I was hardly a one-hit wonder, but my career was hot and short.
I was in the right place at the right time. A South Philly neighborhood buddy who went on to music fame and fortune recommended me for a recording contract. Before I could take a deep breath, I was a baby boomer teen idol.
Yes, I was more handsome than talented. Good looks and good songwriters can take you a long way, like “The Most Promising Male Vocalist of 1958.” Girls swooned and fainted. I was on the cover of magazines. A national celebrity. Not bad for a fifteen year-old.
My pop culture career started falling apart in the early 1960s when it was alleged that records were “doctored” to improve my voice. Hey, I never claimed to be a crooner.
I appeared in over 30 movies, all bit parts, and was generally panned as an actor. Hey, I never claimed to be an actor, either. Among my clunkers—Ride the Wild Surf and Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs—but I was also in The Longest Day. I know, every boomer and and his uncle was cast for that one. They needed an army, literally.
I was a baby boomer “has-been” before most celebrities are a “have.” I’ve been doing oldies shows for years. It pays the bills. The last time I capitalized on my pretty boy looks was when I did some semi-frontal nudity shots for Playgirl Magazine in 1973.
Looking back, I have no complaints. My motive for entering show business was to help my family after my father became ill. As the saying goes, I’d rather be lucky than good. Answer tomorrow.
RELATED POST: Click on BOOMER ONE HIT WONDERS