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Inspired by the 1980 film, the drama about a troupe of young actors, dancers, musicians and singers enrolled at what was then Manhattan's High School for the Performing Arts "was a great place to get paid for growing up and learning," says costar Nia Peeples. And although school let out 14 years ago, kinship is still strong. "We're all part of the same club," says P.R. Paul. "Once you're in it, you can't get out."
Lee Curreri
A pianist, Curreri faked his way through portraying singer Bruno Martelli by composing songs that disguised his vocal limitations. "It was almost talk-singing," says Curreri, 40, who has a baby (and one on the way) with wife Sherry Dean Curreri, a TV producer. Today he plays to his strengths, composing scores for TV.
Erica Gimpel
Gimpel, who played singer Coco Hernandez and sang the show's theme, went on to act on stage, film and TV (she has a regular role on ER). Still, fans remember her name from Fame. "People tell me," says the single Gimpel, 37, "Coco inspired them to follow their dreams."
Valerie Landsburg
Landsburg (Doris Schwartz) hit a low point the night the show picked up an editing Emmy in 1985. "I was so drunk I fell out of my chair," she says. "That was a wake-up call." Now 43 and sober, she's wed to composer James McVay (they have two children) and is directing. "But it's okay that Fame is what people know me from," she says.
P.R. Paul
Paul (actor Montgomery MacNeil) has had guest spots "on every bad TV show," he says with a laugh. Now 45 and single, he's producing a film. "If I act again, great," he says, "and if I don't, that's fine too."
David Greenlee
The never-married Greenlee, 41, who played nerdy hall monitor Dwight Mendenhall, now mostly does voice-over work but says Fame taught him that the limelight isn't everything: "You should want the work, you should want the process."
Jesse Borrego
Borrego (dancer Jesse Velasquez) still dances and acts (Con Air, ER) but misses the special ed Fame offered. "I studied with some of the best dancers in the business," says Borrego, 39 and married to actress Valerie Hernandez, 27 (they have one daughter). "Fame was better than school."
Nia Peeples
After a singing career and roles in TV series like Walker, Texas Ranger, Peeples, 39, mother of two and married to stuntman Lauro Chartrand, is now writing a TV script. "Fame was about pursuing dreams," says Peeples (heartbreaker Nicole Chapman). "Everyone can relate."
Lori Singer
After two seasons as cellist Julie Miller, Singer left the sow for films like Footloose. Now 43, the divorced actress (with son Jacques Rio, 10) stays out of the spotlight, living quietly in Manhattan. "She was a child star," says her lawyer Barry Levin. "She wants to preserve her privacy."
Carlo Imperato
During auditions for the role of tender tough guy Danny Amatullo, Imperato, then 17, decided he didn't want the part, before having a change of heart. "I purposely rehearsed my lines wrong," he recalls. Now 38 and living in Sherman Oaks, Calif., with wife Angela and their three children, he's still fickle about fame. Though he costarred in a film he developed with pal Scott Baio (Happy Days), he co-owns four Gold's gyms and builds movie sets. "In show business," he says, "you have to diversify".
Gene Anthony Ray
"When he did his thing, people stopped in their tracks," says costar David Greenlee of Ray, who played dancer Leroy Johnson both in the movie and on TV. But sudden fame led Ray to trouble with booze. "I found comfort in a gin and tonic." he says. "Or six or seven." Living in Italy for the past three years, the never-married Ray, 39, says he is now sober, earning money making public appearances. "They go absolutely crazy for me here," he says.
Debbie Allen
Allen wasn't an experiences mom during her stint as no-nonsense dance teacher Lydia Grant, but she felt like one. "It was like raising teens," says the actress-choreographer, 51, mother to Vivian, 17, and Norman, 14, and married to sports agent Norm Nixon. Post-Fame, she directed and produced and last January opened a dance academy in Culver City, Calif., not far from where the show was taped. Says Allen: "It's like being back on Fame."
Cynthia Gibb
Gibb got an icy reception when she joined Fame in 1983 as rich kid Holly Laird. "I kept calling her Olivia Newton Puke," says costar Valerie Landsburg. But Gibb -- now 37 and living in L.A. with her husband, film producer Scott Kramer, and their 10-year-old daughter -- soon won over both Landsburg and fans. "Fame was the best job anyone could have hoped for," says the TV actress, who is expecting her second child in March. "It was exhausting but exhilarating."


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