James William Ercolani (born June 8, 1936), best known as James Darren, is an American television and film actor, television director, and singer.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1936, Darren began his career as a teen idol, having been discovered by talent agent and casting director Joyce Selznick. This encompassed roles in films, most notably his role as Moondoggie in Gidget in 1959, as well as a string of pop hits for Colpix Records, the biggest of which was "Goodbye Cruel World" (#3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961), and another sizeable hit with "Her Royal Majesty" (#6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962). He is also featured in one of the Scopitone series of pop music video jukebox films ("Because You're Mine").
Darren's role in the gritty 1961 World War II film The Guns of Navarone was an attempt to break out of his teen image. He then achieved success co-starring as impulsive scientist and adventurer Tony Newman in the science fiction television series, The Time Tunnel (1966?1967).
In the 1970s, Darren appeared as a celebrity panelist on Match Game.
Later, Darren had a regular role as Officer James Corrigan on the television police drama T.J. Hooker from 1983?1986. Subsequently he worked as a director on many action-based television series, including Hunter, The A-Team, and Nowhere Man, as well as dramas such as Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place.
In 1998 he achieved renewed popularity as a singer through his appearances on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the role of holographic crooner and advice-giver Vic Fontaine; many of his performances on the show were recorded for the album This One's From the Heart (1999). The album showed Darren, a close friend of Frank Sinatra, comfortably singing in the Sinatra style; the 2001 follow-up Because of You showed similar inspiration from Tony Bennett.
Some animation fans may know him as the singing voice of Yogi Bear in the 1964 animated film, Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!, on the song "Ven-e, Ven-o, Ven-a". Prior to that, he was the singing and speaking voice of "Jimmy Darrock" on an episode of The Flintstones.
James Darren dated Barbara Bouchet after she won the "Miss Gidget" contest in 1959.
He has been married twice:
His first wife was Gloria Terlitzky with whom he had one son, Jim Moret, who for nearly a decade worked as a CNN reporter and anchor, and is currently Chief Correspondent for the syndicated news program Inside Edition.
His second wife is Evy Norlund, with whom he has two sons, Christian Darren, a writer, and Tony Darren, a musician and singer-songwriter.
James Darren and his wife are godparents to Nancy Sinatra's daughter Angela Jennifer Lambert (Frank Sinatra's first grandchild).
On being a teen idol: "At times it was Chinese torture."
1959 Gidget (US #41)
1959 Angel Face (US #47)
1960 Because They're Young (UK #29)
1961 Goodbye Cruel World (US #3, UK #28)
1962 Her Royal Majesty (US #6, UK #36)
1962 Conscience (US #11, UK #30)
1962 Mary's Little Lamb (US #39)
1962 Hail to the Conquering Hero (US #97)
1963 Pin a Medal on Joey (US #54)
1965 Because You're Mine (US AC #30)
1967 All (US #35/US AC #5)
1967 Didn't We (US AC #36)
1977 You Take My Heart Away (US #52)
1960 James Darren No. 1 (reissued 2004)
1961 Sings the Movies (Gidget Goes Hawaiian)
1962 Love Among the Young (reissued 2004)
1962 Sings for All Sizes
1963 Bye Bye Birdie (with The Marcels, Paul Petersen, & Shelley Fabares)
1963 Teen-Age Triangle (with Shelley Fabares & Paul Petersen)
1964 More Teen-Age Triangle (with Paul Petersen & Shelley Fabares)
1967 All (reissued 2005)
1971 Mammy Blue
1972 Love Songs from the Movies
1994 The Best of James Darren
1999 This One's from the Heart
2001 Because of You
Many compilation albums also exist.
Rumble on the Docks (1956)
Operation Mad Ball (1957)
The Brothers Rico (1957)
The Gene Krupa Story (1959)
Because They're Young (1960)
Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960)
Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961)
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
Diamond Head (1963)
Gidget Goes to Rome (1963)
The Lively Set (1964)
For Those Who Think Young (1964)
Venus in Furs (1969)
The Donna Reed Show (1959)
The Flintstones as Jimmy Darrock (1965)
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (Guest star in The Mechanical Man)
The Time Tunnel (1966?1967)
TJ Hooker (1982?1985)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1998?1999)