Luke Halpin, c. 1960s
|Born||Luke Austin Halpin
April 4, 1947
Astoria, Queens, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, stuntman, marine coordinator|
|Spouse(s)||Patricia Warren Ott (1971-?) (divorced)
Judy Suzanne Meyer (1977-1987) (divorced) 2 children
Deborah Jane Durrell (1991-present) 1 child
Luke Austin Halpin (born April 4, 1947) is an American actor. Beginning a prolific career as a child actor at the age of eight, Halpin is perhaps best known for his role as Sandy Ricks in the feature films Flipper and Flipper's New Adventure, as well as for reprising his role for the television series adaptation, also titled Flipper.
Halpin was born in Astoria, Queens, New York City to parents, Helen and Eugene Halpin, and grew up with his family in Long Island City. He has one older brother, Eugene, Jr., and an older sister, Joan, and was raised in a Roman Catholic household.
Halpin's career began when a music teacher, impressed by Halpin's "all-American" look, encouraged him to try acting. In 1955 he co-starred with Natalie Wood in an episode of Studio One entitled Miracle at Potter's Farm. Numerous roles followed, and by his mid-teens, Halpin had appeared on many of the major TV series of the day: Armstrong Circle Theatre, United States Steel Hour, Studio One, Kraft Television Theatre, Hallmark Hall of Fame, The Phil Silvers Show, The Defenders, Route 66, Naked City, and had a recurring role for six months on the soap opera Young Doctor Malone.
Halpin's most famous role came when he was picked to play Sandy Ricks in producer Ivan Tors' 1962 (released 1963) feature Flipper. The successful film spawned a sequel, Flipper's New Adventure (1964); and a TV series which co-starred Brian Kelly as Porter Ricks, a young widowed father to Sandy (although Halpin was only sixteen years younger than Kelly) and Bud, played by Tommy Norden. Character actor Andy Devine also appeared in the series.
Flipper ran for eighty-eight episodes from 1964 to 1967 and is still in syndication. The series made Halpin a teen idol among adolescent viewers. He was often featured in such magazines as Bravo, Teen Life, 16 Magazine, and the earliest issues of Tiger Beat. On the basis of his appearance in the original Flipper movie, Halpin was a guest "contestant" on the CBS panel show To Tell The Truth prior to Flipper's move to television.
After Flipper ended, Halpin appeared in feature films, including Island of the Lost (1967), If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969), and Shock Waves (1977). TV guest appearances in the years shortly after Flipper included Carl Betz's Judd for the Defense, The Dating Game, and Bracken's World.
A notable later appearance was in the role of "Herrold" in the 1980 television movie The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd, a dramatization of Samuel Mudd, the Maryland physician who was imprisoned as an accomplice to John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The part of Mudd is played by Dennis Weaver.
Following an acting career that spanned three decades, Halpin began working as a stuntman, marine coordinator, diver, and speedboat pilot for such feature films as Never Say Never Again, Porky's Revenge!, Flight of the Navigator and Speed 2: Cruise Control as well as for the television series Miami Vice. He also continued to make cameo appearances, most notably, on the television series Key West, and in the 1996 feature film remake, Flipper, starring a 15-year-old Elijah Wood as Sandy Ricks.
Halpin lives in Rotonda West in Charlotte County on the west coast of Florida with his third wife, Deborah. He has three sons, Kyle Austin Halpin (born October 1980), Blair Luke Halpin (born December 1982), and Courtney Luke Halpin (born April 1990).
- "Luke Halpin Answers 40 Intimate Questions", 16 Magazine, February 1965
- "Ten Things You Never Knew about ME, by Luke Halpin", 16 Magazine, December 1966
- My Whole Life Story 16 (magazine), June 1965
- "This Is Me!...Luke Halpin", Teen Life Magazine, November 1965
- "Death Valley Days: "A Mule ... Like the Army's Mule", October 5, 1968". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
- ""The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd"". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
- Kevin D. Thompson (May 17, 1996). "Will The Real Flipper Please Swim By?". The Palm Beach Post.
- Sally Kestin (June 12, 2004). "Stars From The Flipper TV Series Return To Miami". South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
- "Tales Of The Human Heart: Flipper". Bangor Daily News. December 6, 1996.
- Associated Press (June 14, 2004). "Flipper's 40th Is Celebrated In Miami". Ocala Star-Banner.