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Leif Garrett Biography

Leif Garrett

Biography


Date of Birth
8 December 1961, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA

Birth Name
Leif Per Nervik

Height
5' 9½" (1.77 m)

Mini Biography
Born on November 8, 1961 in Hollywood, California, Leif grew up in a world of showbiz and got his first taste of acting in the blockbuster film, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) playing the son of Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon, though he was uncredited. Then he was a frequent guest in TV shows such as Nanny and the Professor (1970), Family Affair (1966), Cannon (1971), Gunsmoke (1955) and The Odd Couple (1970) as well as receiving brief exposure in Walking Tall (1973) and Devil Times Five (1974), both films also starring his sister, Dawn Lyn. He then played Endy Karras in the TV series Three for the Road (1975), also starring Alex Rocco and Vincent Van Patten, and by then he started getting exposure on teen magazines and fan mail, despite the show's short run. He still pursued his acting career by starring in some westerns like Diamante Lobo (1976), Vengeance (1977) and Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion (1977).

However, by then he wanted to be a singer and Michael Lloyd, who was producing records for Shaun Cassidy at the time, signed him up as well. He released two oldie cover singles "Surfin USA" and "Runaround Sue" as well as his self titled debut album, but wasn't really happy with this style of music. He recorded another album called "Feel the Need" which had a top 10 disco flavoured hit his producer wrote called, "I Was Made for Dancin'". He released 3 more albums and walked away from music.

He continued in films and was well remembered for his small supporting role in the Blockbuster film The Outsiders (1983), which starred Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and Tom Cruise, but his films after that were not very successful. However, he did return to music by playing in a band called "Godspeed", as this time he's playing his own music.


