He Played Cody Allen on "Riptide." See Perry King Now at 74.
The actor is also the voice of an iconic Star Wars character.
From 1983 to 1986, Perry King played Cody Allen on Riptide, a series about two former Army buddies and a computer hacker running a private eye agency and solving cases out of a California speedboat. Though the show made him a household name for a time, he was already a well-known character actor, having appeared in hit films (Slaughterhouse-Five, Mandingo) and nearly a dozen made-for-TV movies throughout the 1970s.
His career has carried him through subsequent decades, and he even moved behind the camera recently. Keep reading to learn what he's been doing over the years and to see him now at age 74.
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He kept acting, mostly on TV.
In the decades since Riptide ended, King has worked steadily in films and television, but most of his best-known roles came on the small screen; aside from a small role as the president of the United States in the 2004 disaster blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, he appeared mostly in low-budget and independent films.
On TV, however, he became a familiar face, appearing in dozens of shows over the years. In 1993, he was cast alongside a pre-Friends Courteney Cox and post-Perfect Strangers Bronson Pinchot in the short-run sitcom The Trouble With Larry and then in the second season of the Disney family sitcom The Torkelsons, under its new title Almost Home. A year later, he joined the cast of the Fox nighttime soap Melrose Place in a recurring role, playing the father of Kristin Davis' Brooke. In 2002, he appeared in six episodes of the Michael J. Fox sitcom Spin City as a love interest for former Melrose castmate Heather Locklear's Caitlin.
In between those shows and since, King has logged guest appearances in dozens of series, including Tales From the Crypt, The Outer Limits, Will & Grace, Without a Trace, Cold Case, Brothers and Sisters, Big Love, and The Mentalist.
Despite his varied career, King thinks of himself as a working actor who has to fight for every gig. "The long resume doesn't mean a thing," he said in a 2005 interview with PopEntertainment. "In fact, often it's a detriment. Casting people and producers and directors don't really care how much work you've done. They care about whether you're hot, because that will bring in an audience. If you're not hot, it doesn't matter if you've been doing it for 35 years. My biggest problem is getting in the door of offices. They may say, 'yeah, we know his work. We don't need to see him.' They think they know me."
He's the "other" Han Solo.
Back in the mid-'70s, after appearing in Slaughterhouse-Five, The Lords of Flatbush, and The Wild Party, King auditioned for a role as a rogue and a smuggler in a sci-fi film being directed by an up-and-comer named George Lucas. Of course, it was Harrison Ford who ended up playing Han Solo in the first Star Wars movie and its sequels—but King's audition video is still floating around the internet.
Though he didn't land the role in the film, King did end up playing Han Solo after all—with his voice. He played the character in the original radio adaptations of the film and its two sequels, produced between 1983 and 1996 for National Public Radio. "The most enjoyable acting in the world is radio acting," he told PopEntertainment of his voice work. "Radio acting has no technique except you have to learn how to turn pages silently. You don't have to memorize, you don't have to do anything but entering the world of the character."
He married and divorced twice.
While studying at Yale University, King married his college sweetheart, Karen Hryharrow. The couple had one daughter, Louise King (pictured with her dad above), before divorcing after 12 years. King later met his second wife, Jamie Elvidge, then an editor for a women's motorcycling magazine, after reading one of her articles. They married in 1990 and had one daughter, Hannah Perrin King, an accomplished poet, in 1992. The couple took turns living with Hannah at King's northern California ranch after divorcing and remain friends.
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He raises money through his love of motorcycles.
King has been a motorcycle enthusiast since a passing motorcyclist caught his eye at the age of eight, and he has brought this passion into his charity work. He has consistently participated in the annual Love Ride as well as the Ride for Children benefiting Olive Crest Homes for Abused Children, a charity for which he was the national spokesperson for decades.
He made his directorial debut in his seventies.
In 2018, King directed The Divide, a black-and-white drama following a rancher who is beginning to experience the effects of dementia as he attempts to reconcile with his estranged daughter. Inspired by his best friend's experience with Alzheimer's disease, he also starred in the film. King said it was finally putting all the lessons he learned through more than half a century of working under great directors to use that gave him the most satisfaction.
"For 50 years I have been a professional actor and all that time I have wanted to make my own movie and finally I got to," he told We Are Movie Geeks.