‘CHiPs’ Where Are They Now: Which Star Became a Real Cop?!

CHiPs Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, 1977-1983
Everett Collection

In the late ’70s and early ’80s, two motorcycle-riding policemen who were the epitome of cool patrolled the California Highway Patrol, otherwise known as CHiPS. The show, starring Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox, was hugely popular and although the two had amazing chemistry onscreen, they reportedly didn’t get along that well in real life. Even so, they put their differences aside and created one heck of a show. Have you ever wondered where the main cast is now? Let’s find out!

Erik Estrada (Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello)


Erik Estrada

Everett Collection and Amy Sussman/Getty Images

His role in CHiPS was perfect because growing up Estrada said he wanted to be a police officer. After excelling in high school drama club, he decided to become an actor. CHiPS was his big break and significant in Hollywood’s history as there were few lead Latino actors at that time. After CHiPS, he starred in Two Women, One Road and appeared in many low-budget action films. In the ’90s and 2000s, he mainly focused on guest-starring roles in shows such as Diagnosis Murder, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Scrubs, and The King of Queens as well as several reality shows. His most recent appearance was in the show Call Me Kat and Fallout. In 2008, his childhood dreams came true when he worked as a reserve police officer in Muncie, Indiana, and later became deputy sheriff in Bedford County, Virginia. He now works in law enforcement in Virginia, focusing on fighting digital crimes against kids.

Larry Wilcox (Officer Jon Baker)


Larry Wilcox

Everett Collection and Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Festival of Arts

After serving in the Marines during the Vietnam War, Wilcox began acting in the ’70s. His big break came in the series Lassie and went on to star in CHiPS. At first, he rejected the role! He admitted that he felt there were too many police shows and he wanted to do something different. However, they offered him more money and he decided to go for it. After CHiPS, he formed his own production company called Wilcox Productions. He has basically retired from acting in his 70s and said he focuses on racing cars and driving motorcycles.

Robert Pine (Sergeant Joseph Getraer)


Robert Pine

Everett Collection and Monica Schipper/Getty Images

You might recognize Pine’s famous son, Chris Pine. Before Chris got his start, Robert led the way. He worked consistently in the ’60s and ’70s in shows such as The Lucy Show, The Virginian, Bonanza, Gunsmoke and Charlie’s Angels. He also appeared in several soap operas including Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, All My Children and The Young and the Restless. One of his more recent roles was in the show 9-1-1: Lone Star and he has appeared in over 400 TV episodes during his long career.

Paul Linke (Officer Artie Grossman)


Paul Linke

Everett Collection and David Livingston/Getty Images

Linke was perhaps always destined to be a star as his father, Richard O. Linke was Andy Griffith‘s manager. He started in smaller movies and eventually was cast in shows such as CHiPS, The Waltons, Happy Days and M*A*S*H. After CHiPS, he was seen in shows such as Knots Landing and St. Elsewhere and in recent years has turned to the stage. He co-wrote and directed the play Save it for the Stage: The Life of Reilly and had a one-man show called It’s Time.

Who is your favorite character in CHiPs?

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