• Golden Globe Awards

Tomorrow’s Stars Yesterday: Rick Schroder, 1980

Between 1948 and 1983 Golden Globes were awarded in a special category of “New Star of the Year” conceived to recognize young actors making a mark in their early roles. In this series, the HFPA’s Phil Berk highlights those that would follow their auspicious starts with distinguished careers.
Rick Schroder holds the distinction of being the youngest actor to win the Golden Globe as New Star of the Year; there were two other young actresses who won, but they were both in their teens. Ricky, as he was then known, was only nine years old when he won that award, and after that auspicious debut, he maintained an acting career for 40 years.
Three years later he became a household name when he played the lead in the TV series Silver Spoons which had a successful four-year run on NBC. As he matured, he achieved leading actor status preferring to be known as Rick in the classic mini-series Lonesome Doveand later in NYPD Blue, another long-running hit show.
Because of his cute looks, by the time he was six he had already appeared in 60 advertisements, but it was Franco Zeffirelli who discovered his acting talent. Following his success in The Champ, in which Jon Voight, our New Star of the Year ten years earlier, played his father, he was signed by Disney for Elliott Gould’s The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark then had a more substantial role in William Holden’s The Earthling, during the filming of which the two of them bonded; they remained close, and in fact, one of Rick’s children is named after Holden.
He got strong notices for playing the title role in the TV film Little Lord Fauntleroy, where he was actually billed above Sir Alec Guinness. Incidentally, all three projects were completed in one year, 1980. After that, he starred in successive TV films and even appeared as himself as a celebrity in Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose. But it was his role as Ricky Stratton in Silver Spoons that won the hearts of America. His costar Alfonso Ribeiro who played his best friend in the series is still a close friend. The show spawned a number of future stars including Jason Bateman.
After the show ended, he got excellent reviews for playing a real-life 12-year-old in Too Young the Hero, who looks much older than he was and received a Purple Heart for his bravery. As a result, he was invited to join an all-star cast which included Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, and Diane Lane in Lonesome Dove, which became the highest-rated TV film up until that time and won the Golden Globe for Best Miniseries and one for Duvall as Best Actor in a Miniseries.
Now in his twenties but still a teen idol, he changed his billing name to Rick and appeared in a number of TV movies, the best of them, A Son’s Promise, earned him high praise. After that, he co-starred with Brad Pitt in Across the Tracks and was the star of The Stranger WithinThere were more TV movies and in one, My Son Johnny, he reverted to being billed as Ricky when playing Michele Lee’s physically abused son. He went on to play Michele’s husband James Farentino’s son in Miles from Nowhere, but then suffered the worst reviews of his career for an ill-conceived TV movie of Jack London’s Call of the Wild. He then starred in the sequel Return to Lonesome Dove, working not with the original cast members, but with his Champ costar Jon Voight. More TV movies followed, and a supporting role in the TV version of James Michener’s novel Texas earned him strong reviews. He had a notable supporting role in Tony Scott’s Crimson Tide, but Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington got the good notices. He made the decision to return to weekly television as an adult, in Steven Bochco’s classic NYPD Blue, which gave him a recurring role, and which went on to win four Golden Globes as Best TV Series including one in its first year. For that decision, he was rewarded with a nomination as Best Actor in a Drama Series by the Screen actors Guild.
After he left the show he starred in a superb war film, The Lost Battalion, which won a Christopher Award and a decent comedy, Poolhall Junkies, but after that, he was reduced to accepting minor recurring roles in hit series like, Scrubs, Cougar Townand24. He has since ventured back into feature films with starring roles in Face of Terror and