Oct 13, 2015

Matthew Laborteaux

Born in 1966, Matthew Laborteaux starred in several movies and tv series, including The Red Hand Gang, but he first drew the interest of gay boys and their straight female friends around 1980, when his character Albert on Little House on the Prairie shifted from cute kid to dreamy teen.  The teen idol treatment followed, with lots of pin-up pictures of Matthew and his brother Patrick (also on Little House).  

Patrick, who had a more muscular physique, may have received even more teen idol attention, though he left Little House in 1981.

In 1983 Matthew became the star of Whiz Kids, which lasted only one season but left an indelible mark on gay teens everywhere.  It was about a teenage computer whiz and his friends who solve crimes, with the help of their newspaper reporter mentor Lew (played by Max Gail of Barney Miller).  Richie (Matthew) was the computer whiz; Hamilton (Todd Porter) the jock; Jeremy (Jeffrey Jacquet) the black kid, and Alice (Andrea Elson) the girl.

There was significant bonding, oddly, between Lew and Hamilton.  In one episode, after Lew has been rescued from torture at the hands of evil record producers, Hamilton sits next to him and tenderly holds his hand.

None of the teen characters express any heterosexual interest, though Lew gets a crush on Richie's mother to explain why he hangs around teenage boys all the time.

After Whiz Kids, Matthew starred in a couple of bad movies and then moved into production and voice work.  He is rumored to be gay, but hasn't made any public statements.