Erik Estrada
Estrada at the Paradise City Comic Con in 2018
Henry Enrique Estrada

(1949-03-16) March 16, 1949 (age 75)
New York City, U.S.
  • Actor
  • police officer
Years active1970–present
Joyce Miller
(m. 1979; div. 1980)
Peggy Rowe
(m. 1985; div. 1990)
Nanette Mirkovich
(m. 1997)

Henry Enrique Estrada[1] (born March 16, 1949) is an American actor and police officer. He is known for his co-starring lead role as California Highway Patrol officer Francis (Frank) Llewelyn "Ponch" Poncherello in the police drama television series CHiPs, which ran from 1977 to 1983. He later became known for his work in Spanish-language telenovelas, his appearances in reality television shows and infomercials and as a regular voice on the Adult Swim series Sealab 2021.

Early life

Estrada was born on March 16, 1949, in East Harlem, Manhattan, New York, the son of Carmen Moreno, a seamstress, and Renildo Estrada.[1] His parents are of Puerto Rican descent.[2] Growing up, he thought about becoming a police officer but turned to acting after joining the drama club at Louis D. Brandeis High School.[3]



In 1970, Estrada made his film debut in the role of Nicky Cruz, alongside Pat Boone, in the independent film The Cross and the Switchblade. In 1972, he appeared in a small role as a police officer in The New Centurions, which was followed by a significant role in a major motion picture, the Jack Smight disaster film, Airport 1975, where he played Julio, the womanizing flight engineer on a Boeing 747. The following year, he again worked with Smight in the successful military historical epic Midway, as a fictional airman Ens. "Chili Bean" Ramos.

Estrada and Larry Wilcox on CHiPs in 1977.

Beginning in 1977, Estrada co-starred as Frank "Ponch" Poncharello in the TV series CHiPs. In 1978, he began training in martial arts with SeishinDo Kenpo instructor Frank Argelander (Frank Landers), to prepare for a two-part episode of the series. The two appeared on the cover of Fighting Stars Magazine that same year, discussing Estrada's training regimen. On August 6, 1979, Estrada was seriously injured while filming a scene on the set of CHiPs, fracturing several ribs and breaking both wrists after he was thrown from his 600-pound (270 kg) motorcycle.[2]

Later in 1979, Estrada was voted one of "The 10 Sexiest Bachelors in the World" by People magazine and was featured on the cover of the November issue.[2] Following a salary dispute with NBC in the fall of 1981, Estrada was briefly replaced by Olympic Gold Medalist and actor Bruce Jenner. Following co-star Larry Wilcox' 1982 departure from the series amid behind-the-scenes friction, Estrada carried the remaining season of CHiPs without most of the supporting cast from the previous four seasons (who were fired due to budget costs), and the show was eventually canceled in 1983. In the 1980s, Estrada appeared in a string of low-budget films. He made a return to series television in a 1987 three-part episode of the police drama Hunter.

In the 1990s, Estrada played the role of Johnny, a Tijuana trucker, in the Televisa telenovela Dos mujeres, un camino ("Two women, one path"). He shared the main credits with Mexican actresses/singers Laura Leon and Bibi Gaytán. Originally slated for 100 episodes, the show went to 200-plus episodes and became the biggest telenovela in Latin American history.[2] He was reportedly paid 1 million pesos for that role.[4]

In 1994, Estrada began co-hosting the syndicated outdoor adventure show American Adventurer, which ran until 2004.[5] In 1995, he made a special guest appearance as Ponch in punk rock band Bad Religion's music video "Infected", as well as in the video for the Butthole Surfers's video for "Pepper". He has also been seen on a few episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as himself, seen in a daydream cloud in Hilda's mind and driving a car as Hilda zapped herself in his car.

In 1997, Estrada wrote his autobiography, Erik Estrada: My Road from Harlem to Hollywood.[6] In 1998, he returned as the character Francis "Ponch" Poncherello in the TNT made-for-TV movie CHiPs '99, along with the rest of the original cast.


