About five years ago, I created my own phrase: Media Binging. The “Belz Definition” of a Media Binge starts with innocent research on one topic (for example: “Where was Calvin Coolidge in the lineup of Presidents?”) and ends with something completely different, and for some – unimportant (“What happened to Kimmy Gibbler?!”) How I reach point A to point W is a complete mystery, but one thing’s for sure: It has costed me many hours of lost sleep. Aziz Ansari is a fan of the habit as well, and has mentioned it in a few stand-up acts.
I wanted to start a column where I did some of the research for you. I’ll be focusing on one show (either a sitcom or reality show) from the past per week, and let you know what the heck the cast is up to today. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them in the comments section!
For my first, I’ll be focusing on Charles In Charge. Entering the world the same year I did (1984), Charles In Charge focuses on a college student who moves in with the Powell family as a babysitter and housekeeper in exchange for room and board. Because every college kid knows that’s a totally normal situation. The show lasted for 5 seasons, and years later, I still can’t get the theme song out of my head. I’d write some of the lyrics, but I respect you guys too much to have you share my misery.
So – what ever happened to the cast?
Scott Baio as Chachi Charles
Scott Baio played Charles, the lead character who was obviously in Charge. There’s a good chance you’re familiar with Scott Baio. He’s been on a few shows you’ve heard of (Arrested Development! Diagnosis Murder!) and a few you haven’t (Can’t Hurry Love! …?) In 2007, he starred in his own show called Scott Baio is 45… And Single. The premise was, he hired a “life changing” counselor to figure out his commitment issues.
While the show was a bit phony, it brought his name back into the spotlight. And I guess the show worked, since he managed to commit to his girlfriend, Renee Sloan, that same year. Their small wedding ceremony was filmed for a season 2 episode of the show. Around the time of the ceremony, Baio also became a father.
Honestly guys, I’d be livid if my husband had a reality show based on his commitment issues while I was engaged to him and had his child. Renee is one strong lady.
Here’s a fact: Charles never had his last name revealed on the show. I’m betting it was “Incharge”. Similar to how the Scrubs Janitor was named “Jan Itor.”
Willie Aames as Buddy
Aames played Charles’ buddy, Buddy. While his character was roughly Dave Coulier/Uncle Joey-esque, he was necessary to balance Charles out and also as a way for Charles to get into crazy adventures. (I mean, he was “in Charge”, but he was also an immature college kid.)
One of Willie’s best gigs post-Buddy was as Bibleman, in the TV series… Bibleman. The show aired from 1996 to 2004, but seemed to keep an odd format (as in, there were often just three episodes per year.) While he wrote and directed the majority of the material, he doesn’t own the character.
Bibleman also caused a brief painkiller addiction for our buddy. While he’s clean now, he started taking them after an injury based on a Bibleman live show.
Currently he’s a cruise director. Yes, I said cruise director. He started as an assistant cruise director and part time entertainer in 2010, and rose his way up.
Nicole Eggert as Jamie Powell
Did you know that Nicole was once engaged to Corey Haim? After starring in two movies with him (in 1992 and 1993), she actually saved his life by taking him to the hospital during a narcotic binge – at least once.
While her acting career was most notable for this show and Baywatch, Nicole had a few spots on TV as herself – in 2010 she was on Celebrity Fit Club, and this year she was a contestant on Splash (also known as “Why is there a TV show about celebrities diving?”) While it was reported that she was injured on the show, she maintained that she was just fine. She also was featured on an episode of TLC’s “What Not To Wear”. Because she’s a Mom of two, I guess one of her “friends” figured she “wasn’t fashionable enough anymore”. I don’t know – I didn’t watch it, but I did see a few pictures, and 90 billion episodes of the show prior to, so I imagine that’s how things went.
Josie Davis as Sarah Powell
Josie has had a pretty steady career since Charles In Charge ended. In 2000, she was on Beverly Hills, 90210 and was then cast in a second Aaron Spelling show – Titans, co-starring with Yasmeen Bleeth and Victoria Principal. She also picked up a recurring role on CSI: NY.
I hate to have such little to say about Josie Davis, but she’s kept a low profile. Her role as Sarah was one of her first, and one of her most notable. Chances are, she has a line or two in something you’ve seen in the last year or so.
Alexander Polinsky – Adam Powell
Like many actors on sitcoms from the 80’s and 90’s, Alexander has been lending his voice to a lot of cartoons, video games, and short films. In fact, Charles In Charge was his only television acting role, and he was only featured in two films. He does have a twitter, which while unverified, I can’t imagine anyone getting a kick out of pretending to be that kid from Charles In Charge.
He’s 38, but even while reading his feed, I can’t imagine him as anything other than a young kid.
Congratulations on keeping it real, Alexander. I know it’s a tough world out there for child actors.
James T. Callahan – Walter Powell
Talk about a legend – Callahan’s career started in 1960, and while he’s starred in numerous things, one of his most known roles was as Walter. He married his wife, Peggy Cannon, in 1994 – when he was 63 years old.
Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2007, and died only six months later at his home in California.
Sandra Kerns as Ellen Powell
While Sandra worked in television in the 70’s and 80’s, she retired in the early 90’s to take care of her family. After the show ended, she was featured in an episode of the failed TV series She-Wolf of London, as well as an episode of another one-season show called The New Adam-12. Her acting credits officially ended in 1993.
Should I declare a winner here? I guess – with some hesitation – the most successful from the cast is Charles himself. Scott Baio is still a household name, and can still cameo on a show for some laughs, yet he also has a pretty successful family life.