The same year he joined the cast, Rick released "Jessie's Girl" and catapulted straight to the top of the music charts. Rick dove headfirst into the pop music scene and went on to sing 17 more top 40 hits, including "Love Somebody" and "Don't Talk to Strangers." He has sold more than 19 million records and is still a rock icon, singing his heart out to adoring fans all over the world.
Surprise! Instead of a doctor, Dawn gets to meet a rocker. When Dawn sees her '80s idol standing right in front of her, she's a little more than shocked. "She's vibrating!" Rick says.
"I'm sorry, I'm in shock that you're actually sitting in my office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin," Dawn says.
Watch Rick perform his number one hit, "Jessie's Girl."
Rick can't say Gary's girl's name—because he can't remember what it was! "I was never really introduced to her. It was always just, like, panting from afar," he says. To this day, Rick thinks Gary's girl doesn't know the famous song is all about her. "As far as I know, she doesn't know," he says. "And I lost contact with them before the song came out."
Although he says he's had an amazing life, Rick says he found true happiness in an unexpected place. "I think I just reached the end of my rope and was walking around and just really miserable, walking around the pool and looking at this big house and married to a beautiful woman and going, 'This isn't it. I thought this would be it,'" Rick says. At that moment, he says he found out what it was—family. "I had a great family. I get choked up talking about my family," he says. "I love my family with a passion, and that's what held me together as a kid."
He doesn't regret his decision at all. "Now it was the most amazing thing that I could have done because I have an incredibly close relationship with both my boys and a great relationship with my wife," he says. "She's been through everything with me. I mean, we were dating before 'Jessie's Girl' was ever heard of, so she knows me like nobody knows me."
When it came to raising his two children, Rick says he was a little more relaxed with the rules than his wife, Barbara. "I was raised in a very strict household," he says. "My mom was really strict, which I fought all my life." On the other hand, Rick says Barbara was brought up with few rules. "She was really let free, so she turned it around and became the real disciplinarian. And I'm going, 'No, no, I want them to be free.' I don't want to have all those stupid rules that I had, like don't put your elbows on the table and don't chew with your mouth open and all this stuff."
Rick says he has a soft spot for another addition to his family—his dogs. "Dogs are my totem animal," he says. He even incorporated his dog Ronnie into the album cover of Working Class Dog. "I went to the record company and said, 'I want to put my dog on the front cover of the record'—and they all laughed," he says. Since he was a General Hospital star, Rick's record company wanted his face to be on the cover—but Rick had other ideas. "So I went home and I took a photo of Ronnie in a shirt and tie and a little Polaroid and cut it out and did 'Rick Springfield, Working Class Dog,' and took it in to them and they bought it. It ended up being nominated for a Grammy for the best cover of the year. I was very happy about that—it was vindication."
"Something comes over you when you hit the microphone," Oprah says. Rick seems like a regular guy, she says—until he picks up a guitar. "The teenager comes out," Rick says.
A TV icon was born when Happy Days premiered in 1974—the jukebox-thumping, motorcycle-riding Arthur " Fonzie" Fonzarelli. By 1976, the show had 22 million viewers and was number one in the ratings. But becoming "the king of cool" wasn't an easy road for Henry. Born to immigrants who fled Nazi Germany, Henry says he struggled in school but eventually graduated from the Yale School of Drama. He got his acting career started in commercials—even sharing one with future Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman. Soon, Henry started landing guest roles in shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show. After Happy Days ended, Henry continued playing The Fonz in guest appearances on the show's spin-off, Laverne & Shirley.
Since Happy Days ended, Henry has produced, directed and starred in many box office hits. He's also added the role of children's author to his list of accomplishments.
Audiences of all ages still recognize The Fonz's telltale "aayyy," and millions have seen Fonzie's jacket at the Smithsonian. Still, Henry says he doesn't feel like a television icon. "I don't think of myself in those terms," Henry says. "I am a husband to Stacey. I have three children."
Whether he was bringing another chickadee to her knees or jumping the shark, Henry says playing Fonzie brought out a different side of himself. "The Fonz was everybody I wasn't. He was everybody I wanted to be," Henry says. "He really liked his friends and he took care of his friends. Part of what I based him on was loyalty."
After that, Henry says Happy Days creator Garry Marshall started using The Fonz to help kids all over the country. "We did a show where The Fonz wore glasses," Henry says. "The Fonz cried over Richie in the hospital because a school for emotionally disturbed boys who loved The Fonz but would not show emotion, wouldn't cry."
Although TV shows today are very different, Henry doesn't think great family television is a thing of the past. "Life is a circle. And so I think it will come back to that," Henry says. "I don't think the audience wants cutting edge. I think they were so beaten to a pulp outside their home that they want to be entertained and taken care of when they sit down and watch the television."
In school, Henry says he often repeated classes, and teachers always told him he was smarter than the grades he earned. It wasn't until his stepson was tested in the third grade that Henry learned of his own dyslexia. "Everything they said to him, I said, 'Oh, my goodness, that's me,'" he says. "So at 31, I realized I wasn't stupid. I wasn't lazy. I was trying to live up to my potential, and I had something that actually had a name."
Now, Henry says he wants every child to know one very important thing. "A child that has a learning challenge knows that they're not keeping up. And it's already like an insidious worm that is eating away at their self-image," Henry says. "What I say to children is that you've got greatness in you and you don't know what you can accomplish. ... You are great."
The beloved icon beamed onto television screens in 1966 as James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, on Star Trek. The studly space explorer dazzled women of all species, but his most infamous encounter was with a crew member of his own ship—Lt. Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols. Their kiss marked the first interracial kiss on a television drama.
Despite being one of the greatest cult phenomena on television, Star Trek was canceled after only three seasons because of low ratings. Now, devoted Trekkies flock to conventions around the world, feeding the nearly $2 billion Star Trek industry.
Bill traded in his command of Starfleet for a badge in 1982 and joined the cast of T.J. Hooker. In the late 1990s, Bill also lent his star power to commercials for discount travel website Priceline.com. He currently stars as egomaniac lawyer Denny Crane on ABC's Boston Legal.
Bill's half-century career as TV icon, singer, best-selling author and pitch man is proof that even in Hollywood, you can live long and prosper. "I guess I'm here because I was Captain Kirk," he says. "Ultimately, the celebrity it brought me made everything else possible."
Bill's campy delivery got the attention of television executives, and he was cast as eccentric, politically incorrect lawyer Denny Crane on ABC's The Practice and its spin-off, Boston Legal. Since joining the shows, Bill has taken home two Emmys and a Golden Globe. "It is so filled with comic genius," Bill says. "It's just great fun."
As it turned out, a gambling website contacted Bill and offered to pay him $15,000 for the stone. After some bargaining, the company paid Bill $75,000, and he decided to do something special with the money.
With another $20,000 in donations from the cast and crew of Boston Legal, Bill donated $95,000 to Habitat for Humanity. "We bought a house in the New Orleans area," he says. "There is a family living in a home. It brings tears to my eyes."
In his book, Bill writes about making a detailed list of qualities he wanted in a wife. It was that list, Bill believes, that led to his meeting his wife, Elizabeth.
Bill and Elizabeth share two great loves. The first is horses—Elizabeth works with horses, and Bill runs the Wells Fargo Hollywood Charity Horse Show in Los Angeles. In fact, Bill says his next book will be about horses and how they have affected his life.
Their other common bond is Oprah! "Elizabeth found you first—the magazines and the show—and gradually she lured me into it," Bill says. "Then we put you on the TiVo. ... The biggest compliment is the O Magazine is in the bathroom."
Find your passion and transform your life.