also has added writing, directing, and producing to his list of skills.
As you can see, the 70's had no shortage of male teen idols. Unfortunately, I am sure that I have missed a few actors who would fit well on this list. Please feel free to tell us about them in the guest book below. Also, please remember, there is a companion page to this list (and your favorite might be listed there) 70's Popular and Handsome TV Actors.
If you decide to use the guestbook below, please follow a few simple rules. Keep the comments on topic, no spam, rude or crude comments. Hubpages does give me the authority (and I use it) to moderate comments, which I do in order to maintain a reader friendly experience for all who visit. Let's keep this page as positive and possible, please.
© 2009 Glory Miller