James Darren: born James William Ercolani, 8 June 1936, Philadelphia USA. First credit Rumble on the Docks (1956) with Timothy Carey. Selected credits:
Gidget (1959 – Moondoggie) with Sandra Dee
Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961 – Moondoggie) with Deborah Walley
Gidget Goes To Rome (1963 – Moondoggie) with Cindy Carol
For Those Who Think Young (1964) with Pamela Tiffin
The Lively Set (1964) with Pamela Tiffin
TV series: The Time Tunnel (TV 1966-67), T.J. Hooker (TV 1982-86) , Melrose Place (TV 1999), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (TV 1998-99); most recent credit: US indie feature Random Acts (2001).
Q&A with “Gidget’s” James Darren
Entertainment Weekly August 6 2004
“Gidget” is making waves again, with “The Complete Gidget Collection.” Sandra Dee, Deborah Walley, and Cindy Carol may have played the irrepressible surf mascot in “Gidget,” “Gidget Goes Hawaiian,” and “Gidget Goes to Rome,” but James Darren kept the series afloat as surfer boyfriend Moondoggie. Forty-five years later, he is still the absolute ultimate.
Q. Interesting for the title character of a film series to be played by different actors but the costar to stay the same…
A. They had me under contract. I was a prisoner. But with those lovely young ladies, it was the best prison I think I’ll ever be in.
Q. Between you and ”Beach Party”’s Frankie Avalon, who’s the big Kahuna?
A. I’ll give Cliff Robertson (who played the original Kahuna in ”Gidget”) that title. Frankie is a real good friend.
Q. Did you ever date your Gidgets?
A. No, but I was in love with Sandra. I thought she was absolutely perfect as Gidget. She had tremendous charm. But her mom was very protective, to say the least.