American actor Willie Aames, born Albert William Upton, spent his youth working steadily on television and occasionally in low-budget foreign and domestic features. He first began making guest appearances on television in 1969. In 1975, he was cast in Irwin Allen's short-lived adventure series The Swiss Family Robinson. One of his co-stars was a young Helen Hunt. By this time, he had also appeared in a few television movies, including Unwed Father (1974). In 1977, Aames began a long stint in one of his best-known roles, that of rebellious teen Tommy Bradford in the popular domestic comedy/drama Eight Is Enough. With his mop of dark blonde hair, slim physique, and handsome face, Aames became a popular teen idol. In 1979, Aames made his feature-film debut in Scavenger Hunt. When Eight Is Enough was finally canceled in 1981, Aames went on to appear in a couple more films, including Zapped (1982), before returning to series television in the role for which he may be best remembered, as Scott Baio's irresponsible foil in the sitcom Charles in Charge (1984-1990). Through this period he continued to show up in movies. Through much of the '80s, Aames battled with cocaine and depression and became notorious in Hollywood for his erratic behavior. By the time Charles was canceled in 1990, he had cleaned up his act, become a born-again Christian, married for the second time, and in 1991, decided to move to Kansas City where he became a producer and director of videos and commercials. In the mid-'90s, he began starring as an evangelical superhero in the Bibleman series of youth-oriented musical videos.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Has been acting since age 7, when his teacher at Eader School in Huntington Beach, CA suggested he audition for commercials. He landed his first commercial three weeks later.
- In 1978 he formed the band Willie Aames and Paradise with childhood friends. They signed a recording contract with CBS Custom Label and released the single "You're the Only One I Ever Need," in 1979.
- From 1995 to 2004, he starred in a video series and in annual touring performances as the Christian superhero Bibleman.
- Lost 19lbs on Celebrity Fit Club in 2005.
- In 2007, he authored the book Grace is Enough with then-wife Maylo McCaslin.
- In 2010, he became a cruise director for Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises.