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Tales from a life in showbiz

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | September 23, 2022 1:07 AM

We watched him grow up right before our eyes, on the TV screens in our living rooms.

We know him by the names of his memorable characters — Bugsy Malone, Chachi Arcola, Charles, Bob Loblaw and many more.

He's grown from teen heartthrob to loving father and husband, with a long filmography plus experience as a director, producer and writer.

Now, Scott Baio is coming to Coeur d'Alene to share stories from his life at 7 p.m., Oct. 7, during his one-man show, "How Did I Get Here," at The Coeur d'Alene Resort.

"The show goes through all the people that impacted my life and made my life take a right or a left turn — my family, where I come from, all those things that got me where I am," Baio said Wednesday during a phone conversation with The Press.

"It’s all fun and funny; I don’t take anything too seriously, except for those things that happened bad in my life — heath issues, the report of my death years ago, things like that," he said. "At the end of the thought of this show, what it really became is a 'thank you' to people that have watched me over the past 50 years and sustained me in a ridiculously crazy difficult cutthroat business."

Originally from Brooklyn and now in L.A., Baio began his journey in the biz at the young age of 9. He rose to stardom in his teen years, especially after being cast as Chachi Arcola, younger cousin to Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler, on the hit show "Happy Days."

"I came into the show in its fourth year," Baio recounted. "It was extremely intimidating. It took me a little while to get acclimated and to get comfortable, but it was an absolute wonderful experience. I learned so much.

"Henry Winkler would be probably the most influential actor I’ve worked with," he added.

Baio was only about 16 or 17 when he realized he had reached celebrity status.

"The first thing that comes to my head is the moment that you realize that you’re getting famous — not that it's all about the fame, it's not — but that moment when you realize, 'Wait a minute, what’s happening?!' I can remember that," he said.

And of course, as a dreamy, shaggy-haired teen star who appeared on magazine covers, Baio had quite the following of female fans.

"To be a heartthrob, you're in it, you can’t step out of it to see what it's like. When you're on stage and there’s 10,000 girls there, it's surreal, it’s overwhelming," he said. "It does affect you — it does — but you learn, and I was told it’s not real. Not in a bad way, but you have to think of it as not real because it will ruin you, you have to be a good person, you can’t believe it. It was just me, just doing it. It's all great stuff, it’s flattering."

In the height of his popularity, he said he couldn't leave the house.

"But then you figure out ways to leave the house, then you go to dinner, you do your thing," Baio said. "Your life certainly changes, to be famous or to be popular or recognized for 90% of your life, it just becomes your life."

Baio, who turned 62 on Thursday, is now enjoying being a family man.

"I'm at a point where I really enjoy doing nothing," he said. "I get to take my daughter to school, pick her up. She’s a very serious golfer. I get to be with my wife, although I probably drive her nutty."

He has performed "How Did I Get Here?" at venues in the eastern U.S., including Xaverian High School in Brooklyn where he went to school.

For his Coeur d'Alene show, and his first time to Idaho, Baio will be joined on stage by good friend and local celeb Ellen Travolta, who has known Baio most of his life and played his mom on “Happy Days,” “Joanie Loves Chachi” and “Charles in Charge."

"I love Ellen," Baio said. "It's just a good time being around her. I can’t wait to see her."

"I love him too," Travolta told The press.

It was Travolta who inspired Baio to bring his one-man show to Coeur d'Alene.

"I said, 'You've got to come!'" she said.

She said she runs into people all the time who say, "I remember you from 'Charles in Charge.'"

"I thought it would be a new thing for here," Travolta said.

"I'm excited to be a part of it."

Amy VanSickle, director of marketing for The Coeur d'Alene Resort, echoed the sentiment.

“We're very excited and very excited for our community to have someone of this level here," she said. "To be able to host this type of event for our community, for our guests, that’s a really big deal."

"How Did I Get Here?" will include a question-and-answer session at the end with radio personality and Travolta's daughter, Molly Allen.

"We're going to tell stories," Travolta said. "There's just a real family feeling with Scott. We're looking forward to seeing him."

The show will also serve as a "thank you" to Baio's fans who have loved him through the years.

"I really enjoy telling these stories, I do," he said. "I wanted to share this with people."

Admission begins at $75. Meet-and-greet VIP tickets are $175.

Visit cdaresort.com or call The Coeur d'Alene Resort concierge at 855-990-0246 for tickets and information.

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