starred in Torch Song Trilogy, a play that launched several
acting careers, including that of Golden Girls star Estelle
Haskell, Nathan Forbes
in: 168 episodes
episode: # 2, June 28, 1966
episode: # 666, January 13, 1969
Cincinnati, Ohio; January 28, 1941
November 6, 1985., AIDS-related complications
one of his Broadway Playbill listings, Joel's start as an
actor was explained: "Joel's introduction to television came
about as a practical joke. His father was supervising the program
Lamp Unto My Feet, and without his knowing, his son auditioned
under an assumed name and won a part."
called Lamp Unto My Feet, a "perennial showcase for
experimental drama, often with remarkable results." The show
featured stories with religious overtones, and ran on CBS, weekly,
for 30 years.
1953, 12-year-old Joel made his Broadway debut as Teddie in The
Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, starring Burgess (Batman's
Penguin) Meredith as his father.
the late 1950s and early '60s, Joel appeared in a number of TV series,
including: Goodyear Theatre, Studio One, Kraft Theatre, Armstrong
Circle Theatre, Have Gun Will Travel, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Defenders.
graduated Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard in 1962.
great reviews, the handsome young actor toured as newlywed Paul
Bratter in Barefoot in the Park in late 1965. Critic Sid
Benjamin of The Scranton Times said Crothers "has learned
his acting lessons well. He handles a big portion of the laugh lines
with expert timing, in a long and demanding assignment."
Dallas Sun-Times critic wrote, "Joel Crothers is everything
a young leading man should be." Crothers assumed the leading
role on Broadway in August 1966. His leading lady was a very young
Joan Van Ark, who years later would find soapy success as Valene
Ewing in Knots Landing from 1979 to '92.
a while, Joel was pulling double duty: Earlier in 1966 he had joined
the cast of the TV soap opera Dark Shadows as fisherman Joe
Haskell. He remained on Dark Shadows until 1969, when he
moved to The Secret Storm, another soap, where he played
Ken Stevens until 1971. From 1972 to 1976, he was Julian Cannell
on Somerset. And from 1977 to 1984, Joel played Dr. Miles
Cavanaugh on The Edge of Night
soap opera fame helped draw attention to the ground-breaking Off
Broadway play Torch Song Trilogy. The play made major stars
of its writer (and lead performer) Harvey Fierstein and castmates
Estelle Getty and Matthew Broderick -- but when it premiered, Joel
was better known than any of them, so he received star billing on
posters, playbills, and even the tickets -- plus his photo appeared in local newspapers including the Village Voice (pictured above). Harvey played Arnold,
a world-weary, homosexual drag queen; Joel played Arnold's bisexual
lover, Ed. Though Joel was gay, a fact he chose to share with his
friends and coworkers, he remained in the closet publicly. Joel
left the cast when Torch Song transferred to Broadway.
physical resemblance to another hunky TV star, Tom Selleck (Magnum
PI) , was noticed by Daily News columnist Liz Smith.
In her January 30, 1981, column, she ran side-by-side photos of
Crothers and Selleck, noting that they looked so much alike they
could be brothers. "I suggest somebody rustle up a story about
two brothers, or two guys who look too much alike, as a feature
movie for (them)," she wrote. Nobody did.
final soap role was on Santa Barbara in 1985. He died of
complications for AIDS on November 6, 1985.
Barbara (J. Stanfield Lee, 1985), Edge of Night (Miles Cavanaugh,
1977-84), Somerset (Julian Cannell, 1972-76), Secret Storm
(Ken Stevens, 1969-71). Family Feud, Look Up and Live, Lamp
Unto My Feet.
TV: Goodyear Theatre, Studio One (1958), Kraft Theatre,
Armstrong Circle Theatre, Have Gun Will Travel, The Many Loves
of Dobie Gillis, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Zane Grey Theatre,
Bachelor Father, Rescue 8, Channing, The New Breed, The Defenders
COMMERCIALS: Lowenbrau Beer (1978), Blue Ribbon Beer,
Senchal, Olympia Gold, Viceroy Cigarettes, Polaroid.
The Office Murders (Howard), Kings Child (1973), Edna
St. Vincent Millay's Aria de Cabo (1973), A Strange Interlude,
Easter, Torch Song Trilogy (Off Broadway).
Take Her, She's Mine (1964).
Barefoot in the Park (Paul Bratter, 1973), The Remarkable
Mr. Pennypacker, A Case of Libel.
Joel also performed his own cabaret show in New York in the
starring on The Edge of Night, Joel Crothers competed
on the game show Family Feud.