NEW YORK – Fame is fleeting, they say. But these days, Hollywood's aging child stars can capitalize on their celebrity for decades - as long as they're willing to humiliate themselves on reality shows, or in David Spade's (search) new comedy, "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star." (search)
The "Saturday Night Live" veteran plays a fallen child star in the movie, which opens Friday. And he persuaded eight real-life Dickies, including Barry "Greg Brady" Williams and Maureen "Marsha Brady" McCormick, to appear in cameos.
"Everyone was such a good sport," Spade says - but then, being a good sport has become a career for most of these former kiddie stars.
Their triumphs, tragedies and often weird tribulations are an open book, as The Post discovered when we caught up with what we're calling the Dickie Roberts Eight.
BARRY WILLIAMS, Age: 48
Best known as: Oldest brother Greg on "The Brady Bunch." (search) He famously went on a real-life date with the woman who played his mother, Florence Henderson.
He jumped the shark when: Greg wiped out on the surfboard during the classic Hawaii episode. It happened because of that cursed tiki doll he wore around his neck.
Reality TV connection: Williams got pasted by Danny Bonaduce in "Celebrity Boxing," but made up for it with manly performances on "Fear Factor" (search) and "Boot Camp."
What he's doing now: Last summer, Williams appeared in a spoof video by Peter Gabriel called "The Barry Williams Show." And he recently released his own single, "The Real Greg Brady," a spoof of Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady." He lives in L.A. with his wife, Eila, and their infant son, Brandon, who was born in February.
LEIF GARRETT, Age: 41
Best known as: Disco singer, "Tiger Beat" (search) poster boy and '70s teen-girl fantasy.
He jumped the shark when: High on Quaaludes, Garrett drove off a Hollywood freeway in 1979, rolling his Porsche 911 down an 80-foot embankment in a fiery crash that left his best friend, Roland Winkler, paralyzed.
Reality TV connection: His tearful 1999 reunion with Winkler is considered one of the best-ever episodes of VH1's "Behind the Music."
More reality TV: Garrett turned down $45,000 to fight Vanilla Ice on "Celebrity Boxing," he says - "though if I had known that Todd Bridges could kick his butt so easily, I might have reconsidered."
What he's doing now: He wrote and performed a song, "Former Child Star," that runs over the end credits of "Dickie Roberts." Until last year, he also had a hard-rock band called F8. But Garrett broke it up, he says, "when one of my bandmates turned out to be kind of a sexual deviant, who was getting too chummy with some of my fans over the Internet. It was really embarrassing."
COREY FELDMAN, Age: 32
Best known as: One-half of the '80s hard-partying Corey duo, with Corey Haim. The partners-in-crime have starred in seven movies together, including 1987's "The Lost Boys."
He jumped the shark when: He took off his shirt to play a water-ski instructor in 1992's "Meatballs 4."
Reality TV connection: Feldman proposed to his girlfriend, Susie Sprague, on a pay phone during February's "The Surreal Life," and then married her in the show's climactic episode.
What he's doing now: Promoting his third rock CD, "Former Child Star," which was released last August on the Crazy Bastard label.
Off the wall: Feldman's disc includes a song called "Megaloman," which he wrote as a dis to his former pal Michael Jackson. The two fell out over an argument they had on Sept. 10, 2001, after Jackson's big anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden, Feldman told the Orlando Sentinel.
The next day, as Jackson and his entourage were frantically trying to leave New York after the Twin Towers disaster, Feldman tried to get on the bus. Michael refused at first, but then his brother Jermaine snuck Feldman aboard.
DANNY BONADUCE, Age: 44
Best known as: Mighty mite Danny Partridge on "The Partridge Family."
He jumped the shark when: He played a car thief in a 1981 episode of "CHiPs" (search) and got in a nunchucks fight with Erik Estrada.
C'mon, get happy: Bonaduce's 2001 memoir, "Random Acts of Badness," recalls some of his most harrowing moments, including the 1991 night in Phoenix when he got arrested for beating up a prostitute, after discovering the hooker was a transvestite.
