People Magazine Article

Where Are They Now?

"Blue Boy" Christopher Atkins

He once lived on a paradise island with Brooke Shields. But '70s' poster boy Christopher Atkins has grown up and gone more urban since his days in 1980's Blue Lagoon. Now living in Van Nuys CA with his wife Lynne and two children, 37-year-old Atkins tells PEOPLE Online, "I'm trying to peek my head back into pictures."

Atkins' boyish blond beauty caused a splash when he romped with Shields back in his younger days. He remembers the filming -- and the hoopla afterwards -- well. Getting the film was a fluke. The Rye NY native was one of 4,000 teens who auditioned at Columbia Pictures in Manhattan for the role. Atkins was there courtesy of a friend. "I hadn't acted before," he says. "Baseball was my first love, but then I had four knee operations and intended to go into sports medicine."

Being cast in Blue Lagoon changed all that. "They curled my hair and sent me to Turtle Island in Fiji," Atkins recalls. "We all lived in tents. There was nothing on this island, nothing. It's an incredible resort now, but back then they had to import food and water."

Shields was 14 at the time, and Atkins was "just turning 18." He describes leaving the island as "awful. We got so close with the people in the neighboring islands and the crew. It was a real time warp. Coming back to L.A. was a culture shock. I was scared. I still remember the feeling of all the people and the lights after living in a tent and looking up at the stars every night."

After the movie premiered, Atkins says, "I couldn't go anywhere." Columbia Pictures placed him under contract and sent him on a world tour to promote the film. He recalls, "I had my hair pulled and my clothes ripped off of me several times. To this day, people still recognize me." He and Shields were one of the original group invited to be part of the Night of 100 Stars gala at Radio City Music Hall in 1980. "It was one of the biggest moments of my life," the actor says. "I was sitting in a dressing room with Paul Newman, Princess Grace, Gene Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, Tony Perkins and Richard Chamberlain. Tony Perkins wanted to smoke pot. We were all drinking beer and watching the monitor, talking and having a good time. It was bizarre. People were getting each other's autographs. Brooke and I went up on stage with Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton."

As for Shields, Atkins says he talks to her "once in a while. I went onto the set of her show, Suddenly Susan, and took my kids. My daughter is a big fan. And I called to congratulate Brooke when she got married. She is the best. For what people have to go through in the business and what she has done and how she has sustained herself, she is the sweetest girl you will ever meet. I mean that."

Fox bought out the actor's contract so he could star in 1982's Pirate Movie with Kristy McNichol, before he landed the role of Linda Gray's boy toy on Dallas in 1983-1984. He describes the cast of the hit show as "nuts" and remembers Linda Grey, after a visit to the dentist, wiping the numbing procaine all over her lips and then kissing him. "My lips went numb, and I was drooling out of the side of my mouth."

Married since 1985 to ex-model Lynne Barron, Atkins took some time off to be a dad to his two children, Grant, 12, and Brittney, 11. He recently returned from Russia where he made a film, Breaking the Silence. A veteran of more than 26 movies, many of which have not had major distribution, he would like to re-break into more "mainstream" features. He admits, "I'm still fighting the image I have from Blue Lagoon."

But for now, Atkins is a happy family man and a business man. The inventor of a fishing lure (for which he has a patent pending), he also has a new company called Rocky River Outdoor Products. "It's a fantasy world, the movie business," Atkins says. "There are more things in life."

Copyright People Magazine Online
Article by Maria Ciaccia


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