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Erik Estrada

Erik Estrada

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Also Known As: Henry Enrique Estrada Died:
Born: March 16, 1949 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, producer, dancer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

With his dark good looks, bright white teeth and a twinkle in his eyes, Erik Estrada, famous worldwide for his role as "Ponch" on the motorcycle cop drama "CHiPs" (NBC, 1977-1983), was the kind of 1970s pop icon they just do not make anymore. More important than the teeth and the hair and the preteen Ponch mania, was the simple fact that Estrada's appeal transcended ethnic lines at a time when Hispanic lead actors were not commonplace. After fading into relative obscurity for a decade or so, he resurfaced as an anti-drug advocate and rode a wave of retro popularity into TV reunions, music video appearances and a regular role on a Spanish daytime soap opera.

With his dark good looks, bright white teeth and a twinkle in his eyes, Erik Estrada, famous worldwide for his role as "Ponch" on the motorcycle cop drama "CHiPs" (NBC, 1977-1983), was the kind of 1970s pop icon they just do not make anymore. More important than the teeth and the hair and the preteen Ponch mania, was the simple fact that Estrada's appeal transcended ethnic lines at a time when Hispanic lead actors were not commonplace. After fading into relative obscurity for a decade or so, he resurfaced as an anti-drug advocate and rode a wave of retro popularity into TV reunions, music video appearances and a regular role on a Spanish daytime soap opera.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Highway (2012)
4.
5.
 Border Blues (2004)
6.
 National Lampoon's Van Wilder (2002) Erik Estrada
7.
8.
 King Cobra (1999) Bernie Alvarez
9.
 CHiPs '99 (1998) Francis "Ponch" Poncherello
10.
 Final Goal, The (1995)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in NYC's East Harlem
:
Appeared with a Los Angeles dance troupe in the late 1960s
1970:
Feature debut in "The Cross and the Switchblade"
1972:
Played Sergio in "The New Centurions"
1975:
Acted the part of Navigator Julio in "Airport 1975"
1976:
Portrayed Santos on short-lived NBC Western series "The Quest"
1977:
Starred as Francis 'Ponch' Poncherello in "CHiPs" (NBC)
1979:
Injured in a motorcycle accident in August
1981:
Became involved in contract dispute with MGM (studio behind "CHiPs"; sued by MGM for breach of contract; briefly replaced on the series by Bruce Jenner; returned to work after seven weeks
1982:
Played Rico 'Honeybunny' Ramirez, young boxer from the barrio, in NBC movie "Honeybunny"
1984:
Made Off-Broadway acting debut in Sam Shepard's "True West"
1988:
Portrayed Carmen D'Agostino in the NBC movie "The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission"
1989:
Debut as associate producer for the straight-to-video "Alien Seed"; also played Dr Stone
1990:
Starred in straight-to-video movies "The Lost Idol", "Caged Fury" (also associate producer) and "The Wilding"
1993:
Had cameo as himself in "National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon I"
1993:
Offered the role of Latino heartthrob Johnny in the Mexican telenovela (soap opera) "Dos Mujeres, Un Camino/Two Women, One Direction"; learned Spanish in 30 straight 8-hour days of Berlitz; originally slated for 100 episodes, went 400 plus--four years--becoming the biggest telenovela in Latin American history, rejuvinating Estrada's career
:
Appeared on the CBS sitcom "The Nanny" as himself
:
Played Mr. Dork in UPN's "Home Boys in Outer Space" and appeared as himself in series like the WB's "Unhappily Ever After" and "The Wayans Bros"; also appeared in a Butthole Surfers music video
1997:
Published autobiography "Erik Estrada: My Life from Harlem to Hollywood"
2001:
Joined the cast of the CBS daytime drama "The Bold and the Beautiful"
2002:
Had cameo in "National Lampoon's Van Wilder"
2004:
Portrayed himself on the hit reality show "The Surreal Life 2"
2004:
Signed on to shed excess pounds for Discovery Health Channel's "Body Challenge: Hollywood," a 12-week health and fitness competition
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Brandeis High School: New York , New York -
American Musical and Dramatic Academy: New York , New York -

Notes

"I always loved Ponch, man. It was so much fun to be him, to put on my duds and get on that bike and bust the bad guys and help out the kids. And get the babes." --Erik Estrada to Entertainment Weekly, October 4, 1996.

"This guy [Larry Wilcox] was hired to be the Lone Ranger, and I was hired to be Tonto. I became the Lone Ranger, and he became my sidekick." --Estrada in USA Today, July 15, 1997.

"Yeah, man! Like when I did my guest spot on 'The Nanny' in its third season--as a star, playing Erik Estrada. That episode got the best ratings in the show's history. You know they just said, 'Hey, let's get the Ratings Kid and put him in!' Man, I'm busy. Just this week [early May], you're gonna see me on 'Homeboys in Outer Space' on UPN and 'Viva Variety!' on Comedy Central. In full drag, man! ... I got a total of three hours a day, three hours a day, on American television. Two hours of 'CHiPs' syndication. One hour of my soap. And I got my travel show out of L.A., 'American Adventurer'. I'm makin' tons of bread, man." --Erik Estrada quoted in GQ, October 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Kelly Chavez. Was Estrada's live-in girlfriend in the late 1970s.
companion:
Kathi Lautner. Involved with Estrada c. 1978-79.
wife:
Joyce Miller. Married in November 1979 in Las Vegas, Nevada; born April 24, 1940; previously married; alleged Estrada abused her and forced her to take drugs before their 1980 divorce.
companion:
Beverly Adams Sassoon. Engaged in 1981; separated later that year.
companion:
Kathy Shower. Briefly engaged in 1983.
wife:
Peggy Rowe. Songwriter. Mother of his two children; married in 1985; divorced in 1989.
wife:
Nanette Mirkovich. Production coordinator. Born c. 1959; married on September 20, 1997; met at a gym in 1990 and had an initial three-year platonic relationship before becoming romantically involved.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Carmen Estrada. Of Puerto Rican descent; filed for divorce from Estrada's father c. 1951.
sister:
Carmen Estrada. Older.
son:
Anthony Eric Estrada. Born on March 1, 1986; mother, Peggy Rowe.
son:
Brandon Estrada. Born on October 28, 1987; mother, Peggy Rowe.
daughter:
Francesca Natalia Estrada. Born on Jamuary 5, 2000; mother, Nannette Mirkovich.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Erik Estrada: My Road From Harlem to Hollywood" William Morrow

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