We chat with the '70s variety-show team about what they're up to today
You may already know that Sonny is pressing the flesh on C-SPAN and Cher is still morphing. Maybe you even know that Donny is starring on stage in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, while sister Marie is hawking dolls on QVC. But what about that other ’70s variety-show team, the Hudson Brothers?
Who They Are: In 1974, after releasing a couple of moderately successful rock tunes, this wavy-haired, polyester-clad trio landed The Hudson Brothers Show, a short-lived variety series on CBS. Sporting bell-bottoms and high-decibel shirts, Bill, Mark, and Brett did broad-as-a-barn sketch comedy (think wigs and wacky accents) interspersed with light, Beatlesy tunes. ”We could sing, act, and at the time, we had all our teeth and hair,” boasts Mark. ”And we were a real family — not the Partridge Family.” Later, the brothers gave the variety format two more stabs with mixed success: A Saturday-morning kids’ series, The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show (1974-75), was followed by 1978’s syndicated Bonkers, which boasted a titillating chorus line, the Bonkettes.
Last Big Credit: A greatest-hits album called So You Are a Star, released by Varese Sarabande Records in June 1995. The brothers spiced up the 20-song album with three new tracks, including one called ”Sweet Cindy,” dedicated to Cindy Williams — the quieter, less nasal half of ’70s sitcom darlings Laverne and Shirley — who has been married for 14 years to brother Bill.
What They’re Doing Now: Wearing more natural fibers, for one thing. And keeping busy behind the scenes. The baby of the group, Brett, 43, has a development deal with Twentieth Television, where he’s working on a pop-culture game show called Your American Pop Quiz. The wackiest brother, Mark, 44, after a stint as a bandleader on Fox’s The Late Show, is penning ditties for heavy metalers like Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper. (He earned a Grammy nomination as cowriter of the 1994 Aerosmith hit ”Livin’ on the Edge.”) Mark also had a recent brush with scandal: Last year he was reportedly fired from his job as a Hollywood Records exec after being accused of sexual harassment, an allegation he denies. Meanwhile, the hunkiest Hudson, Bill, 46, who was once married to actress Goldie Hawn, has a production company with wife Williams. The two have also appeared on an infomercial shilling gourmet dog food.
Words of Wisdom: ”I’m not only surprised we survived the ’70s, I’m surprised anyone wants to revisit it,” says Mark. Sums up Brett: ”A pink satin shirt with white platforms — would I save those clothes? I don’t think so.” He adds: ”When people remember us, they can’t quite figure out what we did, but they know that whatever we did, they liked.”
What We’d Like to See: A Hudson Brothers reunion on the Aloha Deck of Love Boat: The Motion Picture.