Before Shaun Cassidy, even before David Cassidy, there was TV teen-throb Bobby Sherman. At the height of his career, Sherman had a hit series, a succession of smash singles and the adoration of millions of teenyboppers who bought Sixteen and Tiger Beat in record numbers when his face adorned their covers.
That face has survived the subsequent years with its boyish good looks intact — for a good reason. “I’ve led a pretty clean life, so I’ve aged fairly well,” says the forty-three-year-old Sherman, who still turns up on prime-time TV but prefers to work behind the scenes in television and recording. “I don’t even feel a whole lot older.”
Twenty-year-old Robert Cabot Sherman Jr. was studying child psychology at Pierce College in L.A. when a girlfriend took him to a cast party for The Greatest Story Ever Told. He made quite a splash singing a few songs with the band, whose members he knew from high school in Santa Monica, California. Among the party guests who caught Sherman’s impromptu gig were Natalie Wood, Jane Fonda and Sal Mineo. Three days later, an agent, tipped off by one of the party guests, sent Bobby to an audition for a new TV series, and he landed a featured spot on Shindig, the prime-time rock & roll revue that lasted from 1964 to 1966.
On his own, Sherman began cutting records for Decca and Cameo-Parkway, but his singing career didn’t take off until 1968, when he starred in Here Come the Brides as the adorable stutterer Jeremy Bolt. Within months, Bobbymania was going full force. Weekdays were spent taping the show; on weekends he would head for the recording studio or hit the road. The gold records started coming with “Hey, Little Woman,” “Julie, Do Ya Love Me” and “Easy Come, Easy Go.”
Although somewhat diminished, Sherman’s popularity survived the 1970 cancellation of Here Come the Brides and the subsequent failure of Getting Together, a 1971 Partridge Family spinoff that went up against All in the Family. He continued his TV career, guesting on The Mod Squad, The Love Boat and, more recently, Murder, She Wrote. He also appeared in feature films, like 1983’s rock comedy Get Crazy, in which he and fellow former teen idol Fabian were featured as the henchmen of an evil promoter. Recently he has been producing for television, directing commercials and cutting records in his home studio.
Thanks to sound financial advice, Sherman managed to keep much of the money he made during his windfall years. Nonetheless, he was subject to an occasional outburst of whimsy, like the $15,000 one-fifth-scale replica of Disneyland’s Main Street that he built — with his own hands — in the back yard of his Encino home in the 1970s.
Sherman still lives in Encino, where his sons — Tyler, 13, and Christopher, 12 — visit on weekends. (Their mother, Patti Carnell, who was divorced from Sherman in the late Seventies, later married David Soul, who played Sherman’s brother on Here Come the Brides. The couple, now separated, made headlines in 1983 when Starsky and Hutch star Soul confessed to People magazine that he beat and abused Patti.) According to Sherman, his sons keep him up-to-date on new stars like Depeche Mode. “They’re like little barometers,” he says. But what does the aging heartthrob think of a new generation of kids turning on to reruns of his old shows? “It’s scary,” he says. “God forbid it should start all over again. I don’t think I could take it.”