Aug 29, 2012

Adrian Zmed After Dark

On an episode of The Simpsons, the family goes to a review featuring the once-famous:
     We are the stars that you thought were dead,
     Like Bonnie Franklin and Adrian Zmed.

People who weren't watching television or going to moves during the early 1980s probably thought "I didn't think Adrian Zmed was dead, I never heard of him."  But during that brief few years, the sultry black-haired Romanian-American actor -- and his amazingly ripped physique -- was everywhere.

He sang and danced as a John Travolta clone in Grease 2 (1982), also starring Maxwell Caulfield.

He partied with Tom Hanks in Bachelor Party (1984).

He bonded with William Shatner in the police drama T.J. Hooker (1982-85).










He hosted Dance Fever
He guest starred on Bosom Buddies, Love Boat, Hotel, Glitter, and Empty Nest.















He appeared in Battle of the Network Stars (a reality series that was really an excuse to get male tv stars into speedos).  He didn't win any awards, but he got to hug Scott Baio.















His full-body speedo shots were more than enough to draw the attention of gay fans, but his characters always had a blatant interest in same-sex chums, regardless of whether they got the girl in the end.

In Grease 2, for instance, the plot revolves around an "opposites attract" between greaser Johnny (Zmed) and uptight British newcomer Michael (Maxwell Caulfield).

And, unlike most beefcake stars of the 1980s, he was aware of his gay fans, and actually played to them.  He remains a strong gay ally, like his "bosom buddy" Tom Hanks.

By the late 1980s, the Adrian Zmed train had stalled, perhaps overloaded by overexposure.  Though he has never stopped acting -- in 2007 he appeared in the soap Passions and in Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Special -- the era of speedo shots is long gone.