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Leif Garrett

an American singer, actor and television personality. He became famous in the late 1970s as a child pop star and teen idol,


In the first few years of his career Garrett performed under the name of "Leif Per"; however, casting agents found the name difficult to pronounce (Per is pronounced the same as "pair" or "pear"). In 1971, Garrett received a check in the mail incorrectly addressed to a "Leif Garrett". After Garrett and his mother undertook research on the name, they found that the name "Garrett" held connotations of strength, so the name stuck.

Acting career

Garrett and his sister Dawn Lyn worked a variety of small acting jobs. They co-starred in the horror movie Devil Times Five as juvenile mental patients who almost innocently go on a murder spree at an isolated ski resort. Dawn and Leif also guest-starred in an episode of Gunsmoke as well as Wonder Woman.

Garrett's more notable performances include the breakthrough role of Jimmy Henderson in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969); the protagonist’s son Mike Pusser from the Walking Tall movies (1973, 1975, 1977) and the recurring role of Zack Russell on the ABC TV series Family. Leif also played the role of Leonard Unger, the son of Felix Unger (Tony Randall), on the ABC series The Odd Couple, a part that previously was played by Willie Aames.

In the fall of 1975, Garrett, at fourteen, appeared in the role of Endy Karras in a 12-week CBS drama series Three for the Road, with Alex Rocco as his father, Peter Karras, and Vincent Van Patten as his older brother, John Karras. The story line is that of a father and two sons, grief-stricken over the death of their wife and mother sell their house, buy a recreational vehicle, and roam throughout the United States. Garrett’s appearance in the program triggered a response from teenage girls and led to his first appearances in teenage magazines, such as Tiger Beat. Garrett also played alongside Lee Van Cleef in two Spaghetti Westerns shot in Israel: God's Gun and Kid Vengeance (it). Garrett also starred in the film Skateboard.

In the 1980s, Garrett returned to acting, appearing in a small role as Bob Sheldon in the 1983 Francis Ford Coppola film The Outsiders. In 1985 he starred in Shaker Run as a mechanic and in Thunder Alley as the lead singer of a pop band that is torn apart by drugs. Other notable Leif Garrett movies from the decade include Delta Fever and the horror film Cheerleader Camp.

Music career

In autumn of 1976, Garrett signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records and recorded his first album, Leif Garrett. The album was released in 1977, and his first four singles charted modestly on the US Billboard Hot 100. All of these hits were covers of late 1950s and early 1960s hits such as "Runaround Sue" and "The Wanderer." In mid-1978 he signed with Scotti Brothers Records and recorded his second album, Feel the Need. Its first single, "I Was Made For Dancin'", reached #10 on the US Hot 100 and #4 on the British chart in early-1979. It became his greatest hit in both the US and the UK.[5] However, subsequent singles failed to crack the Top 20 in either country. Nevertheless, Garrett continued to record, releasing the albums Same Goes For You (1979), Can't Explain (1980) and My Movie of You (1981) in quick succession.

In the mid-1990s, Garrett returned to acting and singing, appearing in the 1995 low-budget horror film Dominion, touring with The Melvins and recording vocals for their cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on The Crybaby (2000). In 1998, a greatest hits compilation, The Leif Garrett Collection, was released. Garrett, however, has stated: "My former record label was bought out. The label was started by me … meaning my music started it, funded it. And then it was bought out by some company that released the Greatest Hits Collection. Not only have I not seen any royalties from that, but they wanted me to promote it — the compensation being a couple of CDs."

In 1999 he formed the band Godspeed with Christopher Wade Damerst and Michael Scott (The Distortions, Deadtime Stories). They recorded a three-song EP on Garrett's own label, Tongue and Groove Records, and debuted on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, but broke up after only a few performances.

Garrett's stage work includes playing the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and, in late 2000, appearing in the National Theatre of the Deaf's production of A Child's Christmas In Wales. He also appeared in summer stock at The Barn Theatre's production of Old Timer in 2001. In the same year, he voiced himself in the animated television series Family Guy episode "The Thin White Line".