Trivia
  • Son of Rik Nervik, an actor and stuntman, and Carolyn Stellar (born Carolyn Golda Underwood), an actress and costume designer.
  • Younger sister is actress Dawn Lyn.
  • Was sued by former friend for an 1979 accident in which Leif was driving and car left the road and plunged 80 ft. down a hillside. Friend was paralyzed, judgment of $7.1 million. (The two were reunited 20 years later, as part of a TV program about Garrett's life and career, and Garrett learned that his friend, whom he hadn't seen since that day, had long forgiven him - and that Garrett's actions following the accident had actually saved his life.)
  • Mother was an actress using the name Carolyn Stellar.
  • Ranked #13 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols" (23 January 2005 issue).
  • In an interview for the 2008 A&E "Biography" show about him, he said he did not originally aspire to a singing career. He had never been a singer and considered himself an actor, but when he achieved teen idol status, his handlers saw a chance to make big money and told him that he was now a singer. He was told what to sing without regard for his musical preferences, so he wasn't happy with his music career. Dragged around the world on concert tours at 15 by his managers without his family and spending most of his time in hotel rooms, he felt isolated and extremely lonely. To relieve his loneliness, he began tagging along to the clubs at night with his managers, and thus began his descent into alcohol and drug abuse. His return to music later in life reflected his real musical preferences and truly fueled his creative passions.
  • In the mid-1990s, fellow singer-actress Bridgette Wilson-Sampras remade Garrett's hit-single "I Was Made For Dancing" for her album "Gimme a Kiss"; subsequently, both the song and the record became huge hits in Japan.
  • Ex-brother-in-law of Michael Whitby.
  • There has long been confusion as to the correct pronunciation of Leif's name. At the beginning of the 2010 VH1 program, "Leif Garrett: Behind the Music Remastered", Leif himself says, "For the record, it's layf, long a.".
  • Filed for bankruptcy in October 2001. According to court documents Garrett had only $350 and was living off a monthly $1,000 allowance from his mother.
  • His 2007 album "Three Sides Of" sold less than 300 copies.
  • In 1998, the corporate descendant of Garrett's original recording label released a greatest hits compilation of his music, "The Leif Garrett Collection". Garrett said that the only payment he received was a few copies of the CD.
  • In 1996, his former girlfriend Nicollette Sheridan tried to force Garrett into rehab. He left after half an hour.
  • Record company executives said he could record only what they told him to, mostly covers of hit songs from the late 1950s and early 1960s. The only chance Garrett got to stretch himself musically was onstage, where he spiced up his live set with Rolling Stones and Zeppelin covers.
  • Of the albums recorded at the height of his career he says he only liked 1980's "Can't Explain".
  • He retains a large fan base in Japan and South Korea.
  • Graduated high school at the age of 15 after doing four academic years in two.
  • In 1981 he was supposed to star in a biopic of boxer "Little Red" Danny Lopez, but ended up making Longshot (1981) instead.
  • Plays the guitar, piano and electronic keyboard.
  • He is of Norwegian descent.
  • Began dating Justine Bateman in January 1988.
  • Born five days after Kari Michaelsen.
  • By 1979 he had already been awarded 27 gold and platinum records.
  • He had publicly promised to look after Roland Winkler financially following the car crash, but Winkler's parents sued Garrett in January 1980. The case was eventually settled in December 1984.
  • Quotes
  • If there is anything I would tell anybody in this profession, it is never believe your own press.
  • Do not believe your own publicity. Sussing out who your real friends are is full-time work. Every scum bag, every drug dealer, every chicken hawk wants a piece of you. When you've got that sort of power at that young age, and everything at your doorstep, you put out that bad boy image. At that age, testosterone, hormones, all of the money, you see what else you can get away with.
  • I think part of my drug use was that I didn't want to get older. I wanted to stay that rebellious 18-year-old, just thinking I was superman or, you know, indestructible. But things catch up to you. Fame is a drug not only to oneself but to others as well.
  • My mom didn't understand, you know. It was partially her fault. You don't allow a 14 or 15-year-old kid to go on the road without parental guidance. The bartenders knew who I was, knew how old I was, but no one said no.
  • My career ended musically, as far as the producers were concerned, when the five-year contract was over and I was, like, 21 or 22, whereas I was trying to let them in on my vision to grow. In the teen idol world, the longest a teen idol can last - unless they change and become an adult with their music - is five years. You go from 16 to maybe 21, and then by 21 you're already having sex ... and that changes your whole world. Your music changes, the things you like change. One thing is puppy love; the next thing is lust. In the teen idol world, it's puppy love. New wave music was happening. Disco wasn't going to last, first of all, and that sort of like puppy-love style wasn't going to last either. Like I said, you grow up and start having sex. Your tastes change. You become more mature ... They just didn't see it, and my contract was up and I said, "See you later."
  • The last time I went to Japan, three or four years ago, was the last time I did any of that material. Even then, I refused to do them the regular way. I did a blues version of a disco song. That was a tough one. I wasn't feeling so good then. I was in the middle of a kick. Oh, man. The things we do to ourselves.
  • It changed my life big time. Oddly enough, even after the car accident, the "teen idolism" continued for awhile, but not to the same degree. Whether that was a part of it or not, I don't know. That was a big lesson for me because I was 17 when that happened. That was like three days before my 18th birthday. It was a tough situation. I knew that even though we were both at fault for what we were doing and for being in a vehicle, because he was going to drive but I drove.
  • Everything was absolutely perfect up until '84. And '84 was when the Scotti Brothers made the mistake of telling Paramount and Universal that I didn't want to sign to a two-picture deal after doing The Outsiders. They started their own production company with me doing a movie about ... foosball. Are you out of your fricking minds? I just did The Outsiders and you're having me do a B-movie about foosball now? I knew how we had to make my crossover to adulthood. But the people who were in charge, supposedly, had no intention of ever letting me have any kind of say in anything. I would have made a better choice than believe what I was told - that I had no other offers and nothing else came in. They were greedy and wanted to start a production company with me.
  • The perks of being a teen idol are great, but I don't miss it a lot.



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