main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Creator: Leif Garrett
Garrett in 1979.
Leif Per Nervik, aka Leif Garrett (b. November 8, 1961) is an American singer, actor and former Teen Idol. Since the age of five, he has appeared in numerous productions in many mediums, including television (including his Star-Making Role as Endy Karras on Three For The Road), film, stage and records.

Garrett has had many run-ins with the law, particularly regarding his long-running drug habit. An episode of Behind The Music in 1999 reconciled him with his former best friend who he unintentionally paralysed in a substance-fuelled car accident.

Garrett is now a commentator on The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest, where he often showcases his self-deprecating humour in regards to his life, career and legal troubles. He's also appeared on other reality programs such as Fear Factor and Celebrity Rehab.

    open/close all folders 


    Non-Album Singles Discography 
  • "Happy Birthday" (2002)
  • "Betty Ford For Christmas" (as Leif Garrett and The Crush-Ups) (2004)
  • "Hot Blooded" (2007)
  • "The Final Coutdown" (2007)
  • "I Was Made For Dancin' Remix" (2007)
  • "American Pie" (2008)
  • "Home Sweet Home" (2008)
  • "Sky High" (2009)
  • "Merry X-mas Everybody" (2009)
  • "Play That Funky Music (White Boy)" (2010)
  • "Everything" (with Craig Else) (2010)
  • "Help You, Make You" (with Craig Else) (2012)
  • "Old Man" (with Craig Else) (2012)

  • Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)
  • Walking Tall (1973)
  • Devil Times Five (1974)
  • Macon County Line (1974)
  • Walking Tall Part 2 (1975)
  • God's Gun (1976)
  • Paper Tigers (1977)
  • Kid Vengeance (1977)
  • Walking Tall: Final Chapter (1977)
  • Skateboard (1978)
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978)
  • Longshot (1981)
  • The Outsiders (1983)
  • Shaker Run (1985)
  • Thunder Alley (1985)
  • Delta Fever (1987)
  • Cheerleader Camp (1987)
  • Party Line (1988)
  • The Banker (1989)
  • The Spirit of '76 (1990)
  • Dominion (1995)
  • The Whispering (1996)
  • The Next Tenant (1998)
  • I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998)
  • The Art of a Bullet (1999)
  • Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003)
  • Popstar (2005)
  • Fish Mich (2009)

    Television Work 
  • Nanny and the Professor (1970)
  • Black Noon (1971)
  • Circle of Fear (1973)
  • Strange Homecoming (1974)
  • The Last Survivors (1975)
  • Three for the Road (1975) (cancelled after 13 episodes)
  • Flood! (1976)
  • Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion (1977)
  • Family (1978)
  • Wonder Woman (1978)
  • CHiPs (1979)
  • VH-1's 8-Track Flashback (19951996)
  • American Black Beauty (2005)
  • Celebrity Fear Factor (2005)
  • Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge (2007) (cancelled after 6 episodes)
  • The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest... (2008-present)
  • Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (2010)

This actor/musician shows examples of:

