|Michael Des Barres|
|Born||24 January 1948
London, England, United Kingdom
|Spouse(s)||Pamela Des Barres
(1977 - 1991)
Michael Philip Des Barres, Marquis Des Barres (born 24 January 1948) is a British actor and rock singer. He is known for playing the recurring role of Murdoc on the television show MacGyver and for replacing the late Robert Palmer in the band Power Station, fronting the band at the 1985 Live Aid concert. He is also the ex-husband of groupie, actress and author Pamela Des Barres and is written about extensively in two of her books, I'm With The Band and Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart.
The only child of Marquis Philip and Marchioness Irene Des Barres, (pronounced [de ba:ʁ]), Des Barres grew up in the Surrey area and attended a boarding school. He later attended the Corona Academy drama school in London and appeared in several plays. Married in England, he divorced his first wife (Wendy) after meeting Pamela in 1974. He married Pamela on 29 October 1977; the couple was divorced in 1991, remaining friends.
Their son Nicholas Dean Des Barres was born 30 September 1978. Nick Des Barres was a contributor to the video game magazine GameFan, writing many of his articles under the apt pseudonym "Nick Rox". He also designed the Resident Evil movie poster.
A heavy alcohol and drug abuser during the 1970s, Des Barres has been sober since June 1981. He did volunteer addiction counseling and works with homeless teens. In 2006 he formed a new 10-piece soul band called Michael Des Barres and Free Love Foundation, which later disbanded in 2008. Des Barres is currently working on a new music project titled Zodiax, with the first song "Circus of Love" being made available via his myspace page. His acting credits and hit songs, particularly "Obsession", had given him the time and freedom to make the Hollywood event and party circuit, at which he is often photographed.
Des Barres has also organized and hosted the annual Don't Knock the Rock Film Festival, which first took place in 2003.
Des Barres formed his first band Silverhead in England in 1972. They recorded two albums and toured the U.S., Europe and Japan, before disbanding in 1974.
A solo album, I'm Only Human, followed in 1980, with a solo tour of the U.S. and UK. The album was recorded on Dreamland Records and produced by Mike Chapman (composer of "Mickey" and producer of "My Sharona"). His musicians at this time were the session band Zoo Drive featuring John Goodsall (guitars), Paul Delph (keyboards), Doug Lunn (bass), and Ric Parnell (drums). On the recording and significant gigs Nigel Harrison (Blondie) replaced Doug Lunn on bass.
He was part of the band Chequered Past from 1982 to 1985, which included Steve Jones from Sex Pistols, Clem Burke and Nigel Harrison from Blondie, and Tony Sales of Todd Rundgren ('Runt) and Tin Machine fame.
Des Barres met the members of Duran Duran when Chequered Past opened for a few shows during their 1984 tour. In 1985, when Robert Palmer withdrew from the Duran Duran side project Power Station just before their American summer tour, Des Barres was chosen to take his place as lead vocalist. He performed live with them for several months before they disbanded, including a set broadcast to millions at the 1985 Live Aid charity concert in Philadelphia. Des Barres' friendship with actor Don Johnson got Power Station a guest appearance on Johnson's TV show Miami Vice. He wrote one song with the band, "We Fight For Love" which appears on the soundtrack to the movie Commando.
Des Barres was invited by Roger Taylor, John Deacon and Brian May to succeed Freddie Mercury as lead singer of their band Queen. (This was in the early 1990s, shortly after Freddie's life was taken by AIDS.) Michael turned them down, however, because he did not consider himself the right type of performer to replace someone like Mercury.
Des Barres has had a diverse and prolific acting career, having appeared in one or two movies every year, as well as dozens of television appearances. His first movie role was as a supporting cast member in the classic 1967 film To Sir, with Love playing an East End student who always wears dark sunglasses indoors and out, followed by a few other minor roles before he decided to pursue a career in music instead. After 1986, he concentrated his energies on acting again and was quickly cast in Nightflyers as a charismatic empath. His lead movie roles have been in Midnight Cabaret , Poison Ivy: The New Seduction , and Sugar Town. He also appeared in the 2004 movie Catch That Kid.
On television, besides the role of Murdoc in MacGyver, Des Barres was also a lead cast member of The New WKRP in Cincinnati during the 1991-92 season as part of a husband-and-wife morning team. He had previously appeared on the original WKRP in Cincinnati as the lead singer of a punk band, Scum of the Earth. During this same time, he played a gay man (Leon's boyfriend) in two episodes of Roseanne. He also played one of Darlene's baby's doctors on one of the final episodes of the series. Some of his dozens of television appearances include Seinfeld, Renegade, Ellen, Nip/Tuck, Just Shoot Me!, Hart To Hart, My Sister Sam, Lois & Clark (which reunited him with another MacGyver recurring-character alumni, Teri Hatcher; the two had even appeared together in one MacGyver episode), JAG, Melrose Place, Nash Bridges, Northern Exposure, Rockford Files, Sledge Hammer!, Sliders, St. Elsewhere, 21 Jump Street, The Pretender, Dead Like Me, Frasier and Hawaii. He also played a role as an eccentric record producer in Four Kings. He has also done voice work for several animated television series.