ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The stigma of the
former child star: a lifetime of ridicule?
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The glory of being a famous
cute kid can fade faster than the pages of an old Tiger
What often remains is nostalgia, taunting
and the occasional pummelling in a celebrity boxing tournament.
Some are bitter. Some have made peace with
their pasts and found new successes. Others still seem a little
dazed from the long-extinguished limelight.
The Associated Press sat down to talk about
the former-child-star phenomenon with Barry Williams (Greg on
The Brady Bunch), Danny Bonaduce (Danny on The
Partridge Family), Dustin Diamond (Screech from Saved
by the Bell), Leif Garrett (teenage heartthrob singer of
I Was Made for Dancin') and Corey Feldman (Mouth from
All five play themselves as poker buddies
in the new David Spade comedy Dickie Roberts: Former Child
Star, offering advice to the fictional kiddie star.
The following is a transcript of the AP's
discussion, edited for length and content (these guys can get
AP: Do you feel like your
childhoods were that weird? The whole point of Dickie Roberts
is that he's too messed up to function.
Bonaduce: They weren't as
weird as Dickie's, but they were weird. I was 10 and would get
up to go to work and there would be 400 people in my front yard
with signs - only because they couldn't find David Cassidy's
house. (Laughter.) That's weird!
Williams: The abnormalities
come in with the kind of attention we had. Touring, making records,
showing up at the set every day. You have publicity machines,
you have agents...
AP: How do the fans treat
you now? Diamond: You can't really go out to regular places
and not get recognized and not get hassled. Bonaduce: Everybody
recognizes me, but they donŐt care.
Diamond: When I go to the
movie theatre, right when the lights go down people shout out
"Screeeech!" If someone notices me and wants to get
an autograph or something else, usually they're loud about it.
AP: What do you do? Sink
down in your chair and wait for it to end?
Diamond: Sometimes I'm a
smart-ass about it. I try not to be, but sometimes it weighs
on you. You're in a theatre. 'What are you doing here?' 'I'm
bowling.' What do they think I'm doing? I'm seeing a movie,
I'm not shopping for groceries.
Feldman: Ooh, you really
have a bad attitude.
Bonaduce: (To Diamond) You
know what I do? I have this novel approach. When they come up
to me, I say 'Thanks.'
Diamond: That's because you
were smoking crack. That's totally different. I have more dignity
than that. (Note: Bonaduce was arrested for buying crack in
Williams: Let me jump in
for a second. (Pointing to Diamond) What he's talking about
is something we don't hear because the nature of our roles was
different. I was trying to be pseudo-hip, (to Bonaduce) you
were the wise-ass. (To Garrett) You were the heartthrob. But
he was driving the comedy. He was the silly guy.
AP: Why have you all stayed
in entertainment? A lot of people donŐt when they grow up.
Garrett: A lot of them didn't
want to in the first place. They were forced into it by their
families. But I like being an entertainer.
Bonaduce: I swear to God,
I'm not joking: I just don't know how to do anything else.
Feldman: I was doing it because
it was what my parents told me I had to do. And by the time
I was old enough to make a choice not to, everybody in the world
knew who I was. So it was impossible to go work at Taco Bell.
Diamond: If I win the lottery
tomorrow and had $300 million... I'd still do stand-up and comedy.