  • Abusive Parents / Disappeared Dad: Had an abusive father as a very young child. The father ultimately deserted his family, but apparently there's been an effort for reconciliation.
    • He alludes to this in the song "Just Like Me".
  • Adorkable: In this clip from his Elimidate episode.
  • Album Title Drop: The albums Feel The Need, Can't Explain, Same Goes For You and My Movie of You are all named for lines in their songs.
  • Audience Participation: His recent live gigs often involve inviting audience members to sing with him onstage.
    • He's also used "I Was Made For Dancin'" an an Audience Participation Song. At the halfway mark, he invites audience members onstage to dance with him.
  • Bishōnen: Or he was so, during the first wave of his fame.
  • Break Up Song: "Borrowed Time", "Alive (Today)".
  • Brother-Sister Team: Was this with his younger sister, Dawn Lyn. They appeared in many television and film spots together, where some of the storylines resulted in rather awkward situations.
  • Butt Monkey: Is frequently made fun of on World's Dumbest, though always in a lighthearted way.
  • The Cameo: As an actor he's had quite a few of these, but one worthy of note is his self-parodying one on Family Guy.
  • Careful With That Axe: In many of his songs, naturally during his cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
  • The Casanova: Definitely this in his younger years, but he still pulls the chicks even now. This is touched on in his bio on the Meeting House Productions website:
  • Cash Cow Franchise / The Merch / Merchandise-Driven: In the late 1970s, he was this. He appeared in everything from records, television specials and magazines to even notebooks.
  • Child Popstar: Released his debut album at age fifteen, and was playing guitar and singing at least two years before then.
  • Christmas Songs: Played straight with many of his Christmas covers, including Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody". Subverted with one of his original songs, "Betty Ford For Xmas", about life as a drug user.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Plays up this within his projected image and shows shades of this in real life as well.
  • Contractual Purity: This and the various other pitfalls of fame is said to have contributed to his drug use.
  • Cover Version: Is known for these. He's performed everything from "Happy Birthday" to "Smells Like Teen Spirit". In fact, his Breakthrough Hit was a cover of The Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA".
    • He's also covered "Singin' in the Rain", "Bad to Me", "California Girls", "Put Your Head on My Shoulder", "Johnny B. Goode", "That's All", "Stuck in the Middle With You", the list goes on...
    • Plus he's covered songs like "Lola", "Hot Blooded", "Home Sweet Home", "Sky High", "The Final Countdown" and "Play That Funky Music (White Boy)" for iTunes releases.
    • And that's not even going into the covers he's done live.
  • Dream Team: Has collaborated with the Melvins and punk-rock artist Craig Else.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Ironically, he covered the song "Kicks" in 1979 for the album Same Goes For You, around the same time he confessed to beginning his drug use.
    • His 2004 collaboration with The Crush-Ups, "Betty Ford For X-mas", is a satire of Garrett's own life as a drug user.
  • Earworm: ''I! Was made for dancin'! All-all-all-all night long!''
  • Fake Brit: Affects a British accent in some of his songs, most noticeably in "Same Goes For You."
  • Former Child Star: Parodied in his role on Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. He even sings a song on the soundtrack with this trope almost word-for-word as its very title, and contributes vocals to the song "Child Stars on Your Television".
  • Guy Liner: Is almost never seen without wearing eyeliner nowadays.
  • Hidden Depths: Had been playing the guitar and singing since the age of thirteen. Apparently he's also a decent visual artist, and according to Rachel Uchitel, pretty damn good at baking cookies.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Uses this to full effect on World's Dumbest when criticizing the subjects of the videos for their outlandish, lawbreaking behavior. Of course, it is all Played for Laughs.
  • Idol Singer
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: His name is pronounced 'Layf', not 'Leaf' or 'Life'.
    • Berserk Button: Mispronounce Leif's name while talking to any fangirl and prepare to run for your life...
    • Spell My Name with an S: Has had his first name frequently misspelt as 'Lief', and his last name misspelt as 'Garret'.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: People often comment, in various media and in Real Life, about how cute Garrett was as a teenager.
  • Keet: Oh yeah.
  • Like Is, Like, a Comma / Speaking Like Totally Teen / Totally Radical: His Southern Californian upbringing coupled with his youthful personality cause him to speak like this.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: At the peak of his fame.
  • Love Is A Drug: He also covered the song "Love Is The Drug" by Roxy Music.
  • Love Nostalgia Song: "Still I Wish"
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Are You Satisfied?"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Symptoms". The song speaks of a dying relationship to an upbeat soundtrack.
  • Meaningful Rename: After his father had left the family, Leif's mother suggested he change his name for his burgeoning acting career. He initially went by 'Leif Per' (Per is his middle name), but found that casting agents had trouble pronouncing it. One day he received a paycheck that was accidentally addressed to a 'Leif Garrett'. After he and his mother discovered that the name 'Garrett' meant 'mountain' and denoted strength, he then decided to adopt that name.
  • New Sound Album: Went from a Disco/Teen-Pop sound during his heyday (though he has acknowledged that this sound was due to Executive Meddling) to an Alternative Rock / Grunge sound in the 1990s.
    • Then again, Feel The Need was this to Leif Garrett. The disco sound was adopted in favour of the Power-Pop, Pop-Rock treatment of covers used beforehand. His subsequent Teen Idol catalog had a mixture of both sounds.
  • Nice Guy: Despite his rather troublesome life, he's softly-spoken, always has time for the fans, and is said to be one of the most genuine and sweetest guys in show business. It's also the reason why his subsequent breakdown took many by surprise.
  • Not Christian Rock: He claims the song "Sight Unseen" to be this, despite the fact he performed it with the Christian Metal group Liberty n' Justice.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity / Smarter Than You Look / Genius Ditz: Is actually an incredibly deep, creative and intelligent man despite his portrayed image.
  • Odd Friendship: Has had a few of these. Some include Tiger Woods' mistress Rachel Uchitel and the late great Heath Ledger.
  • Perishing Alt Rock Voice: Currently employs this in his music.
  • Police Brutality Gambit: Has pulled non-physical variations of this in regards to his recent drug arrests.
  • Reality Subtext: In the 1985 movie Thunder Alley, Garrett plays the frontman of a rock band who is pushed aside for a younger, more promising guitarist. On top of that, the group is torn apart by drugs. Hmmmm...
    • His character in The Outsiders, Bob Sheldon, is a heavy drinker.
  • Real Men Wear Pink
  • Sanity Slippage Song: "I Know".
  • Silly Love Songs: When he wasn't performing covers, he was performing these. "When I Think of You" and "Living Without Your Love" are two of his most famous examples.
  • Stepford Smiler: A self-confessed Type A during the height of his fame.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Pulls this a lot on World's Dumbest.
  • Teen Idol: A classic, if somewhat tragic, example. His fanbase in the late 1970's and, to a lesser extent, the early 1980's and late 1990's rivaled that of Justin Bieber or One Direction today.
  • Title Only Chorus: "I Know". Literally.
  • Type Casting: Had this happen three times in his career. In his days of being a child actor, he was often cast as the Creepy Child, often Wise Beyond Their Years. In adolescence, he was without exception cast as The Hero, often a purity sue. In adulthood, he often flip-flops between Adam Westing and playing the sexy Card-Carrying Villain.
  • What Beautiful Eyes: With those piercing hazel peepers (definitely NOT blue, despite what some would have you believe), then heck yes.
  • Vocal Evolution / Harsh Vocals: Went from a polished alto in the late 1970s to a deep, husky growl in his Alternative period.
ChicDiscoWhitney Houston
Serge GainsbourgMusicians/PopOleg Gazmanov
Galaxie 500Music of the 1980sThe J. Geils Band
Brad GarrettActorsGreer Garson
GarbageMusic Of The 1990sGeto Boys
ForeignerThe SeventiesGenesis

alternative title(s): Leif Garrett
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy