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Erik Estrada: 1949—: Actor

Won Over New Generation

On the strength of his newfound popularity with Latino audiences, Estrada in the late 1990s mounted an effort to recapture the hearts of American audiences. In the last half of the decade he won roles in numerous films and made-for-TV movies, guest starred in a wide range of television series, and made the rounds of the talk shows. He played key roles in Visions and Panic in the Skies!, feature films which were released in 1996, and Tom Sawyer in 1998. He also showed up as a guest on such popular TV shows as Baywatch, Martin, Pauly, Diagnosis Murder, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

The late 1990s saw a CHiPs reunion that brought together most of the members of the show's original cast, including Estrada, Larry Wilcox, and Bruce Pen-hall. CHiPs '99, a two-hour made-for-TV movie, first aired on the TNT cable television network on October 27, 1998. It also heralded a revival in interest about the original CHiPs, about which many young viewers in the late 1990s knew nothing. To satisfy the calls for more, TNT's sister station TBS began rebroadcasting episodes of the original series on its early-morning schedule. Of the role that made him a household name, Estrada has this to say on his official website: "I always loved Ponch. It was so much fun for me to be him, to put on his duds, get on that bike, and bust the bad guys, help out the kids, and to get the babes."

Selected works


The Cross and the Switchblade, 1972.

Airport 1975, 1974.

Trackdown, 1976.

The Demon and the Mummy, 1976.

The Line, 1980.

I Love Liberty, 1982.

Il Pentito, 1985.

Hour of the Assassin, 1987.

Caged Fury, 1989.

Twisted Justice, 1990.

The Last Riders, 1991.

The Naked Truth, 1992.

The Final Goal, 1995.

Visions, 1996.

King Cobra, 1999.

Oliver Twisted, 2000.

Van Wilder, 2002.


Fire!, 1977.

CHiPs, 1977-1983.

Honeyboy, 1982.

Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission, 1988.

She Knows Too Much, 1989.

Earth Angel, 1991.

Dos Mujeres, Un Camino, 1993.

Noi Siamo Angeli, 1996.

CHiPs '99, 1998.

The Bold and the Beautiful, 2001.


My Road From Harlem to Hollywood, William Morrow & Co., 1997.



Complete Marquis Who's Who, Marquis Who's Who, 2001.

Estrada, Erik, My Road from Harlem to Hollywood, William Morrow & Co., 1997.


Entertainment Weekly, October 4, 1996; April 25, 1997.

Publishers Weekly, March 10, 1997.


"CHiPs," TV Tome, www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/ShowMainServlet/showid-83 (May 21, 2003).

"CHiPs Online," Adequate, www.adequate.com/CHiPs (May 21, 2003).

"Erik Estrada," Internet Movie Database, ww.imdb.com (June 11, 2003).

"Erik Estrada," Yahoo! Movies, http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hc&id=1800015234&cf=biog&intl=us (May 21, 2003).

Erik Estrada Official Website, www.erikestrada.com (May 21, 2003).

—Don Amerman

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Trevor Edwards Biography - Accepted Wisdom from His Mother to Francisco Franco (1892–1975) BiographyErik Estrada: 1949—: Actor Biography - Grew Up In Spanish Harlem, Won Leading Role In Chips, Won New Popularity With Latinos