Birthday: March 16, 1949
Age: 71 Years, 71 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Pisces
Also Known As: Henry Enrique Estrada, Henry Enrique
Born in: East Harlem
Famous as: Actor
Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Joyce Miller, Nanette Mirkovic, Peggy Rowe
father: Renildo Estrada
mother: Carmen Estrada
children: Anthony Eric Estrada, Brandon Michael-Paul Estrada, Francesca Natalia Estrada, Lyric Alysia Estrada
City: New York City
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: American Musical and Dramatic Academy
Erik Estrada is an American actor best known for his role in the police drama television series ‘CHiPs’. His claim to fame was his portrayal of Frank “Ponch” Poncherello in the television drama which made him one of the most popular television stars in America in the late 1970s and early 1980s. After having captured the hearts of millions with this role, he went on to star in numerous other popular television programs and motion pictures. Born into a family of Puerto Rican descent in the US, he was raised in the Spanish Harlem neighborhood of New York City. His childhood was difficult as his parents split up when he was just a toddler and he rarely had any contact with his father. As a teenager, he became interested in the show business and realized that he possessed a natural flair for acting. He became active in his high school Drama Club and studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy following his graduation. He got his big break when he was selected to play a role in the film ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’ which earned him rave reviews. He went on to touch even greater heights of fame when years later he grabbed a major role in the television series ‘CHiPs. As a popular celebrity, he puts his fame to good use and is an active campaigner against drugs.
Childhood & Early Life
Henry Enrique "Erik" Estrada was born on March 16, 1949, to Carmen, a seamstress, and Renildo Estrada, in East Harlem, Manhattan, New York City. He is of Puerto Rican descent.
He parents separated when he was just two and he went to live with his mother, siblings and grandfather. He rarely saw his father after his parents’ breakup though his grandfather tried his best to provide the boy with fatherly guidance.
He had a tough childhood growing up in a neighborhood that was notorious for its gang activities and violence. As a teenager he aspired to become a police officer.
While in high school he enrolled in the Drama Club and it did not take him long to realize that he was naturally gifted with acting skills. He easily landed the lead roles in the school plays and decided to pursue a career as an actor.
He studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy following his high school graduation.
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Erik Estrada received his first big break when actor cum director Don Murray selected him to play Nicky, a gang leader, in the film adaptation of the book ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’ in 1970. The film garnered much attention because of its powerful anti-drug and life-changing message, and earned Estrada positive reviews from critics.
In 1972, he got the chance to play a rookie officer in the film ‘The New Centurions’. The film marked his first role as a cop, one that he would reprise in several of his future films and television shows. Over the next few years he appeared in films such as ‘Airport’ (1975), ‘Trackdown’ (1976), and ‘Midway’ (1976).
Handsome and talented, he soon won the hearts of his audience and garnered a huge fan following. During the 1970s he also made many guest appearances in television shows such as ‘Medical Center’, ‘Hawaii Five-O’, and ‘Baretta’.
The year 1977 was a very eventful year for him as he grabbed the role of the macho police officer Frank Llewellyn "Ponch" Poncherello in the television drama ‘CHiPs’, which followed the lives of two motorcycle police officers of the California Highway Patrol. Actor Larry Wilcox portrayed his straitlaced partner, Officer Jonathan "Jon" Baker.
The show became an immediate success with the audiences and soon Estrada was catapulted to international stardom, winning admiration for his brooding good looks, muscular body, and on-screen exploits. The much loved series ran for 139 episodes over six seasons, ending in May 1983.
After the show’s ending, he went on to appear in a series of other roles, but could not repeat the success he had enjoyed in ‘CHiPs’. In the late 1980s he acted in several low-budget films in mostly forgettable roles. He returned to television in a three-part episode of the police drama ‘Hunter’ in 1987.
His fortunes changed for the better in the 1990s when he was approached with the role of Johnny in the television series ‘Two Women, One Road’ (Dos mujeres, un camino). He took 30 days of Berlitz Spanish lessons to prepare for this role. His hard work paid off and the series became a resounding success, running for over 400 episodes.
Estrada is also a voice actor and had lent his voice to several cartoon shows for children. He parodied himself in the Cartoon Network show ‘Sealab 2021’ for which he did voiceovers. He also did a voiceover for the show ‘Space Ghost: Coast to Coast’.
In recent years he has appeared in a number of reality television shows, including the short-lived CBS reality show, ‘Armed & Famous’. He began co-hosting a weekly series, ‘The World's Funniest Moments’ with Laura McKenzie in 2010 and starred in the film ‘Finding Faith’ in 2013.
Erik Estrada is best known for his role as Frank Llewellyn "Ponch" Poncherello in the television drama series ‘CHiPs’ in which he played a motorcycle police officer of the California Highway Patrol. The show became highly popular and ran for six seasons, establishing Estrada as a highly marketable and famous television star.
Awards & Achievements
Estrada was voted one of "The 10 Sexiest Bachelors in the World" by ‘People’ magazine and was featured on the cover of the November issue in 1979.
Personal Life & Legacy
His first marriage was to Joyce Miller in 1979. It was however very short-lived and ended in divorce after a few months in 1980.
He tied the knot with Peggy Lynn Rowe, an entertainment executive, songwriter, and producer, in 1985. The couple had two sons before divorcing in 1990.
Erik Estrada is currently married to sound technician Nanette Mirkovich whom he wed in 1997. They have one daughter.
He is also active in campaigning for social causes close to his heart and was named the international "Face" of D.A.R.E. which is a campaign against drugs in 2000. In addition, he speaks out for the American Heart Association and the United Way, and also supports automobile child-seat safety checks across the country.
As of 2015, Erik Estrada has an estimated net worth of $2 million.