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Michael Des Barres (1948)

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  Summary  

Lord Michael Philip Des Barres is a British actor and rock singer. He is known for playing the recurring role of Murdoc on the television show MacGyver and for replacing the late Robert Palmer in the band Power Station, fronting the band at the 1985 Live Aid concert. He is also the ex-husband of groupie, actress and author Pamela Des Barres and is written about extensively in two of her books, I'm With The Band and Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart.

  Biography  

 Personal life
The only child of Marquis Philip and Marchioness Irene Des Barres, Michael Des Barres grew up in Surrey and attended a boarding school. He later attended the Corona Academy drama school in London and appeared in several plays. Married in England, he divorced his first wife after meeting Pamela in 1974. He married Pamela on 29 October 1977; the couple was divorced in 1991, remaining friends. Their son, Nicholas Dean Des Barres, was a contributor to the video game magazine GameFan, writing many of his articles under the pseudonym "Nick Rox". He also designed the Resident Evil movie poster, and is currently a Game Writer at video game developer PlatinumGames.

A heavy alcohol and drug abuser during the 1970s, Des Barres has been sober since June 1981. He did volunteer addiction counseling and works with homeless teens. In 2006 he formed a new 10-piece soul band called the Michael Des Barres and Free Love Foundation, which disbanded in 2008. He is currently working on a new music project, Zodiax, with the first song "Circus of Love" being made available on his Myspace page. Des Barres has also organized and hosted the annual Don't Knock the Rock Film Festival, which first took place in 2003.

 Music
Des Barres formed his first teenage band The Orange Illusion with Nicholas Young, Darryl Read and Kit Williams, whilst they were all attending Corona Academy Stage School studying to be actors. The line up; despite being broken up by the school's agent Hazel Malone, all went on to do greater things individually. Des Barres then formed Silverhead in England in 1972. They recorded two albums and toured the US, Europe and Japan, before disbanding in 1974.

After relocating to Los Angeles, he formed the band Detective in 1975. They recorded two albums that were released on Led Zeppelin's Swan Song Records label, before breaking up in 1978.

A solo album, I'm Only Human, followed in 1980, with a solo tour of the US and UK. The album was recorded on Dreamland Records and produced by Mike Chapman (composer of "Mickey" and producer of "My Sharona"). His musicians at this time were the session band Zoo Drive featuring John Goodsall , Paul Delph , Doug Lunn , and Ric Parnell . On the recording and in significant gigs Nigel Harrison replaced Doug Lunn on bass.

He was part of the band Chequered Past from 1982 to 1985, which included Steve Jones from Sex Pistols, Clem Burke and Nigel Harrison from Blondie, keyboard player Nick Sykes and Tony Sales of Todd Rundgren ('Runt) and Tin Machine fame.

In 1983 he wrote and recorded the song "Obsession" together with Holly Knight, which later became a #6 Billboard Top 40 hit when covered by Animotion in 1985.

Des Barres met the members of Duran Duran when Chequered Past opened for a few shows during their 1984 tour. In 1985, when Robert Palmer withdrew from the Duran Duran side project Power Station just before their American summer tour, Des Barres was chosen to take his place as lead vocalist. He performed live with them for several months before they disbanded, including a set broadcast to millions at the 1985 Live Aid charity concert in Philadelphia. Des Barres' friendship with actor Don Johnson got Power Station a guest appearance on Johnson's TV show Miami Vice. He wrote one song with the band, "We Fight For Love" which appears on the soundtrack to the movie Commando.

He released a second solo album called Somebody Up There Likes Me in 1986, which featured contributions by former bandmates Steve Jones and Andy Taylor .

 Acting
Des Barres has had a diverse and prolific acting career, having appeared in one or two movies every year, as well as dozens of television appearances. His first movie role was as a supporting cast member in the classic 1967 film To Sir, with Love playing an East End student who always wears dark sunglasses indoors and out, followed by a few other minor roles before he decided to pursue a career in music instead. After 1986, he concentrated his energies on acting again and was quickly cast in Nightflyers as a charismatic empath. In 1989 he played along with Clint Eastwood in the movie Pink Cadillac. His lead movie roles have been in Midnight Cabaret, Poison Ivy: The New Seduction, and Sugar Town. He also appeared in the 2004 movie Catch That Kid.

On television, besides the role of Murdoc in MacGyver, Des Barres was also a lead cast member of The New WKRP in Cincinnati during the 1991-92 season as part of a husband-and-wife morning team. He had previously appeared on the original WKRP in Cincinnati as the lead singer of a punk band, Scum of the Earth. During this same time, he played a gay man (Leon's boyfriend) in two episodes of Roseanne. He also played one of Darlene's baby's doctors on one of the final episodes of the series. Some of his dozens of television appearances include Seinfeld, Renegade, ALF, Ellen, Nip/Tuck, Just Shoot Me!, Hart To Hart, My Sister Sam, Lois & Clark (which reunited him with another MacGyver recurring-character alumnus, Teri Hatcher; the two had even appeared together in two MacGyver episodes), JAG, Melrose Place, Nash Bridges, Northern Exposure, Rockford Files, Sledge Hammer!, Sliders, St. Elsewhere, 21 Jump Street, The Pretender, Dead Like Me, Frasier, Hawaii and Bones. He also played a role as an eccentric record producer in Four Kings. He has also done voice work for several animated television series.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Michael Des Barres", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.