They made up one of the most memorable casts on TV. Each one, with its own defined style, won millions of fans around the world. Forty years after the premiere of Fame, some of the actors who went through the legendary series got together to celebrate and give viewers an unforgettable moment.
The meeting took place this Thursday, in the American program Entertainment Tonight. There they met Debbie Allen (Professor Lydia Grant), Valerie Landsburg (Dorys Schwartz), Nia Peeples (Nicole Chapman), PR Paul (Montgomery MacNeil), Cynthia Gibb (Holly Laird), Lee Curreri (Bruno Martelli) and Erica Gimpel. (Coco Hernandez). Jesse Borrego (Jesse Velasquez) joined remotely from Texas.
The series, based on the 1980 film of the same name, debuted on NBC on January 7, 1982, and was based on the experiences of students and teachers at a fictional art high school in New York. The show had a total of 136 episodes divided into six seasons,
Gimpel had nothing less than to interpret the role that Irene Cara played in the film and, also, the main theme, “Fame”, which in Cara’s voice had been deserving of an Oscar and a Golden Globe. “It was scary! I was only 16 years old! ”, The actress recalled at the reunion. In any case, he was encouraged to put his voice back to that emblematic song, along with some of his former colleagues and with Curreri on piano. They also sang another of the most memorable songs: “Could We Be Magic Like You”.
Fame costs. That was the slogan of the series that back in the distant and picturesque eighties had them as protagonists. And what if it costs. So much so, that despite having been part of one of the biggest hits of the decade, none of them shone again. What happened, then, to the lives of the boys from Fame? Here we tell you.
Carlo Imperato (58) / Danny Amatullo
He was the funny little blond and Don Juan who drove the girls crazy with his golden bangs and his muscular shirts. He participated in the series from the beginning of the series, in 1982, until its final season, in 1987. Before Fame, Danny had participated in Broadway musicals work Y runaways. On the small screen, he had debuted in 1979 in the series Angie and continued with minor roles until his character as Danny catapulted him to fame. So much so that he was encouraged to improvise a career as a singer. Everything seemed to be going on rails in his working life, but his face began to disappear from the small screen. Although he appeared in several programs in the following decades, only his participation in one chapter of friends (1995) and in Grey’s Anatomy (2015), where he personified a paramedic. In cinema he participated in the films Out-of-Sync (1995), directed by his former partner in Fame, Debby Allen; face to face, from 2001 and Crazy Love (2005). His personal life was more dizzying: he was married three times. With his last wife he has three children, Anthony, Kisha and Vincent.
Valerie Landsburg (63) / Dorys Schwartz
Her particular face and her innate grace for comedy made this New Yorker take on one of the main roles in the series. Who won the role of Dorys? None other than Madonna, who reached the final instances of the casting, but ended up seeing it on TV. Dorys was one of the students at the New York School of Art; a Jewish girl looking for a place in the world of acting, almost equal to Valerie. With Fame She not only made her debut as an actress on the small screen, but also directed and wrote some programs. Although he continued to act both on TV –Beverly Hills 90210, Dream On, Nip/Tuck Y wind fall– As in theater, he also continued to work behind the camera. In film, he directed Drawn to the Flame -of which he was also responsible for the script- and Borrowed Life Stolen Love. On television, she was responsible for eight episodes of Women: Stories of Passion and seven of The Best Sex Ever, among other. He also wrote chapters of Empty Nest. Like Dorys, Valerie was also able to develop an extensive career as a theater actress. Anything else? Yes. He is also a singer, and in 2001 he edited grow-up, a CD with songs of his authorship. She is divorced and has two children.
Erica Gimpel (57) / Coco Hernandez
Many confuse her with Irene Cara, the Coco from the original film. But although Erica Gimpel does not have such a powerful voice or such a recognized career as a singer, she does have a vast journey as an actress. After Fame participated in about fifty television programs, among which stand out The Cosby Show (1988), Law and order (1994), Babylon 5 (nineteen ninety six), Profiler (1996/1999), Roswell (2001), ER (1997/ 2003), House (2006), veronica mars (2004/ 2006), Grey’s Anatomy (2009), Nikita (2012), Criminal Minds (2006 and 2012) and TrueBlood (2012). In 2016 it was Alice Sellers in Code Black, and in 2017, Renée in The Catch. Then another ten series would come, Chicago Med Y NCIS: New Orleans, between them. He also worked in 20 films: the king of new york (1990), Smoky, 1995 (with Harvey Keitel, based on a story by Paul Auster), Venorika Decided to Die (2009) are the most prominent. In 2001 he released his first CD, Spread your Wings and Fly. He also worked in several plays and until recently he excelled in the one-man show Sister.
Gene Anthony Ray / Leroy Johnson
Along with Lee Currieri, he is one of the few actors from the original cast of the film who was also part of the staff of the series. In both cases, his character was the iconic Leroy Johnson, a rebellious dancer with relationship and learning problems. He was part of the series from its beginning to the end, in 1987. Despite having been one of the best-known and most recognizable faces in show business for half a decade, his career came to a halt after Fame. He only starred in the police film out of sync (1995), participated in Eddie (1996) and had a small cameo in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002). As a dancer, he participated in several television programs. He passed away in 2003, at the age of 41, due to the consequences of a cerebrovascular accident.
Lee Currieri (61)/ Bruno Martelli
Lee trained as a musician at the Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, and the Westchester Conservatory. Like Gene Anthony Ray, he went from the cast of the movie to the series. His Bruno Martelli was a somewhat shy keyboardist and composer, very different from his impetuous Italian father. He starred in the 1986 film Crystal Heart and participated, until 1988, in a dozen television programs. That year he decided to dedicate himself fully to his true love: music. He produced songs for dozens of artists, including Natalie Cole, Phil Perry and Siedah Garrett. He has also collaborated as an arranger and keyboardist with musicians and has worked as an arranger/keyboardist with artists such as Olivia Newton-John, Brenda Russell, Ernie Isley and Sly Stone. He also composed music for several films, television programs, documentaries and commercials. He also worked as an arranger at the Public Theater in New York and has his own music production company for television and film. He also edited his CD To Aquabox. He was married twice. First with the composer and singer Lisbeth Scott, and in 2010 he went through the altar again with the producer Sherry Dean, with whom he had two children.
Lori Singer (64) / Julie Miller
Her angelic face, her soft ways, her sparkling blue eyes and, above all, her quality as a cellist, made her the ideal actress to play the languid Julie Miller. Lori has actually breathed art since the day she was born. His father was a conductor, his uncle, Bryan, a film director; his brother Marc, an actor (Donovan, in V, Alien Invasion) and his other brother, Gregory, a violinist. A child prodigy, she debuted as a cello soloist at the age of 13, and until she joined the series she devoted herself to music and her ballet classes. He only participated in the first two seasons, and in 1984 he left the program to dedicate himself fully to the filming of what would be one of the classic musicals of all time: footloose (She also beat out Madonna for the role!). Then came movies like The man with the red shoe (1985), with Tom Hanks, The Falcon & the Snowman, with Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn; Short Cuts (1993), by Robert Altman, and FTW (1994) with Mickey Rourke. On TV, he had several participations, among which his role as Sydney Bloom in the science fiction series VR.5 (1995/1997) and his role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2011). She was nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards for her work in Trouble in Mind (1985) and in 1993 he won the Golden Globe for his performance in Short Cuts. While participating in the series she was married, but divorced in 1998. In 1991 she had her only son, Jacques.