If you turned on the TV during the 1970’s, it might have been hard to miss child and teen actor Willie Aames. He originated the roll of Leonard Unger, son of Felix Unger on TV’s The Odd Couple. He also had guest starring rolls on Adam-12 and Little House on the Prairie, before hitting it big in the roll of Tommy on the family “Dramody” Eight Is Enough. All the girls my age were enthralled his boyish good looks and beautiful eyes. After Eight Is Enough, his best known roll is probably along side fellow teen heart throb Scott Baio in the sit-com Charles In Charge. Along with all the fame, came a battle with drugs and alcohol, conversion to Christianity, marriage, divorce, financial difficulties, and then a new beginning in 2010 as a Cruise Director for Oceania.
I first heard about Aames’s new career from a fellow cruiser who had just returned from an Oceania cruise on which Aames served as the cruise director. The Oceania customer raved about how well suited Aames is for the job, very personable, and very tuned into what it takes to make the cruise experience memorable for Oceania’s guests. He also added that Aames was very open about some his past troubles and how thankful he is to have a friend who helped him get his starting position as assistant cruise director with Oceania. He has risen from assistant cruise director and part time entertainer in 2010, to Cruise Director on M/S Regatta in 2011 and Cruise Director of the M/S Marina in 2012. Many of Oceania’s guest have given him rave reviews on line calling him personable and saying he is one of the best cruise directors they have ever had. Reports say that he has been such a success, that he will be rotating duties back and forth between the deluxe line Oceania and their luxury Prestige Cruise Holdings sister brand, Regent Seven Seas. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to have Aames as your cruise director on your next cruise with either line.
To read more about Aames you can pick up a copy of his book that he penned with his ex-wife, Maylo Upton-Aames, called “Grace is Enough”. The book recounts his difficulties in Hollywood and his redemption in becoming a Born Again Christian. His classic 1970’s show “Eight Is Enough” and his faith based children’s series “Bibleman” are also available on DVD.