Who Didn’t Love ’70s Teen Dream Heartthrob Leif Garrett?

Leif Garrett circa 1976 in Los Angeles, California. **EXCLUSIVE** ***Exclusive***
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In the interest of full disclosure, I was one of the countless teenage girls who plastered their bedroom walls with Leif Garrett posters throughout the ’70s and early ’80s. In fact, I was so smitten with the sleepy-eyed, flaxen-maned heartthrob — who stole girls’ hearts in such fare as 1983’s Francis Ford Coppola film The Outsiders and guest spots on CHiPs and Family — that my best friend and I spent hours tossing suction-tip darts at the images and smooching the ones we hit.


Fin Costello/Redferns

When I finally got an opportunity to chat with my lifelong crush, I found that Garrett has evolved into an open, charming and entirely self-aware gentleman who is humbled by the international legion of faithful fans who refuse to see his tabloid press as the sum total of the man and his career. “I guess everything coming together in perfect harmony at one moment made it happen,” recalls Garrett, 62, who now focuses on making music that’s much closer to his beloved Led Zeppelin than the bubble-gum pop that made him an icon. “The way I looked and the way I presented myself — the clothing, the attitude, the music — that sort of thing. It’s very flattering and I feel privileged to have gone through it, even with the downsides.”

25th January 1978: Sixteen year old old Leif Garrett, the American pop singer signs autographs for fans on his arrival at Heathrow Airport, here to promote his first film 'Skateboard.'

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Those downsides were formidable. Though Garrett and his sister, Dawn Lyn, were sought-after child actors, their mother was a novice in an industry overrun by people skilled at taking advantage. “Everything was absolutely perfect up until ’84,” Garrett explains. “That was when [Garrett’s music producers] the Scotti Brothers made the mistake of telling Paramount and Universal that I didn’t want to sign a two-picture deal after doing The Outsiders. They started their own production company with me, instead — doing a movie about foosball. I just did The Outsiders and they’re having me do a B-movie about foosball? The people who were in charge had no intent of ever letting me have any kind of say. I was told I had no other offers and that nothing else came in. Because they were greedy.”

THE OUTSIDERS, from left: Leif Garrett, Darren Dalton, 1983,

Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

Garrett watched as his Outsiders costars moved into serious film careers, while he languished in toss-off flicks and bubblegum records focused on his heartthrob status instead of his talent. Soon he rebelled, immersing himself in the L.A. nightlife and spiraling into addiction that wreaked havoc with his career and personal relationships. Still, he kept his chin up, making the most of roles that tweaked his former teen-dream fame and earning a younger following in West Hollywood’s music clubs.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 25: Leif Garrett performs live onstage at The Vogue on July 25, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Where Are They Now - The Seventies
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Where Are They Now - The Seventies

June 2022

Who can forget all the great TV shows, movies and music of the ‘70s?

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