“I've always been something of a whore with my acting, but never my music.” Rick Springfield
Australian/American musician and actor Rick Springfield is popular among soap opera fans for playing Dr. Noah Drake on the daytime drama “General Hospital” from 1981 to 1983, 2005 to 2007, and again in 2008. He also starred in the short lived series “Human Target” (1992) and the syndicated series “High Tide” (1994-1997). In addition, he was seen in the motion picture “Hard to Hold” (1984). On the music front, Springfield has released 16 studio albums and 24 singles since making his debut in 1972. He took home a Grammy Award for the hit single “Jessie's Girl” (1981), which also marks his first and to date only No. 1 hit single on the Billboard Hot 100. His other well known singles include “I've Done Everything for You” (#8), “Don't Talk to Strangers” (#2), “Affair of the Heart” (#9) and “Love Somebody” (#5).
Springfield has been married to Barbara Porter since 1984. They have two sons. He dated actress Linda Blair from 1973 to 1975. Springfield became a U.S. citizen in 2006, but he still maintains his Australian citizenship. He has studied Shotokan and Tae Kwon Do.
Childhood and Family:
Rick Springfield was born Richard Lewis Springthorpe on August 23, 1949, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, to Norman Springthorpe, a Lt. Colonel in the Australian Army, and Eileen, a homemaker. He has a younger brother named Michael (born 1952). Because of his father's career, the Springfield family moved around Australia and England during Rick's childhood. After living in London for about two years, the family returned to Australia. Rick received his first guitar at age 13 and performed with various local bands during his teen years. Back home after a tour in Vietnam with his band in the late 1960s, Rick knew music was his true calling and decided to pursue it as a career.
On October 27, 1984, Rick married Barbara Porter, a former receptionist at the studio where he recorded his album “Working Class Dog” (1981). The couple has two sons, Leo Springfield (born in 1985) and Josh Springfield (born in 1988).
Rick Springfield quit high school to play with a variety of local bands, including Daniel Jones Ensemble, The Jordy Boys, and Rock House. With the '50s revival group Rock House, he traveled overseas to Vietnam for a show in 1968 and when he returned to Australia the following year, decided to work more professionally. In the fall of 1969, Springfield was hired as a new guitarist for the Australian rock band Zoot, replacing Roger Hicks. He remained with them until they disbanded in 1971. He then moved to Hollywood, California, in 1972 and signed with Capitol Records. His debut album, “Beginnings” (1972), peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard 200 and No. 23 in Canada. His first single, “Speak to the Sky” (1972), made the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 (#14) and the Billboard Adult Contemporary (#16) and became a Top 10 hit in Canada. The second single, “What Would the Children Think” (1972), failed to reach the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. Rumors spread around this period that Capitol was paying people to buy Springfield's albums and this led to a boycott of his music by some radio stations.
Springfield moved to Columbia Records in 1973 and released his second album, “Comic Book Heroes.” The album, however, failed to chart. During this time, he also appeared as himself in the ABC Saturday morning animated series “Mission: Magic” (1973), where he wrote and performed an original song each week. Springfield returned with a new studio album called “Wait for Night,” which was originally released through Chelsea Records in 1976 before its re-release in 1978 via RCA Records. The album received generally positive reviews from music critics. The lead single, “Take a Hand” (1976), went to No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 56 in Canada.
The late 1970s saw Springfield focus primarily on his acting career. He landed guest starring roles in television series like “The Six Million Dollar Man” (1977), “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries” (1977), “The Rockford Files” (1978), “In the Beginning” (1978), “The Eddie Capra Mysteries” (1978), “The New Adventures of Wonder Woman” (1978 and 1979), “Turnabout” (1979), “The Incredible Hulk” (1979) and “California Fever” (1979). He also had a small role in the pilot of the popular series “Battlestar Galactica” (1978).
Springfield's big breakthrough as an actor arrived in 1981 when he was cast as Dr. Noah Drake on the ABC soap opera “General Hospital.” Playing the love interest of the soap’s character Bobbie Spencer, Springfield emerged as a favorite among female fans but eventually gave up the role in 1983 because of his music career.
While enjoying his success as a daytime soap darling, Springfield launched the hit “Working Class Dog” album on February 24, 1981, on RCA. Produced by Bill Drescher & Keith Olsen, the album rose to No. 7 on the Billboard 200. The lead single, “Jessie's Girl,” became an instant hit upon its release in March 1981 and scored two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also earned the singer a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. The song was released in the U.K. in 1984 and charted at No. 43 on the U.K. Singles Chart. “Working Class Dog” also produced the hit singles “I've Done Everything for You” and “Love Is Alright Tonight,” which rose to No. 8 and No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. The follow up album, “Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet,” hit the music stores in March 1982 and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. It went platinum in the U.S. The album also generated three Top 40 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Don't Talk to Strangers” (#2 for 4 weeks), “What Kind Of Fool Am I” (#21) and “I Get Excited” (#32). The song “Calling All Girls” charted at No. 4 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and “Don't Talk To Strangers” at No. 11.
