TV HOST WEEKLY April 15-21, 1989
Perhaps the creation of MTV whetted the appetites of musicians to cross over to acting. Several chart-toppers have traded singing for speaking to appear on both the big and small screen: Deborah Harry, Glenn Frey and Mick Fleetwood (Wiseguy), KISS' Gene Simmons (Wanted: Dead Or Alive), Sheena Easton (Miami Vice), and Phil Collins (Buster).
One of the most recent to cross over is four-time Grammy Award-winner Pat Benatar, who opted for an ABC Afterschool Special for her acting debut.
The feature is Tom Between Two Fathers. Benatar plays the stepmother in this drama, which centers on a teenager (Elizabeth Bliss) who takes the extraordinary step of suing her own natural father (Carl Weintraub) for custody rights after the sudden death of her mother (Susan Blakely). He has insisted that she move in with him and her stepmother, refusing to allow her to continue living with her hearing-impaired stepdad (Richard Kendall).
This newest enterprise of Benatar's could possibly be another affirmation of her refusal to be stereotyped in the "good girl/ bad girl" female musician trap. "When I first started performing," she says, "there were no female role models in rock to look to. I made it up as I went along. All I ever wanted was to be the guitar player, but I didn't want to neuter myself in the process either."
The rock legend began paving the way for other female rockers when her vocals ripped through the airwaves in 1979 with "Heartbreaker," from her debut LP In The Heart Of The Night. With the bands co-founders, musician (and future husband) Neil Geraldo and drummer Myron Grombacher in tow, her legions of fans only continued to increase, earning her a quadruple-platinum winner with 1980's Ctimes of Passion and double-platinum sales on 1981's Precious Time. Other albums - Get Nervous, Live From Earth, Tropico and Seven The Hard Way - all went platinum. Pat's latest LP is 1988's Wide Awake In Dreamland, which has so far spawned the hit single "All Fired Up."
Torn Between Two Fathers airs Thursday, April 20 (4-5 pm) on ABC-TV.