Remember When: Jon Bon Jovi Appeared in 10 Episodes of the TV Series “Ally McBeal”

There’s a saying that rock stars want to be movie stars and vice versa. In 1996, when Bon Jovi went on their second hiatus following the lukewarm success of their These Days album, frontman Jon Bon Jovi explored other vistas. He released his second solo album Destination Anywhere in 1997, and he also dove into acting. He’d started doing films in 1995 with Moonlight and Valentino, playing the romantic interest of Elizabeth Perkins, and followed that up over the next five years with several indie films, including Little City, The Leading Man, and Homegrown, in which he played a suburban weed dealer.

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The singer’s bigger break came when he appeared in the big-budget World War II thriller U-571, in which he appeared as a naval lieutenant. However, with the success of the band’s comeback album Crush in 2000, he had to put the brakes on his thespian aspirations. There simply wasn’t time for him to pull double duty.

In 2002, Bon Jovi had the opportunity to appear in 10 episodes on the fifth and final season of the Fox TV series Ally McBeal playing the title character’s love interest. As Victor Morrison, he portrayed the plumber who charmed the titular lawyer, and over the span of 10 episodes the duo tried to get it together, although their romance was not destined for the ages. One could imagine the gasps from Bon Jovi fans when Calista Flockhart’s character told him that she was in love with someone else. Hey, it happens.

The Ideal Role

Victor Morrison was the ideal role for Bon Jovi at the time, especially because he had retained his rock heartthrob status and was easy on the eyes for the ladies. He often was cast in working class roles, and here he got to serenade Ally with his cover of Tom Waits’ “I Hope I Don’t Fall In Love With You.” (Bon Jovi is a big Waits fan.)  The Ally McBeal role was not intended to last, however, as Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora were writing songs for a new album called Bounce. But since the famous frontman was out in L.A. at the time, why not take on a TV role?

During an interview with the New York Post in 2002, Bon Jovi was asked if he found more respect being on television rather than as a rock star. He replied, “TV is a tough gig. Respect? Look at poor Calista Flockhart. I never met this kid before, and on the first day, our first scene together, she has to sniff my rear end. I’m bent over and she has to sniff my butt like a dog. I thought this is a tough gig, nice to meet ya. She told me later this wasn’t the first butt she had to sniff for the show.”

While his television role did not set the world on fire, it kept Bon Jovi in public view in a different way. Over the next nine years he would appear in four other movies, most notably as a dispatcher of the undead in Vampires: Los Muertos and as (shocker) a big-time rocker in the dramatic anthology New Year’s Eve. He has also appeared as himself a couple of times on the small screen as well, including episodes of 30 Rock and The West Wing.

Don’t Expect a Bon Jovi Musical

Bon Jovi has never appeared in a play or musical, but the band’s keyboardist David Bryan landed on the Great White Way twice, having composed music for the Broadway shows Memphis and Diana, The Musical in collaboration with co-lyricist/book writer Joe DiPietro. Memphis ran for nearly three years and won four Tony Awards – Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score Written for the Theatre, and Best Orchestrations, of which Bryan won the latter two.

Don’t expect a Bon Jovi musical, however. The singer recently told Variety, “I’ve been asked to do that 100 times. Everybody wanted to write the story of Tommy and Gina [from “Livin’ on a Prayer”], but I’m going to guess that ABBA did it and ‘Jersey Boys’ did it, and they did it really well many, many years ago. So I have turned down that opportunity time and again. I do recall all those years ago when I saw ‘Jersey Boys,’ and I went, ‘Oh, that’s our story.’ That’s every band’s story. So our story isn’t that unique. And then I thought, OK, if you take the characters of Tommy and Gina and build two and a half hours around the catalog and their life, then it’s ‘Mamma Mia.’ So that’s not unique.” 

It’s better to stick with original new ideas, as he and Bryan did with their respective non-band projects.

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Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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