In 2003, Garrett appeared as himself in the David Spade film Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. He also co-wrote and sang "Former Child Star" for the film's soundtrack and was one of the singers of "Child Stars on Your Television", which played over the ending credits.


In September 2006, Garrett appeared on the celebrity edition of Fear Factor. He won the grand prize of $50,000. On New Year's Eve 2006, Garrett first appeared in Las Vegas with retro act Original Idols LIVE!, hosted by Barry Williams. The show also featured the Bay City Rollers, Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods and The Cowsills, with selected appearances by Merrill Osmond, Tony DeFranco and Danny Bonaduce.

In August 2007, Country Music Television (CMT) cast Garrett in the short-lived Ty Murray’s Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge, among nine celebrities appearing on the show. However, he quit after one episode, citing soreness and lack of desire to continue.

In November 2007, Garrett released the album Three Sides of..., which constituted songs he recorded with his current band F8 and his 1990s band Godspeed as well as some new songs.

Garrett toured South Korea in May 2010, with shows in Seoul and Busan. This marked the 30th anniversary of Garrett's first performance in Korea in June 1980. He embarked on another tour of the country in 2013.

In the early 2010s, Garrett began collaborating with punk rock artist and songwriter Craig Else. . The two have also recorded a cover of Neil Young's "Old Man".

Beginning in 1979, Garrett dated English actress Nicollette Sheridan; the two split six years laterTwo decades later, Garrett credited Sheridan for helping him at the start of his career, and said of her "She's a special person in my life

1977 – Leif Garrett – US No. 37
1978 – Feel the Need – US No. 34
1979 – Same Goes for You – US No. 129
1980 – Can't Explain
1981 – My Movie of You - US No. 185
1998 – The Leif Garrett Collection
2003 – F8 - Note: (pronounced "Fate")
2007 – Three Sides of...

1976 "I Go To Pieces" - - - - -
"Come Back When You Grow Up" - - - - -
1977 "Surfin' U.S.A." 20 2 - - 6
1978 "Put Your Head on My Shoulder" 58 24 - - -
"Runaround Sue" 13 8 - - 19
"The Wanderer" 49 - - - -
1979 "I Was Made For Dancin'" 10 2 4 12 10
"Sheila" - 63 - - -
"Feel the Need" 57 97 38 72 43
"When I Think of You" 78 - - - -
1980 "I Was Looking For Someone to Love" 78 - - - -
"Memorize Your Number" 60 - - - -
"New York City Nights" - - - 56 -
1981 "Runaway Rita" 84 - - - -
"Uptown Girl" - - - - 74

Other recording appearances[edit]

Garrett has also sung on releases by The Melvins (The Crybaby), The Crush Ups ("Betty Ford For X-Mas") and Liberty n' Justice ("Sight Unseen" on Soundtrack of a Soul), among others.

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)
Walking Tall (1973)
Peopletoys (Devil Times Five) (1974)
Macon County Line (1974)
Walking Tall Part 2 (1975)
God's Gun (1976)
Paper Tigers (1977)
Kid Vengeance (it) (1977)
Walking Tall: Final Chapter (1977)
Skateboard (1978)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978)
Longshot (1981)
The Outsiders (1983)
Shaker Run (1985)
Thunder Alley (1985)
Delta Fever (1987)
Cheerleader Camp (1987)
Party Line (1988)
The Banker (1989)
The Spirit of '76 (1990)
Dominion (1995)
The Whispering (1996)
The Next Tenant (1998)
I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998)
The Art of a Bullet (1999)
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003)
Popstar (2005)
Fish Mich (2009)

Television work[edit]
Nanny and the Professor ("The Human Element") (1970)
Family Affair ("Heroes Are Born")
Black Noon (1971)
Circle of Fear (1973)
Strange Homecoming (1974)
The Last Survivors (1975)
Three for the Road (1975) (canceled after 13 episodes)
Flood! (1976)
Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion (1977)
The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour (1978)
Family (1978)
Wonder Woman (1978)
CHiPs (two-part episode "Roller Disco") (1979)
Superboy ("Bringing Down The House") (1988)
VH1's 8-Track Flashback (1995–1996)
American Black Beauty (2005)
Celebrity Fear Factor (2005)
Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge (2007)

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