Careers in the Dunk(leman) Tank

May 29, 2012

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley ... actually, it's Seacrest and Dunkleman.

The world has forgotten Dunkleman.

Who’s Dunkleman? He’s the guy who was Ryan Seacrest’s co-host on the first season of “American Idol.” Dunkleman, whose other career highlights include being named Buffalo’s funniest comic, left the show after that initial season. I always assumed he was fired for not being as smooth, blond and good-looking as Seacrest, but it’s aparently unclear whether he jumped or was pushed.

Regardless, he joins a long list of entertainers who left or were dumped just when fame and fortune was coming their way.

Andrew Ridgeley is a prime example. Partner of the young George Michael in Wham!, he’s been mostly invisible since the duo broke up in 1986 after a run of hits. Don’t feel too bad for Andrew, though; he lives in a restored 15th-century estate, is married to a former member of Bananarama and spends his time playing golf at a 10 handicap.

For an older generation, Pete Best is the name that always comes up in this discussion. Best was the original drummer of the Beatles, and the group got some of its first gigs playing at the Liverpool nightclub managed by Best’s mother. Best may have been dumped because he resisted attempts to clean up the group’s image. (When they started, the Beatles were a bit punky, wearing leather pants and greased-back hair.) In the end, it simply may have been that the lads wanted Ringo, who was a well-known drummer with his own fan following on the Liverpool scene.


Sports is part of the entertainment business, and I’ve always been intrigued by well-known players who left a team just before it went on to championship success. One such player is Nomar Garciaparra, the face of the Boston Red Sox franchise in the late ’90s and early 2000s. The Sox traded him mideway through the 2004 season in a four-team deal that sent Doug Mientkiewicz from Minnesota to Boston. Just two months later, Nomar sat home and watched the Red Sox break the Curse of the Bambino, winning the World Series for the first time since 1918.

Got any others to add?