Erik Estrada (born March 16, 1949) is a Puerto Rican actor who reached considerable fame as “Ponch” Poncharelo, a California Highway Patrol cop, on the 1977-1983 US television series CHiPs.
Estrada became a teen idol during the era, appearing on the cover of Tiger Beat and other publications. This allegedly caused the jealousy of one of his CHiPs co-workers, and the series was cancelled after six seasons.
In the 1970 Hollywood production of “The Cross and The Switchblade”, Erik played the role of Nicky Cruz alongside actor/singer Pat Boone who played the role of David Wilkerson.
In the 1980s, Estrada had little luck trying to get back into television or movies, but in the 1990s he made a comeback: He played Johnny, a Tijuana trucker, in the Televisa telenovela Dos Mujeres, un Camino. He earned one million dollars for that work and became famous again.
In 2001 he made a brief comeback, playing a principal in Hilary Duff’s tv show, Lizzie McGuire. He has also had a regular role doing voice work for the Cartoon Network show Sealab 2021, which also gave him the opportunity to parody himself. The show has featured several CHiPs homages and his character, First Mate Marco Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is played as a stereotypical Latin macho-man. Estrada also appears in a long-running series of infomercials, selling property in Siskiyou County, California.
He has also often been seen in music videos and most recently appeared 2004 in Eminem’s music video Just Lose it.