Todd Porter (actor)

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Todd Porter
Todd Daymond Porter

(1968-05-15) May 15, 1968 (age 53)
OccupationActor, model
Years active1976–1984
Spouse(s)SuePorter/Jacqueline-Intili-Porter/Linda Porter

Todd Daymond Porter (born May 15, 1968) is an American former actor and model. Beginning his career as a professional child actor at the age of eight, Porter is perhaps best known for his television roles; as Chris on the Saturday morning children's series Starstuff and as Hamilton Parker on the CBS action-adventure series Whiz Kids .


Early life

Porter was born in Montclair, New Jersey to parents Betty and R. Bruce Porter. [1] [2] [3] He grew up in New Jersey with his parents and three older brothers; Frank, who was a musician, and Bruce and Rich, who were also child actors in commercials. [2] [3] [4] Porter took an early interest in music and, by the age of five, he was learning to play the piano and drums, interests he would continue to pursue throughout his childhood and teenage years. [3]


In 1976, Porter began his professional career as an actor and model at the age of eight, appearing in numerous television commercials and print advertorials throughout his childhood. [2] [3] [4] In 1979, Porter made his theatrical debut co-starring as John Darling alongside Sandy Duncan as Peter Pan and George Rose as Captain Hook in the 1979 revival of Peter Pan during the months prior to the musical's premiere on Broadway. [2] [5]

In the fall of 1980, Porter made his television debut with a starring role on the locally produced WCAU-TV Saturday morning children's series Starstuff . [2] [6] On the science-fiction themed program, 12-year-old Porter starred in the lead role of Chris, a computer and radio enthusiast who builds a computer which enables him to communicate with a girl living in a space colony 30 years in the future. [6] [7] In December of that same year, Porter voiced the title role of Pinocchio in the Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated holiday special Pinocchio's Christmas . [8] [9]

In 1981, Porter made his feature film debut in the science fiction comedy Earthbound . [2] [3] In the film, Porter co-starred as Tommy Anderson alongside Burl Ives as his grandfather Ned Anderson as they befriend a family of extraterrestrials and help disguise them as humans after their space ship lands on earth. [10] [11] The film, which was originally intended to be a pilot for a potential television series, instead received a theatrical release in the United States and Canada. [12]

In the fall of 1983, Porter landed a co-starring role on the CBS mystery-adventure series, Whiz Kids . [13] [14] [15] On the series, Porter once again portrayed an adolescent computer prodigy, co-starring as Hamilton "Ham" Parker, the best friend of Richie Adler, portrayed by Matthew Laborteaux who, along with a group of high school friends, solve crimes and bring perpetrators to justice with the help of Ralf, a talking computer. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Porter's portrayal of "Ham" on Whiz Kids earned the 15-year-old a 1983 Youth in Film Award (now known as the Young Artist Award) nomination as "Best Young Actor in a New Television Series" [16] and launched him as a popular teen idol of the mid-1980s, with articles and pinups appearing in various teen magazines of the era, including 16 magazine , Bop and Teen Beat among others. [1] [2] [3] [4] The role also led to Porter and the rest of his teenage Whiz Kids co-stars to make a crossover appearance on the 1983 episode of Simon & Simon entitled "Fly the Alibi Skies". [17]

Personal life

During his time on Whiz Kids, Porter split his time living in California and New Jersey. [1] [2] At the time, the tenth-grader was reportedly an honor roll student at his New Jersey high school and was a member of his school's Key Club, a Kiwanis-inspired organization for young achievers. [1] [2] [3] [4] His extra-curricular activities at the time included playing his grand piano, two synthesizers and 28-piece drum set. [3] [4] Other interests included baseball, basketball, break-dancing, photography and his state-of-the-art Atari 800 computer. [1] [2] [3] [4]


1981 Earthbound Tommy Anderson
1980–1981 Starstuff ChrisStarring
1980 Pinocchio's Christmas Pinocchio (Voice)
1983–1984 Whiz Kids Hamilton "Ham" ParkerStarring
1983 Simon & Simon Hamilton "Ham" ParkerEpisode: "Fly the Alibi Skies"
1979 Peter Pan John Darling


1983 Youth in Film Award
(now known as the Young Artist Award)
Best Young Actor in a New Television Series Whiz Kids Nominated [16]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Those Wonderful Whiz Kids". Bop Magazine . No. December 1983. Laufer Media. p. 39.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Who's Who on 'Whiz Kids'". Teen Beat . No. February 1984. Ideal Publishing Corporation. pp. 11–13.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Meet Todd Porter, He's Whiz Kids' Ham – And That Says It All". 16 Magazine . No. May 1984. p. 54.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Hot Times For Todd". Teen Beat . No. May 1984. Ideal Publishing Corporation. pp. 47–48.
  5. Gardner, R.H. (July 23, 1979). "'Peter Pan' flies – Continuously entertaining". The Baltimore Sun . p. B1, B6.
  6. 1 2 Plant, Emmett (December 19, 2009). "Sci-Fi Rewind: Memories of 'Starstuff'". io9 . Retrieved January 16, 2013.
  7. WCAU-TV (July 9, 1980). "Starstuff Episode #11 – Tape No. 417-60P". CBS . Retrieved January 16, 2013.
  8. "Of Special Interest: Pinocchio's Christmas". The New York Times . December 3, 1980. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  9. "Todd Porter movies, photos, reviews, filmography and biography". . Retrieved January 16, 2013.
  10. "Friday – 12:00 "Earthbound" A hotel owner and his grandson". The Ludington Daily News. July 25, 1986.
  11. Linda Gross (February 3, 1981). "A Paranoid Space Family Robinson". Los Angeles Times .
  12. Christopher Hicks (May 14, 1981). "Movie Review: 'Earthbound' really is". The Deseret News .
  13. Greenberger, Robert. "Whiz Kids". Starlog . O'Quinn Studios, Inc. (February 1984): 34–35.
  14. John J. O'Connor (October 5, 1983). "TV: A Youthful Computer Genius". The New York Times .
  15. Mike Boone (October 12, 2013). "'Whiz Kids' a little far-fetched, but it's worth accessing". The Montreal Gazette .
  16. 1 2 "Fifth Annual Youth in Film Awards 1982-1983". Young Artist Awards . Archived from the original on April 3, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2013.
  17. Hulu (October 27, 1983). "Simon & Simon Full Episode (Fly The Alibi Skies)". . Retrieved January 16, 2013.