In 2001, Estrada landed a role on the daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful as Eduardo Dominguez.[7] In 2002, he played a game-show host on the Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire with Hilary Duff. He also made a guest appearance on an episode of Spy TV in 2002. He has also had a regular role doing voiceovers for the Cartoon Network show Sealab 2021, where he would parody himself. He also appeared in an episode of another Cartoon Network show, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, which features a character named Moltar who has an obsession with Estrada and CHiPS, as a guest. Estrada has also guest-starred on the children's cartoon Maya & Miguel.

Estrada has appeared in music videos, such as Eminem's music video "Just Lose It". A band named after him (Estradasphere) is based in Santa Cruz, California. Estrada also made guest appearances on The Wayans Bros., Unhappily Ever After, the Nickelodeon comedy Drake & Josh, NBC's Scrubs and My Name Is Earl, and ABC's According to Jim.

Estrada has done a long-running series of infomercials as a national spokesman for National Recreational Properties, selling undeveloped real estate property in such locations as Siskiyou County, California; Lake Shastina, California; California City, California; Ocean Shores, Washington; Colorado; and recently, Tellico Village, Tennessee and Bella Vista, Arkansas.

Estrada began appearing in Burger King TV commercials in September 2009. In the ads, he (playing himself) attended a class on endorsing products led by race car driver Tony Stewart. During the spoof, Estrada seeks to understand why American consumers were not interested in purchasing his "Estrada" sunglasses that noticeably had his last name written boldly across the lens.[citation needed]

More recently, Estrada appeared in a number of reality television shows. In 2004, he starred in both the second season of The Surreal Life and in Discovery Health Body Challenge. He also starred in the short-lived CBS reality show, Armed & Famous. In 2008, Estrada appeared in Husband for Hire, a television movie starring Nadine Velazquez and Mario López. After a series of specials, in 2010, Estrada and Laura McKenzie began co-hosting a weekly series, The World's Funniest Moments, which began as a myNetworkTV series hosted by Arsenio Hall.

In 2011, Estrada was a contestant on the second season of the Spanish Univision reality show Mira Quien Baila, a weekly dance competition similar to Dancing with the Stars, in which he finished in third place out of ten contestants. In 2013, he starred in Finding Faith, a film about a young teenager who is kidnapped from a meeting planned online. The story of sexual predation is based on true incidents investigated by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Estrada toured with the film, aiming to educate parents and young people about the dangers of online grooming.[8]


In 2000, Estrada was named the international "Face" of D.A.R.E. which is a campaign against drugs.[9][10] He also speaks out for the American Heart Association, the United Way, and the C.H.P. 11-99 Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides benefits and scholarships to California Highway Patrol family members, as well as funeral expenses for fallen officers.[10] Estrada's experience in CHiPs led him to become a reserve officer for the Muncie Police Department in Muncie, Indiana.[11] Estrada became spokesperson for the C.H.P.'s "car seat inspection and installation" program. He has made numerous appearances supporting automobile child-seat safety checks across the country.[12] He appeared in Española, New Mexico, on May 28, 2009, to promote the "100 Days and Nights of Summer" traffic safety and anti-DWI campaign that involves the New Mexico State Police.[13]

Law enforcement

Estrada became a reserve police officer for the Muncie, Indiana Police Department, depicted on Armed & Famous. From there, Estrada moved to Virginia, where he was an I.C.A.C. (Internet Crimes Against Children) investigator for eight years in Bedford County, Virginia.[14][15] As of July 1, 2016, he was a reserve police officer in St. Anthony, Idaho. In the course of his duties, Estrada has been filmed patrolling on a police motorcycle.[16]

Personal life

Estrada was married to Joyce Miller in November 1979; the couple divorced in 1980 and had no children.[1] Estrada was married to Peggy Lynn Rowe, an entertainment executive, songwriter, and producer[1] from 1985 until 1990, when they divorced. The couple had two sons, Anthony Erik (born 1986), and pole-vaulter Brandon Michael-paul (born 1987). In 1997, Estrada married film sound technician[1] Nanette Mirkovich. They have one daughter, Francesca Natalia (born 2000).[17] He lives in Studio City, California, U.S.[15][18]

