Birth Date: September 28, 1943 / Age: 74
Birth Place: Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Biography: Joel Franklin Higgins (born September 28, 1943 in Bloomington, Illinois) is an American actor and singer with a stage career spanning over 30 years. A graduate of Michigan State University, Higgins initially performed in coffee houses to help pay his way through school. After leaving with a degree in advertising and working for six months for General Motors, Higgins went to Europe to perform.
In 1968 he enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed at Camp Casey in Korea, serving as the Special Services Sergeant in charge of Entertainment. Following his Army days, he and several friends wrote a musical called The Green Apple Nasties. After leaving the Army, he sold the show to a producer and went on the road for two and a half years. During a performance in Louisville, Kentucky, Higgins was approached by a producer who asked him to play Sky Masterson in a local theater production of Guys and Dolls. He went on a 17-week tour of the Midwest in the role.
In 1973 Higgins landed the role of Vince in the first national tour of Grease, where he stayed for a year before leaving to join the pre-Broadway tryout of a new musical called Shenandoah. In 1975, he won the Theatre World Award for his role in the Broadway version of Shenandoah. In the same year, he began the role Bruce Carson in the CBS soap opera Search For Tomorrow.
1979 took him from daytime to primetime with a starring role in the short-lived television series Salvage 1 with Andy Griffith. Best of the West featured Higgins as United States Marshal Sam Best who, after returning from fighting in the American Civil War, uproots his family and moves them out West. ABC cancelled the show after the first season. During the late 70s and early 80s he also appeared in several movies, including Bare Essence, Threesome, First Affair, and Killing At Hell's Gate. He also continued to perform on stage in the musicals She Loves Me, Oklahoma!, Music Is, and Camp Meeting, as well as writing jingles for Kool-Aid, M&Ms, and the theme song for Lucille Ball's comeback series Life With Lucy.
In 1982, Embassy Television and NBC created the TV series Silver Spoons. Higgins played Edward W. Stratton III, the childlike son of one of the country's richest industrialists. In the show's opening he learned he has a twelve-year-old son, the product of his first marriage (lasting all of seven days). Higgins was the only member of the cast familiar with doing comedy and took each of the others under his wing to teach them what he knew. His character went from a childish playboy to a responsible father and husband but still maintained a touch of that little boy charm.
Higgins most recently appeared in Dead Canaries, in 2003, a crime drama featured at the 2004 Bahamas International Film Festival.