EXPIRED: 11/15/09 – Dennis Cole, 69, had the looks of a quintissential California surfer. That, and a natural athletic ability, earned Cole a spot in Hollywood upon his arrival from Detroit in the early 1960s.
Too bad a stroke of violence caused him to toss it all away.
Tall, blond and athletic, Cole worked as a stuntman before being cast as rookie detective Jim Briggs on “Felony Squad.” Cole then moved on to the series “Bracken’s World” and “Bearcats!” and a stint on the daytime soap “The Young and the Restless”. He also guest-starred on such series as “Murder, She Wrote”, “Baywatch”, “The Love Boat” and “Charlie’s Angels”.
It was a cameo on “Charlie’s Angels” that led to Cole meeting and marrying Jaclyn Smith in 1978. The couple were the subject of intense media scrutiny until their breakup and divorce in 1981.
Though Cole later performed in his own musical review at showrooms in Hollywood and Las Vegas, and appeared in theatrical productions of “Victor/Victoria” and “Blood Brothers,” the death of his only child, Joe, brought Cole’s performing career to an early end.
In 1991, Joe Cole, then age 30, was working as a roadie for the rock band Black Flag and was the victim of a robbery as he and singer Henry Rollins returned to the Venice-area house they shared. Joe was shot and killed.
As a result of his son’s murder, Cole thereafter refused to appear in any project that contained violence — a decision that ultimately ended his career in show business.
Instead, Cole teamed with the family of murder victim Nicole Brown Simpson on a foundation to increase awareness for crime victims.
His son’s murder is still unsolved.
He later moved to Fort Lauderdale to work in Real Estate and led a fairly quiet life.