Why was Ted Wass never a teen idol? Soap (1977-1981) was an iconic 1970s soap opera
spoof about a dysfunctional extended family -- including Jodie (Billy Crystal),
the first gay character in a starring role on tv (also bisexual and transgender,
depending on the plot arc). Jimmy Baio, who
played Jodie's "normal" cousin, became a teen idol. But not 25-year old Ted Wass, who played Jodie's
brother Danny, a lovable but dimwitted hunk: "How can a woman be gay? They
would cancel each other out." His centric plot arcs included a mob connection
and an interracial marriage. In the 1980s Ted made use of his hunkiness and
his comedic talent to star in a series of sex comedies, including I Was a Mail Order
Bride (1982), Baby Sister (1983), and Sheena, a remake of the jungle
girl serial (1984). He also appeared in "straight"
comedies, such as Oh God, You Devil (1984) and The Longshot (1986),
before landing his second iconic role on Blossom (1991-1995). He played Nick Russo, dad of the unconventional
teenager (Mayim Bialik) and her dimwitted brother Joey (future heartthrob and gay
ally Joey Lawrence). As the stable center of the lunacy,
he didn't have much of an opportunity to show off his comedic talent -- or his chest.
After Blossom, Ted retired from acting to
become a director, including some gay-friendly movies and tv series such as Crumbs,
with Fred Savage as a gay writer. Ted posed
nude in Playgirl in 1979. No frontal shots, but these white rubber
jeans leave little to the imagination.