Co-produced by Bill Drescher and Springfield, “Living in Oz” was released in 1983. The album peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 and gave the singer another platinum record. The lead single, “Affair of the Heart,” peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 23 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. The song brought Springfield a Grammy nomination for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in 1984. The follow up singles, “Human Touch” and “Souls” respectively, rose to No. 18 and No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1984, Springfield made his feature debut as the star of the film “Hard to Hold,” in which he played James Roberts, a pop idol falling in love with a child psychologist. The soundtrack album, by Springfield, went to No. 16 on the Billboard 200 and No. 29 in Canada. It also spawned the Top 10 hit “Love Somebody,” which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the charting singles “Bop 'Til You Drop” (#20 US Hot 100), “Don't Walk Away” (#26 US Hot 100) and “Taxi Dancing” (#59 US Hot 100), a duet sung with Randy Crawford.
In 1985, Springfield released the album “Tao,” which he co-produced. It peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard 200. “Tao” produced two Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with the singles “Celebrate Youth” (#26) and a cover of the Aussie group Mondo Rock's commercial hit single “State of the Heart” (#22). Three years later, he released “Rock of Life,” which was a commercial success and rose to No. 55 on the Billboard 200. The title track also went to No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100. Shortly after releasing the album, Springfield took a break from music to spend more time with his family and deal with depression. He recalled, “I went through some therapy, working on what was going on inside me, and I got back on track. I certainly have different priorities now. The great thing about having kids, you can finally get your attention off yourself. There’s something more to live for.”
In 1989, Springfield resumed his acting career by making a guest appearance on an episode of “Forever Knight” called “Nick Knight.” It was followed by a performance in the television thriller “Dead Reckoning” (1990), where he costarred with Cliff Robertson and Susan Blakely. He also worked with Patricia Wettig, Mike Farrell and David Packer in the Lifetime television movie “Silent Movie” (1991) and Jeri Ryan, Daryl Anderson and Michael Cavanaugh in a failed series pilot titled “Just Deserts” (1992). In 1992, he starred in the ABC action series “Human Target,” which was adapted from the comic book character of the same title. The show ran from July to August 1992.
After the cancellation of the series, Springfield portrayed Paul Merritt in the TV film “In the Shadows, Someone's Watching” (1993), opposite Joan Van Ark, Philip in CBS’ “A Change of Place” (1994), opposite Andrea Roth and Geordie Johnson, and Nick Collins in the USA Network short lived series “Robin's Hoods” (1995). From 1994 to 1997, he portrayed detective Mick Barrett on the syndicated series “High Tide.” He went on to make guest appearances on the television series “Johnny Bravo” (1997), “Suddenly Susan” (2 episodes, 1999) and “Martial Law” (1999) and appeared in two TV films, “Loyal Opposition: Terror in the White House” and “Legion” (both 1998). On stage, Springfield landed a part in the Broadway musical “Smokey Joe's Café” (1995).
Springfield returned to music with the album “Karma” (1999), which peaked at the No. 189 on the Billboard 200 although none of its singles managed to chart. After the release of the album, he began touring again.
In 2000, Springfield performed in the Las Vegas stage show “EFX Live.” The following year, he had a supporting role in the television film “Dying to Dance,” starring Mary-Margaret Humes, Kimberly McCullough and Natalia Nogulich. In 2004, he released the album “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance” on his own Gomer Record label. The single “Beautiful You” rose to No. 28 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It was followed by “The Day After Yesterday,” which was released on July 12, 2005. The album went to No. 197 on the Billboard 200.
Springfield reprised his role of Dr. Noah Drake on “General Hospital” in November 2005. He stayed with the role until August 2007. He returned to play the role again from July 8 to September 22, 2008. Springfield also played rock star Eli Love in the soap in 2007.
Springfield returned to music by releasing the “Christmas With You” album in 2007. He followed it up with “Venus in Overdrive,” which was released in 2008 through NewDoor Records. The album peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard 200. The opening track, “What's Victoria's Secret,” failed to chart. His next album, “My Precious Little One: Lullabies for a New Generation” (2009), did not chart. In 2009, Springfield appeared in four episodes of Showtime's “Californication.”
Recently, in 2011, Springfield guest starred as Renny Sinclair in an episode of “Hawaii Five-0” called “Ho'ohuli Na'au.”
Grammy: Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, “Jessie's Girl,” 1982