Top 5 TV teen stars from New Jersey
The passing of Erin Moran whom many grew up watching as Joanie from "Happy Days" made me think of the many actors and singers from New Jersey who started out as teens on television. Some are still at it now.
John Travolta- Before he was dancing on Saturday Night Fever (can you believe it's been 40 years?), this Englewood native was roaming the halls of James Buchanan High School as Vinnie Barbarino on "Welcome Back Kotter." You may remember his famous phrases like "up your nose with a rubber hose" or breaking out in song to Jan and Dean's "Barbara Ann" using his last name instead.
David Cassidy- There are probably girls in New Jersey who still have this West Orange native's picture on their wall. As Keith Partridge of the "Partridge Family," Cassidy would become one of pops biggest teen idols with 10 group albums and five solos. His many hits include I think I Love You, Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted" written by former Bruce Springsteen manager Mike Appel, "I Woke Up in Love This Morning" and a remake of "Cherish." Among his many TV appearances was Celebrity Apprentice in 2011. He continued to tour and sadly announced this year that he is living with dementia and is forced to retire.
Ricky Nelson- While the parents of the fifties and early sixties were being told how rock n roll is corrupting the minds of their children, Ricky was sneaking it into their homes at the end of every episode of The Adventures of Ozzy and Harriet. Born in Teaneck, this famous singer/actor had 53 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1957-73 and was ranked number 49 on TV Guides greatest TV stars of all time. Nelson died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1985.
Malcolm Jamal Warner- Also known as Theo Huxtable from the Cosby show. This Jersey City native had one of the funniest scenes in sitcom history in the show's opener. You may also remember Warner as Malcolm McGee on the UPN sitcom "Malcolm and Eddie" which ran for four seasons from 1996-2000.
Micah Fowler- This Barnegat actor with cerebral paulsy is changing the way people see the handicapped in the hot comedy "Speechless" where he plays J.J. DiMeo who uses his sense of humor to show that even though he speaks through a wheelchair using a laser pointer he's more normal and grounded than most. Especially those members of his family.
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