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{James Darren as Vic Fontaine, image via Paramount}

Human actor/singer James William Ercolani was born June 8, 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He had a rich and varied career in Terran entertainment under the stage name James Darren before being cast as hologram Vic Fontaine on Star Trek: Deep Space 9.

James Darren

James Darren’s first film was Rumble on the Docks (1956). He played Moondoggie in Gidget (1959) and its sequels. His recording of “Goodbye Cruel World” was number three on the Billboard Top 100 Songs in 1961. It sold over a million copies; he was awarded a gold record. His “Addio Mondo Crudele” was successful in Europe.

Farren appeared in The Gene Krupa Story (1969) and All the Young Men (1960). He played Spyros Pappadimos in The Guns of Navarone (1961). He appeared in Diamond Head (1962). He had a recurring role on the police show T. J. Hooker as Officer Jim Corrigan

James William Ercolani has been married twice. He and his first wife Barbara Terlitzsky were married from 1955 to 1959. They had one son, lawyer and journalist Jim Moret, the father of Darren’s three grandchildren. James Darren’s second wife is actress Evy Norland, the Miss Denmark of 1958. They have two sons, Christian and Anthony.

Vic Fontaine

Oddly, one of the most popular holosuites Quark offered on Deep Space Nine was a recreation of a mid-twentieth century Las Vegas lounge where the main performer was self-aware hologram Vic Fontaine. One wouldn’t have expected such a setting to have any relevance to Starfleet personnel in the 24th century, but it was popular with the staff of space station DS9 as a place to relax off-duty. Many station personnel came to regard Vic as a friend advisor, despite the fact he wasn’t real. Vic knew he was only a hologram. He knew about the war against the Dominion and regarded entertaining the troops as his contribution to the war effort.

Time Tunnel

James Darren played Dr. Anthony Newman in Irwin Allen’s Emmy-winning TV show Time Tunnel. When a visiting senator accused the Time Tunnel project of wasting government funds with no results, Tony Newman leapt into the tunnel himself to prove it worked. A friend and co-worker, Dr. Doug Phillips (Robert Colbert) went after him, but at the time the show ended, both Doug and Tony were still lost in time, switching uncontrollably from one century to another.

Cartoons

James Darren provided the singing voice for a parody of himself, James Darrock, on The Flintstones ( Lennie Weinrib provided Darrock’s speaking voice. In Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear! (1964), James Darren provided Yogi Bear’s singing voice. As usual, Daws Butler provided Yogi’s speaking voice.

Happy Birthday, James Darren. Thank you for the songs and performances over the years. Hope you spend the day with your family and have a great day.

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Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.

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