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Bob Seagren, Pole Vaulter
Chris Ballard
April 23, 2001
FEBRUARY 20, 1967
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April 23, 2001

Bob Seagren, Pole Vaulter

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FEBRUARY 20, 1967

Bob Seagren won an Olympic gold medal and set six world records in the pole vault between 1966 and '72, but there's a failure that still eats at him. To this day he can't understand how Toni's Boys could have flopped. After all, the pilot of the '80 Charlie's Angels spinoff, in which Seagren co-starred, had TV gold written all over it: The angels are kidnapped and then rescued by three handsome male angels—Cotton, who rides horses; Matt, a master of disguise; and Bob, Seagren's character, an Olympic champion who was often seen without his shirt. "I thought we'd hit pay dirt," says Seagren, 54. "With all the celebrity of the girls' show, we thought it was a can't-miss. For some reason it never got picked up."

It's little surprise that Seagren was chosen for a starring role. His square-jawed, all-American looks turned him into a matinee idol, the Valentino of the vault, and enamored female fans would wait for him in hotel lobbies and call him long distance in the middle of the night. His profile only grew with his Olympic success—the gold in 1968 and a silver in '72—and his surprising victory in the first Superstars competition in '73. After he gave up his amateur status to compete on the International Track Association's professional circuit from '73 to '76, Seagren turned to acting. His first significant part was as a gay character, Dennis Phillips, for two seasons on the sitcom Soap. He followed that with guest turns on Fantasy Island, Love Boat and Wonder Woman; seven unsuccessful pilots ("quite a frustrating experience," he says); and finally a gig as host of PM Magazine from '83 to '86.

These days Seagren lives in Calabasas, Calif., with his second wife, Peggy, and their 3�-year-old twins, Mika and McKenzie. The onetime daredevil, who learned to pole-vault as a teenager in Pomona, Calif., by springing from rooftop to rooftop on bamboo poles he'd picked up from a rug store, now sticks to golf, jogging and tennis. From the offices of his Long Beach-based consulting business, he serves as CEO of International City Racing (which organizes the Long Beach Marathon) and procures sponsorships for a number of entities, including the California Community College Commission on Athletics, which governs sports on the state's 107 junior college campuses.

Though Seagren has filmed a few recent infomercials, his acting career is essentially over. When asked, in light of the success of last year's Charlie's Angels movie, whether it's time for another shot at Toni's Boys, Seagren laughs. "I'm not so sure," he says. "I'm way too old for that now."

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