Officer Frank "Ponch" Poncherello, "Chips"
Erik Estrada has captured the hearts of millions of fans world-wide as a result of his six year run starring as highway patrol officer Frank Poncherello in the highly successful television series, “CHiP’s”. Also appearing in numerous other television and motion picture roles, the role he most prefers and enjoys is that of a role…
Erik Estrada has captured the hearts of millions of fans world-wide as a result of his six year run starring as highway patrol officer Frank Poncherello in the highly successful television series, “CHiP’s”. Also appearing in numerous other television and motion picture roles, the role he most prefers and enjoys is that of a role model to millions of children throughout the world.
His success is all the more impressive since he was raised in a section of Manhattan’s Upper East Side known as Spanish Harlem. His parents divorced when Erik was only two years old and since then he rarely saw his father. It was his beloved Grandfather who provided him with parental guidance until he passed away.
Assuming the “man of the house” role at age ten was not easy. Erik had to deal with all normal difficulties of growing up, in addition to financial responsibilities at home and encounters with the world of drugs, street gangs and crime that surrounded his life. Through the influence of a family friend, Erik decided at an early age to become a New York City policeman. However, he enrolled in his high school Drama Club to “get close” to a girl he admired and landed the lead role in a play. “I was hooked on acting from that time on. I experienced emotions I had never felt before. I still don’t understand it all – I only know that I need to perform. It must be my way of giving to others, and giving to myself at the same time.”
Erik’s first real acting break came when actor/director Don Murray selected him to star as a streetwise character opposite Pat Boone in the true story, “The Cross and the Switchblade”. The movie is still shown every week at about 500 youth centers across the country because of its powerful anti-drug and life-changing message. Following that film, he was convinced that the role of Sergio, a rookie policeman in “The New Centurions” with George C. Scott was perfect for him, but the producers did not agree. Undaunted, Erik borrowed some relentless persistence he finally landed the part. Important roles soon followed in such classic films as “Airport ’75” (starring Charlton Heston and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), “Midway” (starring Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, and Robert Wagner), and “Trackdown”, as well as guest starring in virtually every top dramatic television series like “Hawaii Five-O”, “Baretta”, and “The Six Million Dollar Man”.
Then came one of the biggest hit shows of the late 70’s early 80’s, “CHiP’s”, and within a short time its popularity made Erik an international household name and the “King of Hunkdom”. His dark good looks and a gym-buffed physique made him known worldwide as a Latin Lover and “PEOPLE” Magazine named him one of the sexiest bachelors alive… Erik’s posters sold by the millions, he was a merchandiser’s dream. His face and likeness were on Toys, lunchboxes, collector-cards, puzzles, mugs, t-shirts, towels, teen magazines and Fan Clubs etc. To this day he receives bundles of fan mail from all over the world where audiences love ‘Ponch’ and families enjoy the wholesome police drama.
During a seasonal “CHiP’s” hiatus he starred and produced the NBC Movie of the week “Honey Boy” for his own production company, the story was a ratings knockout and was about boxing, ambition, betrayal, and forbidden love. Estrada played a young fighter who gets discovered by beautiful Morgan Fairchild. And it isn’t long before Erik’s romantically involved with her. (Once again audiences loved Erik and the movie won critical acclaim). The movie was noted for some of the best fight scenes ever on the screen done by Ron Stein, who did the boxing sequences in “Rocky III” and “Raging Bull”. When “CHiP’s” completed its six year run, Erik took the opportunity to return to his acting roots in New York to star in a successful limited engagement in the off-Broadway production of “True West” at the famed Cherry Lane Theater.
Off-screen he resides in the lovely Hollywood Hills and is the proud father of two sons, Anthony Erik and Brandon Michael-Paul. Erik enjoys running, tennis, golf and daily workouts at the gym. Erik is now happily married to his third wife and the love of his life, Nanette Mirkovich with whom he has abeautiful daughter named Francesca.
In ’99 Estrada and old friend Larry Wilcox returned astride their police motorcycles for a TNT movie reunion of “CHiP’s”. “I always loved Ponch”, Estrada says. “It was so much fun for me to be him, to put on my duds, get on that bike and bust the bad guys, help out the kids, and to get the babes.” In the year 2000, Erik was named the international ‘Face’ of D.A.R.E. which is a campaign against drugs. Erik is devoted to making children see that staying away from drugs is ‘cool’, and that there really can be ‘role models’ for children of all ages. He also became spokesperson for the C.H.P.’s “car seat inspection and installation” program. Erik is promoting child safety seats & key safety tips. He also speaks out for the ‘Heart Association’ and ‘The United Way’. In 2004 Erik starred in the controversial reality series Surreal Life with Tammy Faye, Vanilla Ice & Ron Jeremy, the series was the highest rated VH1 & WB series ever made.
And now you can watch Erik yet again on “ARMED & FAMOUS”. A&F is a new reality series that turns celebrities into crime fighters, following five brave stars through the Police Academy and onto patrol in Muncie, Indiana. ARMED & FAMOUS will premiere on Wednesday, Jan. 10 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) followed by a special original broadcast on Thursday, Jan. 11 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. ARMED & FAMOUS moves to its regular time period, Wednesdays (8:00 – 9:00 PM, ET/PT) on Jan. 17.
As you can see Erik’s busier than ever, and has become one of Hollywood’s most bankable and loved stars.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
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