Sep 10, 2012

Ricky/Rick Schroder

Ricky Schroeder was the iconic "cute kid" of the 1980s.  With his cherubic round face, baby blue eyes, and dimpled cheeks, he looked like a Campbell's Soup kid, or Richie Rich before his muscle spurt -- perfect for heart-wrenching roles on movies-of-the-week like Something So Right and A Reason to Live.

 In 1982, at age 12, Ricky was cast as a poor little rich boy on Silver Spoons -- his dad (Joel Higgins) is the fabulously wealthy owner of a toy company, so they live in a mansion that looks like a giant toy store.  Ricky has a series of same-sex chums, many of whom went on to teen idol careers  -- Anthony Starke, Jason Bateman as a bad boy, Billy Jacoby as another bad boy, Corky Pigeon as a nerd, Bobby Fite as a cowboy, and finally Alfonso Ribeiro, who grew into a bodybuilding hunk.

By 1987, Ricky was 17, muscular, and no longer cherubic, so Silver Spoons ended. Ricky renamed himself Rick, dropped the "e" from his last name (it merely signifies an umlaut in German), and started a massive re-invention campaign.

No more rich kids, nor more sophisticates.  If the role didn't require a Southern accent, he wasn't interested.  He played cowboys, country boys, rednecks,killers, and sports stars.  He was shirtless or sometimes completely nude in Too Young the Hero (1988), Across the Tracks (1991), and lots more.

And he did a substantial amount of buddy-bonding,

Rick has remained very active in moves and on tv.  In 2008 he made headlines by playing what was probably the first openly gay character on a tv science fiction series, Major Bill Keene on  The Andromeda Strain.

Though he is a long-term Republican, a member of the NRA, and a Mormon, three groups not known for their gay-friendliness, Rick is not at all homophobic.