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Fame Title Screen.png
Title screen
Format Drama
Created by Christopher Gore
Starring Debbie Allen
Jesse Borrego
Loretta Chandler
Lee Curreri
Cynthia Gibb
Erica Gimpel
Albert Hague
Billy Hufsey
Carlo Imperato
Carol Mayo Jenkins
Valerie Landsburg
Ann Nelson
Nia Peeples
Gene Anthony Ray
Lori Singer
Ken Swofford
Theme music composer Michael Gore
Dean Pitchford
Opening theme "Fame"
Performed by:
Erica Gimpel
(Seasons 1-4)
Loretta Chandler
(Seasons 5-6)
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 136 (List of episodes)
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel NBC (1982-1983)
Syndication (1983-1987)
Original run January 7, 1982 – May 18, 1987

Fame is an American television series originally produced between 1982 and 1987. The show was based on the 1980 motion picture of the same name and was hugely popular during its first few seasons. Using a mixture of drama and music, it followed the lives of the students and faculty at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. Although fictional, it was based heavily on the actual Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York. Most interior scenes were filmed in Hollywood, California. In Seasons 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 the show filmed several exterior scenes on location in New York City.

The popularity of the series, particularly in the UK, led to several hit records and live concert tours by the cast. Despite its success, very few of the actors maintained high-profile careers after the series was cancelled. A number of the cast members were seen again briefly in a reunion programme made for UK television in 2008.



The show was produced by MGM Television and was initially broadcast on the NBC television network in the US on January 7 1982, producers William Blinn and Mel Swope. The last new episode was broadcast in the US on May 18, 1987. Some seasons of the show were produced by the BBC in the United Kingdom and Channel 7 in Australia where later seasons of the show were more popular than in the domestic market and in order to continue production they financed the later seasons.

Following its cancellation, two versions of the series were syndicated in reruns: the original hour-long episodes, which usually contained a primary plot, a sub plot and two or more musical numbers; and a second version, stripped of the musical numbers and the sub plot and reduced to 30 minutes in length.

The show's theme song was a pop hit for singer Irene Cara, having been featured in the motion picture. A re-recorded version of the theme, using similar instrumentation to the 1980 track, was used in the TV series and sung by co-star Erica Gimpel, who played Coco Hernandez. Although Gimpel left the series midway through the third season (after the show moved from NBC to first-run syndication in 1983), her opening vocals were still heard on the show for two more seasons. An updated version of the song, featuring a modern, synthesized hard-rock flavor, was introduced in the fall of 1985 and performed by new cast member Loretta Chandler (Dusty). This version ran for the final two seasons of Fame.

"I Still Believe In Me", from an episode of the series entitled "Passing Grade", was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Original Song. It was performed by Erica Gimpel and Debbie Allen and co-written by Gary Portnoy who would go on to co-write and sing the Theme from Cheers (Where Everybody Knows Your Name). In the UK, two singles credited to The Kids from "Fame", "Hi-Fidelity" and "Starmaker", reached the top ten.


The series won a number of Emmy awards and in 1983 and 1984 was voted the Golden Globe Awards: Television, Best Series, Musical/Comedy. Actress, director and choreographer Debbie Allen, who had a small role in the motion picture but played a major character in the television version, also won several awards.

The cast


  • Debbie Allen as Lydia Grant
  • Albert Hague as Benjamin Shorofsky
  • Carol Mayo Jenkins as Elizabeth Sherwood (seasons 1-5)
  • Ann Nelson as Mrs. Gertrude Berg (Seasons 4-6, recurring previously)
  • Ken Swofford as Quentin Morloch (Seasons 3- 5.09)
  • Graham Jarvis as Principal Bob Dyrenforth (Seasons 5.10- 6)
  • Morgan Stevens as David Reardon (season 2, recurring seasons 3 & 4)
  • Eric Pierpoint as Paul Seeger (Season 6.03)
  • Michael Thoma as Greg Crandall (recurring season 1)



Additional characters

  • Dick Miller as Lou Mackie (season 6, recurring previously on seasons 4 & 5)
  • Stephanie E. Williams as Stephanie Harrison (season 2)

Recurring characters


DVD releases

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the first season of Fame on DVD in Region 1 on November 1, 2005. This is now out of print as the home video rights are now owned by 20th Century Fox.

20th Century Fox (under license from (MGM) released the complete first and second seasons of Fame on DVD in Region 1 and Region 2 on September 15, 2009. [1]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season (Out of Print) 16 November 1, 2005
Seasons 1 & 2 38 September 15, 2009

Bring Back...Fame

On 27 December 2008, Channel 4 TV in the UK screened a 90-minute special titled Bring Back...Fame, which sought out and reunited some of the original cast members of the television series.

Presented by Justin Lee Collins, and apparently filmed the previous summer, the show followed the presenter around the United States as he tracked down actors from the series and then staged a reunion. The programme showed Collins appearing to surprise the former cast members in locations including restaurants, a recording studio, a gym, LAX airport and a cinema, before interviewing them and persuading them to take part in the reunion.

The actors featured in the programme were Debbie Allen, Carol Mayo Jenkins, Lee Curreri, Erica Gimpel, Valerie Landsburg and Carlo Imperato. Also interviewed were Irene Cara, who did not appear in the TV series but sang the theme song and played Coco in the original motion picture, and the mother of the late Gene Anthony Ray. It was not stated whether other actors from the series had also been approached but had declined to take part. Excerpts from the TV series were shown throughout the programme. The final scenes of the programme showed the six principal actors and a number of backing dancers taking part in a recreation of the title sequence of the TV programme.

The programme was made for and broadcast on Channel 4, despite Fame having originally been shown in the UK on the BBC. No explanation was given for the reunion. There appeared to be no promotional purpose; no mention was made of the DVD release of the series or the forthcoming remake of the original motion picture, and the original TV series has never been re-run in the UK.

See also

External links


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