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A Special Edition

December 24, 1989|C ompiled by Pat H. Broeske, Stacy Jenel Smith and John M. Wilson

LENNY VON DOHLEN: "You can't get much better than 'Tender Mercies,' " said Von Dohlen, who made his screen debut in the 1983 film as the wide-eyed leader of a youthful group of musicians. Then came "Electric Dreams" (1984), in which he starred. He's made only two films since: "Billy Galvin" (1988) and "Dracula's Widow" (1988), the latter "one that you do to pay the rent."

A New Yorker, aged 30, he's racked up extensive stage credits, and done some episodic TV. Next up: a one-man show, in which he'd play Russian poet Mayakovsky, with "several theaters interested."

His goal: "A career with longevity."

DENNIS CHRISTOPHER: Looking back on his "ride aboard the famemobile" after grabbing attention as the lead in "Breaking Away" (1979), Christopher reflected that he "probably didn't have the emotional maturity to handle it. . . ."

Despite solid film, TV and theater credits, the offers slowed down by the mid-'80s. He turned to working in foreign and avant-garde films and doing legit theater work. This year, he completed two independent features for upcoming release--"Circuitry Man" and "Dead Women in Lingerie"--and "Remember Me," a radio play set for KCRW airing in March.

He thinks his career downswing may be a blessing, "because I've grown as a person and as an actor."

BESS ARMSTRONG: After getting her start in the 1977-78 CBS sitcom "On Our Own," Armstrong made a splash in features--"The Four Seasons" (1981) and "High Road to China" (1983). She also starred in ABC's 1985 miniseries "Lace" and appeared in several TV movies and a short-lived 1986 NBC sitcom, "All Is Forgiven." But her career appeared to inexplicably fade in recent years.

One reason was the birth and short life of a severely disabled daughter for Armstrong and her producer-husband, John Fiedler. They have since become the parents of a "healthy and darling" 2-year-old boy, Armstrong's publicist said, and the actress is in negotiations to star in a possible network series.

KLINTON SPILSBURY: Spilsbury rode off into the sunset after playing the masked man in the widely panned "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" (1981), but returned to L.A. six months ago and has "some things in the works."

Spilsbury--whose voice was dubbed in about half the film--later married and went to Europe, where he modeled and did some TV commercials. After four years of marriage, his actress-wife Lisa Shure died from complications of diabetes. "I did some soul searching after that--and traveling. I decided to live life to the hilt."

Now 38, he's been working as a free-lance photographer, waiter, "even at a Subway sandwich place." He's recently signed with a commercial agent and is currently seeking theatrical representation. "There's been some interest--but not all that great."

VALERIE PERRINE: She emerged in "Slaughterhouse Five" (1972), then took off with "Lenny" (1974). But six years ago, after a string of bombs--and diminishing offers--Perrine moved to London to pursue a love affair with an investment banker. She returned to L.A. part-time in 1986, attempting a comeback with CBS's short-lived sitcom "Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills" (1986) and a role in the feature, "Maid to Order" (1987).

Returning full-time to the States last January, she was featured in NBC's version of "Sweet Bird of Youth" and appeared in the low-budget "Mask of Murder."

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