He could be called one of televisions most enduring actors. A veteran actor of nearly 30 years. Willie Aames first captured national attention as "Tommy Bradford" on the hit television series "Eight is Enough". Aames also played "Buddy Lembeck" in the Hit comedy series "Charles in Charge" his 14th network television series to date. But life wasen't always good for Willie Aames.
"Hollywood can be a very nasty place" states Aames, and he would know. After twenty years of Drugs, alcohol, and living a very fast lifestyle. Aames came to a dead end in his life.
"By the time I was nineteen I was making nearly a million dollars a year. I had cars, boats, a house near the beach in Southern California, had met or dated the most famous people on the planet, and still felt like a complete loser. All I could think of was... there must be something better than this."Aames soon found himself battling a three gram a day cocaine habit, his marriage had turn to disaster and he was in financail ruin. "No matter what I had or did, I couldn't shake the feeling that I didn't fit in anywhere. I was angry, tired and lonely." After three months of attending a twelve step program Aames became curious about the concept of God.
People kept talking about God as I understood Him... As I understood Him?! I'm an addict and a alcoholic! If I worshiped a God of my own understanding, one that I had created in my own mind, wouldn't I be worshiping an alcoholic/addict God? No thanks, been there. Look where it got me." It wasn't long after he started looking for answers to "the big question" before Willie's attention was drawn to a local radio ministry by a friend. "This girlfriend of mine kept saying... you've got to check out this guy on the radio, he'll make you laugh. So I checked him out. And for the first time in years... I did laugh. I'll never forget it."
Shortly after that Willie and his girlfriend went to visit the pastors church in person. "When we got there, all I felt was warmth. And some people got up to give their testimonies. I was blown away. Here were other people just like me, that had ruined everything about their lives. They said that Jesus Christ had turned it around and now they truly had peace and hope. Hope? That was the part that blew me away. I never knew I needed hope until that day. I had heard about Jesus, but had never thought of Him as hope. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior that morning."
Three months later Willie and his girlfriend were baptized on a Sunday morning and married that same afternoon. Willie's eyes shine as he remembers. "The second greatest gift the Lord has given me... was watching my girlfriend become my sister in Christ, then giving her to me as a wife. She was beautiful that morning, and has become more beautiful to me every year since. I don't deserve it."
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Good News! Today, Willie Aames and his wife Maylo, enjoy Willie's 15 year old son Christopher and thier 6 year old daughter Harleigh Jean, in the "down home" atmosphere of a small Kansas town just south of Kansas City, Kansas.
"I have a dream life" smiles Aames. "I live in a great place, I'm blessed with a wife. children and a job I love. Our company produces programs that try to honor God and impact our world. And I get to do it with the greatest gift of all... a sense of purpose and belonging. I'm not lonely anymore." Willie has now become Vice President of Pamplin Entertainment. His first assignment... To Portray "Bibleman". A live action Super Hero who uses the word of God to defeat numerous villains and impart scriptural character building lessons throughout the show.
Aames, is full tilt into videos production for kids with his own unique brand of action and technology. In addition to Bibleman, he has put together a series for older kids, Micky Masters. "I'm more Bible-thumping than most video producers," he explains, "Everyday part of my existence is to talk about God and pray, and I try to make that a natural part of the characters in the videos without cramming it down anybody's throat."