This child actor became a teen crush in the 1970s as his film career took off – Robby Benson.
Born and raised in Texas, Robin David Segal, started his acting career as a child, and had his first success on Broadway at age 10, when he also chose his stage name, Robby Benson. He starred in two seasons of soap opera Search for Tomorrow, but it was film that became his mainstay.
Starring in the coming of age films Jory, Jeremy and Ode to Billy Joe, Benson became the go to young male actor and was soon chosen as one of the “Promising New Actors of 1976.”
He auditioned for the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, and appeared in Death Be Not Proud and Lucky Lady in 1975. In 1977 he co-starred with Annette O’Toole in One on One and in early 1978 with Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise in The End.
As his name and face were happily making the rounds of the entertainment mags, especially Teen Beat and Tiger Beat, he became cemented in the hearts of young teens across North America for his role in the 1978 film Ice Castles.
Co-starring with Lynn Holly Johnson, Ice Castles was a romantic drama, with Johnson as the injured figure skater who struggles back to her sport, with the help of Benson, who plays her highschool sweetheart and aspiring hockey player. Released on December 31, 1978, this movie became the favourite of all those who love a happy ending – its title song “Through the Eyes of Love” sung by Melissa Manchester toppped the charts.
It was this film that I remember – the young hockey player who helps his figure skating girlfriend rebuild her confidence – one of those sappy movies I saw years later on television, that was a perfect afternoon spent in dreamy romantic thoughts.
Benson continued his film career in the 1980s, slowly escaping the teen fandom of the 1970s, but will always be on the list for those teen girls who remember their favourite posters on their bedroom walls during this decade.