What he's doing now: Now that his NBC morning show "The Other Half" (search) is coming to an end, he's mainly hosting the morning drive-time radio show on L.A.'s Star 98.7. Bonaduce smokes three packs a day and has been married for 10 years to a woman he met on a blind date. "If my wife ever left me, I'd be arrested in six months," he says. "She tells me, 'Without me, you're in jail and you know it.'"
DUSTIN DIAMOND, Age: 26
Best known as: Bayside High School nerd Samuel "Screech" Powers on all four "Saved by the Bell" sitcoms, including 1992's "Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style."
He jumped the shark when: Screech dressed up as an alien and got pursued by government agents who thought he really was from outer space.
Reality TV connections: Last year, Diamond famously beat the tar out of 54-year-old Ron "Horshack" Palillo ("Welcome Back, Kotter") on Fox's "Celebrity Boxing 2." "Reality shows are degrading," Diamond says.
What he's doing now: Stand-up comedy at small clubs and colleges. "Normally I do about 15 minutes about Screech," Diamond says. "But it isn't a trip down memory lane. If people are coming down to see me with multicolored pants up to my nipples and a huge pubic forest 'fro on top, they're going to be sadly disappointed."
Shine on, you crazy Diamond: Two years ago, he produced a four-hour instructional chess video. He also plays bass in a progressive rock band, Salty the Pocketknife. And last year, Diamond moved from L.A. to Milwaukee to live with his girlfriend. "A lot of Hollywood is moving to the Midwest," he says.
EMMANUEL LEWIS, Age: 32
Best known as: "The other short black guy," as the 4-foot "Webster" star once described himself to a fan who mistook him for Gary Coleman.
He jumped the shark when: Michael Jackson brought him (and Brooke Shields) as dates to the 1984 Grammys.
Reality TV connection: Lewis bunked with M.C. Hammer for February's "The Surreal Life" on the WB. "This feels like a step backwards," he told Entertainment Weekly at the time.
What he's doing now: Lewis lives in Atlanta, where he owns a record label, Flex Floss. He has a first-degree black belt in karate and filmed a fake "Celebrity Boxing" fight with David Spade for "Dickie Roberts" - "but David had a stunt double do most of the work," Lewis says.
MAUREEN McCORMICK, Age: 47
Best known as: Marcia, the Brady sister with all the looks, brains and talent. Jan was sooo jealous.
She jumped the shark when: McCormick and the other Bradys danced and sang "Shake Your Booty" on the 1977 variety show, "The Brady Bunch Hour."
Reality TV connection: Last year, she hosted "That '70's Home," on HGTV, about avocado-colored carpets, beanbag chairs and other retro '70s decor.
What she's doing now: McCormick lives in L.A. with her husband and 14-year-old daughter. She still acts and last year appeared in a Chicago production of "The Vagina Monologues." In 1995, she recorded a country album with top Nashville session musicians. "It's not as bad as one might guess," critic Pemberton Roach writes in the All Music Guide. "McCormick is a competent singer."
WILLIE AAMES, Age: 43
Best known as: Tommy Bradford, on "Eight Is Enough" and as Scott Baio's much-ridiculed sidekick, Buddy, on the '80s TV show "Charles in Charge."
He jumped the shark when: Tommy got a job playing guitar at a male strip joint.
He found Jesus after: He read the John Belushi biography "Wired" in the late 1980s. Aames turned his life around - kicking a cocaine habit and going to church with his soon-to-be wife, actress Maylo McCaslin Aames. "We got married and baptized on the same day," Aames says.
What he's doing now: Living outside Kansas City with his wife and their 13-year-old daughter, and appearing in a series of "Bibleman" videotapes, about a superhero in blue spandex who carries a sword and fights for the Lord. Aames also performs live "Bibleman" shows that turn into revival meetings, complete with religious conversions.