Actor, television director and singer, James Darren is perhaps best known as the actor who played Moondoggie in the original Gidget movies opposite Sandra Dee and later Deborah Wally. James has enjoyed a successful multi-faceted career, spanning five decades of motion picture, television, recording and live concert productions.
Born in South Philly as James Ercolani, a second-generation American of Italian descent, James knew he wanted a show business career and embarked on the road to stardom by singing in nightclubs in Philadelphia and South Jersey.
A chance introduction to Hollywood movie producer Joyce Selznick led to a seven-year contract with Columbia Pictures and his first big break, a starring role as Moondoggie, a college student-surfer opposite Sandra Dee in the 1959 classic comedy hit, Gidget. Two sequels would follow, and James was soon on Hollywood's short list of most sought after-after young dramatic actors. He would make 20 films in all, including The Guns of Navarone, The Lively Set, The Gene Krupa Story, The Brothers Rico, and Gunman's Walk.
His singing career encompasses an impressive roster of musical credits including 14 albums and five Top 10 singles, including the 1961 Grammy-nominated Goodbye Cruel World, which held the #1 spot on the Billboard charts for six weeks. Throughout the early 60's, his recording career continued to skyrocket with subsequent Top 10 hits including Her Royal Majesty, Conscience and All. In 1976, he landed still another hit with You Take My Breath Away from the Oscar-winning film, Rocky.
James also made his mark on the small screen, starring in several hit television series, including The Time Tunnel, T.J. Hooker, Vic Fontaine in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Melrose Place. In 1987, the versatile entertainer began another phase of his career, this time as a highly in-demand director for television whose credits include several movies of the week, and more than 50 television shows ranging from Beverly Hills 90210 to Hunter, to Walker, Texas Ranger.
But it is James Darren's love of music that finds him back in the spotlight. In 1999, he returned to the recording industry in a big way, releasing This One's From the Heart, a collection of some of the greatest classics ever penned, including The Way You Look Tonight, Come Fly With Me and I've Got you Under My Skin.
Because of You, his latest CD has been classified as one of the best albums and very deserving of a Grammy nomination. Once again James celebrates the Great American Songbook breathing new life and new sensibilities into 14 pop and jazz standards such as Just One of Those Things .
A Swingin' Night With James Darren features those unforgettable standards, songs from the movie Gidget (There's No Such Thing As The Next Best Thing To Love) and cleverly assembled clips from his film and television career.