Justin Bieber Vs. Leif Garrett: Teen Idols With TV Pasts

The '70s heartthrob gives Justin Bieber some advice – and he should listen.

Yahoo Contributor Network

View photo

.
Leif Garrett had it all in the '70s: a hot career, money, good looks, a model girlfriend, and a swarm of female fans. But his well-documented fall from teen-idol grace (hey, he's the one who agreed to those VH1 "Behind the Music" interviews) has long been an example of a child star gone wrong.

The 51-year-old former teen idol recently talked to Fox 411 about today's version of him. Yes, we're talking about Justin Bieber, and it sounds like even Garrett didn't realize how much he and the "Boyfriend" singer really have in common.

While Leif was quick to dole out advice to the teen pop star ("Do not believe your own publicity," he said. "Sussing out who your real friends are is full-time work. Every scum bag, every drug dealer, every chicken hawk wants a piece of you"), he overlooked one important similarity: JB's acting creds.

That's right, when asked about the similarities between Bieber and himself when he was the pop singer's age, Leif said, "I don't know. I mean our circumstances are quite different. This is something he really wanted to do, and he achieved it. I was in acting."

Huh? While we know Leif has technically been an actor since his (uncredited) appearance in the 1969 film "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," let's not forget that JB has some acting credits on his rez, as well -- and we're not talking the obligatory "Simpsons" voiceover. (OK, he did that, too.)

Bieber played bad-boy bomber Jason McCann in a two-episode arc on "CSI," while his buzzy Best Buy commercial with Ozzy Osbourne had the teen poking fun at himself when he donned a fake beard and mustache to answer the Prince of Darkness's burning question: "What's a Bieber?" (JB's answer: "I don't know, but it kinda looks like a girl.") He also guest starred on an episode of "Cubed," and, let's face it, Justin's sketches on "SNL" have been priceless, even the "greatest train wreck ever" that never made it to air.

Check out Bieber on "CSI": 

Garrett started out as an actor, making cameos on everything from "Family Affair" to "Wonder Woman," and he starred in the short-lived "Three For the Road" before hitting it big as a bubblegum pop star. In his heyday, the '70s teen idol even headlined a TV variety special. (His guests were Bob Hope, Marie Osmond, and Brooke Shields. See a clip here.) But just because their roles are reversed (Garrett was an actor-turned-singer, while Bieber is a singer-turned-actor) doesn't mean these two don't have an uncanny number of parallels, right down to the iconic hair style, the starlet girlfriend, and the bad boy entourage.

Watch Leif Garrett on "Wonder Woman": 

Of course, not all former teen idols are overlooking Justin's acting aspirations. In fact, Mark Wahlberg has long seen the pop star's potential and has even teamed up with him for an upcoming movie about "the world of inner-city basketball."

Wahlberg told E! News that Bieber will star in the flick, dishing, "[Justin's] a great athlete... he's focused and he wants to have success in the movie world and acting, as well. He's focused and patient about finding the right particular part, working with the right people, and I think he'd do a great job."

Like Garrett, Wahlberg also doled out advice to the 19-year-old: "Justin, are you listening? Don't be so naughty," he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The former Funky Bunch frontman faked a British accent and added, "Be a nice boy, pull your trousers up, make your mum proud, yeah? Stop smoking all that weed."

The actor also defended his mini-me: "He's a kid! Let him live his life. He's a teenager, obviously living in a different day and age. Everybody's got a cell phone and paparazzi everywhere."

Wahlberg and Garrett seem to be on the same page when it comes to the longevity of a teen idol's career.

Garrett said, "The average lifespan of a teen idol is five years. You have to change musically," while Wahlberg advised, "This career can be short-lived. You might as well be the best you can while you're doing it, while you're in the game."  

Check out stills from "CSI":

More from this contributor:

Lindsay Lohan On OWN: Her Buzziest Interview Moments

101 Best-Written TV Shows: 4 One-Season Wonders That Made the Cut

Why Juan Pablo Galavis Shouldn't Listen To the Advice of Past 'Bachelor' Stars

View Comments