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John Friedrich (born March 15, 1958, California) is an American film actor.
A talented and enigmatic character actor of the 1970s and early 1980s, John Friedrich is probably best known for his portrayal of Joey Capra in The Wanderers (1979), Philip Kaufman's film adaption of Richard Price's novel.
A familiar face on television throughout the '70s, Friedrich made guest starring appearances on the police drama series, Baretta, and The Streets of San Francisco. He also had a strong supporting role in the John Travolta telefilm, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. In 1984 Friedrich played the lead role of Marshall Weatherly in The Paper Chase episode "Not Prince Hamlet".
In 1978, he appeared in the much-criticized disco film, Thank God It's Friday. The year later he was cast as Joey in The Wanderers. In 1982, he worked alongside James Woods in the prison drama, Fast-Walking, in which he portrayed a gay convict called "Squeeze."
Another of Friedrich's most recognizable roles was as Frank Cleary, the oldest of the Cleary brothers, in the 1983 mini-series, The Thorn Birds; based on the novel by Colleen McCullough. In both The Thorn Birds, and Friedrich's final film release, The Final Terror, he worked with the British actress Rachel Ward.
After working in The Thorn Birds, Friedrich ended his film career.
The Final Terror, which was filmed in 1980 under the title Three Blind Mice, was released (after Friedrich's retirement) due to the popularity of its female leads: Rachel Ward and Daryl Hannah.
At the peak of his career with The Thorn Birds; Friedrich retired to New Mexico, married, started a family, and began a career as a financial consultant. He also became something of a cult icon as his films developed a cult following. Rumors persisted about him, including one recurring myth that he was working as a live-in gardener for his Wanderers co-star, Ken Wahl, who had gone on to success in the television series Wiseguy.
There has also been confusion between the film actor, and an Australian criminal and former government official of the same name who committed suicide in 1991. At least one website, listing actors (Answers.com) has claimed that the actor and the criminal, John Friedrich, are one and the same.
In 2007, Friedrich resurfaced when he appeared on stage at the University of Hawai'i to discuss his films with UH professor, Marc Moody. During this stage appearance, Friedrich shared anecdotes of his decade-long career and commented that he would like to return to acting, to "complete that chapter" in his life.