Fave - April 1971
The New Bobby Sherman
There's a question people often ask about celebrities and movie stars that gives away the fact that they have a very peculiar point of view about the people whose films they see and whose records they flock to buy. The question is: "what's he really like?" It's a peculiar question because it means that the star's fans don't really believe that he's anything at all like the person he's pretending to be!
This curiosity probably comes from the fact that most people find it difficult to believe that anybody could go through all the changes that happen to somebody who becomes a star without completely losing touch with himself!
The fame, the crowds and bright lights, the love from fans, the eager autograph hounds, the fan magazine covers with his face on them, the millions of letters, the gold records, all the things that go with being a star are so spectacular, so unbelievable that it's hard to imagine that anybody could go through it all without being completely changed!
And, in fact, it's true that Hollywood is filled with stars and near-stars who have one face for the public and one face for the people who work with them, or know them "behind the scenes." Show business is full of stories about people who use their fan's love like Kleenex and throw it away when they're done! There are even stars who laugh at their fans! One famous rock and roll singer entertains friends at his parties by reading all the fan letters which ask him for help of one kind or another!
FAME CAN BRING TRAGEDY! - And then there are the others, the people who are tragically affected by stardom. These poor people are handed everything they ever thought they wanted, only to find that it didn't really matter to them at all! These lost souls lead sad, short lives before they either drop from sight or even - in some cases - put an end to their miseries.
In fact, there aren't many people who become stars who don't change pretty drastically! The pressures and rewards are just too big, and the way other people treat someone who's a star is just nothing at all like they treat everybody else! And, you know, everybody gets a large part of his picture of himself from other people, so it's pretty hard to resist believing just a little of it when all of a sudden everybody starts treating you like you're the newly crowned king or something!
For a long time now, people in Hollywood have been pointing at Bobby Sherman and wondering out loud when it was going to get to him! There were people who loved him, who looked on him with pride, as proof that someone can go through all the things connected with stardom and still remain a nice, natural, unspoiled person, and there were those who maliciously counted off the time and said "Just wait...it'll happen!"
Of course, for most of that time, Bobby was playing "Jeremy" on Here Come the Brides, and the part seemed handmade for him. The shy young man who appeared on millions of television screens every week had quite a bit in common with the young man who played him - a not-terribly secure performer who had suffered the pain of sudden rejection by the fans who (he had thought) would always love him forever. Jeremy's sensitive eyes, quiet and shy, as if always afraid of rejection were the real eyes of Bobby Sherman, a young man who knew what sadness really meant!
AN OVERNIGHT CHANGE! - But, of course, all that changed, and practically overnight Here Come the Brides made Bobby the biggest star in America, and a series of almost-instant million-selling records put him into a class by himself! His fan mail went from a trickle to a stream, to a steady pour of literally thousands of letters each week.
His face, those deep blue eyes, began to peer out of the covers of magazines with greater and greater frequency. He made triumphant concert tours. He was mobbed all over the country, in Japan, and even at Disneyland! There was no way to doubt it: Bobby was the biggest!
And so the eyes began to follow him everywhere, the envious eyes and the eyes of well-wishers who didn't want him to lose his precious, loving approach to life. And for a long time, these silent friends were rewarded: Bobby stayed the same. Kind, thoughtful, giving, gracious, truthful - all these things still shone out through Bobby's shy, soft eyes. He still seemed to be Jeremy.
But the people closest to him began to see changes taking place. They crossed their fingers, and held their breaths, and hoped - but there was no stopping it. A little at a time, a new Bobby was emerging!
He wasn't quite so shy. When he had something to say, something he believed, he spoke up, and he spoke like someone who expects to be listened to! He began to acquire the material things that always go with stardom - a fabulous wardrobe, not one but two expensive cars...the envious people watched, too, and now they were the ones who had their fingers crossed!
HE WON'T PLAY "STAR!" - But there it stopped. Bobby is too wise, too familiar with the fickleness of fame, to fall for the old game of playing "star." Besides, he hasn't really got it in him! He's basically too loving a person to ever seal himself off the way a person has to if he's going to surround himself with a wall-to-wall ego!
But he has changed. He's got more self-assurance, more natural confidence. His grin comes more frequently and more spontaneously, and he does love his Porsche and his Rolls! In fact, in a lot of ways, he's much more a man of the world than the old Bobby ever was, and how could he help it? He's been practically everywhere, and when you've stayed up all night long before your sleep was driven away by the chants of three thousand fans who gathered all night in the street sixteen floors below your hotel room, it's pretty hard not to change just a little!
And when it came time to talk about a new television series for Bobby, this had to be taken into account. At first, with the lack of imagination which so many grey-flannel TV executives seem to think of as their main qualification for their job, everybody was talking about casting Bobby in another part "just like Jeremy!" After all, they reasoned, it worked once and it'll probably work again.
THE REAL BOBBY -
It probably would have, too. At this point in Bobby's career, he could probably play the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and two-thirds of the country would sprain their wrists twisting the channel knob to watch! But he's more honest than that, and he put his foot down - something the old Bobby would never have done! He wanted his fans to see the real Bobby Sherman, not some middle-aged executive's lame idea of what Bobby should be!
At first, the television men thought they could get around him, but as soon as he made it clear that he would either do the series he wanted to give his fans or he wouldn't do any series at all, they straightened right up. And so, next season will feature a show starring Bobby and, in a lot of ways, about Bobby!
But not the old Bobby. In his new show, he plays a young songwriter and singer, living here in Hollywood, working to make it in the music business. Of course, it 's not too hard to see where most of the ideas came from! Bobby is a songwriter, and the music business is his first love. He does live in Hollywood, and so forth and so on. In fact, almost the only thing that isn't like the new Bobby is the fact that the character isn't a star - yet!
NEW CONFIDENCE - Bobby's new confidence, his easy charm and the contagious grin which so often lights up his face these days, will all be on view, too. The new character is much more sophisticated than Jeremy ever thought of being, at home in all kinds of crowds, and a lot more outgoing! He can get into situations that Jeremy would blush and stammer just to think about! And, while Jeremy wasn't exactly lightning with the girls, Bobby's new character, like the new Bobby himself, loves them, and there are always plenty around!
So, if you've been worried about how Bobby has been taking stardom - if you've been wondering what Bobby Sherman is really like - here's chance to find out! With his usual honesty, Bobby has refused to have anything to do with any phony "image," and he's presenting himself to his fans as he truly is.
He's a young man who has grown up a great deal in the past two years, and who is much more sophisticated and self-assured than ever before in his life, but he is also a warm, human, loving person who realizes exactly how much he owes to his fans and always puts their interests first! In many ways, Bobby's new television series is his gift to you, and it's as honest a gift as he knows how to give.
And the "new" Bobby is very honest indeed!