Joel starred in Torch Song Trilogy, a play that launched several acting careers, including that of Golden Girls star Estelle Getty.

See also:
Joel posed for a sexy pajama shot for a soap magazine.

A web tribute to Joel
(not affiliated with Dark Shadows Online)

Joel Crothers
Dark Shadows Characters: Joe Haskell, Nathan Forbes

Appeared in: 168 episodes

First episode: # 2, June 28, 1966

Last episode: # 666, January 13, 1969

Born: Cincinnati, Ohio; January 28, 1941

Died: November 6, 1985., AIDS-related complications

In 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."

Variety 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.

In 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.

In 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.

Joel graduated Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard in 1962.

Gathering 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."

The 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.

For 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

Joel's 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.

Joel's 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.

Joel's final soap role was on Santa Barbara in 1985. He died of complications for AIDS on November 6, 1985.

Career Highlights

DAYTIME TV: Santa 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.

PRIMETIME 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 (1965).

TV COMMERCIALS: Lowenbrau Beer (1978), Blue Ribbon Beer, Senchal, Olympia Gold, Viceroy Cigarettes, Polaroid.

THEATER: 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).

TOUR: Take Her, She's Mine (1964).

BROADWAY: Barefoot in the Park (Paul Bratter, 1973), The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, A Case of Libel.

MISC: Joel also performed his own cabaret show in New York in the 80's.

While starring on The Edge of Night, Joel Crothers competed on the game show Family Feud.



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