During an episode of Watch What Happens Live in January 2019 Marie Osmond told host Andy Cohen that she had briefly dated Estrada.[19]

Estrada is a member of the Blue Knights motorcycle club.[20] He also rides with the Loyal Order of Moose fraternal and service organization.[20]

Estrada endorsed Republican John McCain in the 2008 United States presidential election.[21]

Estrada was the celebrity guest of the Pekin Marigold Festival in Pekin, Illinois, in September 2017.[22]



Year Title Role Notes
1970 The Cross and the Switchblade Nicky Cruz
1971 Chrome and Hot Leather Uncredited
1972 The Ballad of Billie Blue Justin
Parades Chicano
The New Centurions Sergio
1974 Airport 1975 Julio
1976 Trackdown Chucho
Midway Ensign Ramos
1977 Fire! Frank TV movie
1982 Honeyboy Rico 'Honeyboy' Ramirez TV movie
1983 Where Is Parsifal? Henry Board II
1985 Light Blast Inspector Ronn Warren
The Repenter Salvo Lercara
1987 Hour of the Assassin Martin Fierro
1988 The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission Carmine D'Agostino TV movie
1989 Alien Seed Dr. Stone
Andy Colby's Incredible Adventure
The Lost Idol Sgt. Kurt
Caged Fury Victor
She Knows Too Much Jimmy Alvarez TV movie
1990 Twisted Justice Commander Gage
A Show of Force Machado
Night of the Wilding Joseph
Spirits Father Anthony Vicci
Guns Juan Degas / Jack of Diamonds
1991 Earth Angel Duke
Do or Die Richard 'Rico' Estevez
Gang Justice Billy's Father
Earth Angel Duke TV movie
1992 The Last Riders Johnny
The Divine Enforcer Monsignor
Tuesday Never Comes Micelli
The Naked Truth Gonzales
The Sounds of Silence Lester Maldonado
1993 National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 Officer Francis Poncherello
Angel Eyes Johnny Ventura
1994 Juana la Cubana Coronel Peraza
1995 The Misery Brothers Himself
The Final Goal Rameriez
1996 Panic in the Skies! Ethan Walker TV movie
1998 Visions Detective Francisco Moreno
The Modern Adventures of Tom Sawyer Joe
Shattered Dreams Fredrick
CHiPs '99 Officer Francis (Frank) Poncherello
Lost in Hollywood
1999 King Cobra Bernie Alvarez
2000 Oliver Twisted Dr. Castaneda
Destroying America The Cop
We Married Margo Himself
2001 UP, Michigan! Edward Manchester
2002 National Lampoon's Van Wilder Himself
2004 Border Blues Mexican Cop Morales
2005 Taylor Made William Santos TV movie
2007 Kickin' It Old Skool
Mother Goose Parade Honorary Grand Marshall
Husband for Hire Victor Diaz TV movie
2008 2nd Semester of Spanish, Spanish Love Song
2009 Saving Melanie Wilson Ramirez
2011 Horrorween Contractor
2012 Highway Sanchez
Spring Break '83 Himself
Cool Cat Stops Bullying Himself
Cool Cat in the Hollywood Christmas Parade Hollywood Parade MC (uncredited?)
2013 Finding Faith Sheriff Brown [8]
This Is Our Time Mr. Rowley
Templar Nation Alfred De Molay
Chupacabra vs. The Alamo Carlos Seguin TV movie
2014 Planes: Fire & Rescue Nick 'Loop'n' Lopez (voice)
Virtuous Jack Evans
2015 Cool Cat Saves the Kids Himself (reused footage from Cool Cat Stops Bullying
and Cool Cat in the Hollywood Christmas Parade)
Uncommon Marc Garcia [23]
2016 El Americano: The Movie Punch (voice)
2017 CHiPs Paramedic (uncredited)
2018 Cool Cat Kids Superhero Himself (re-cut of Cool Cat Saves the Kids)
2022 Cool Cat Saves the Kids: The Director's Cut Himself (re-cut of Cool Cat Kids Superhero)
2023 A Knight to Remember Mi Ultimo


Year Title Role Notes
1973 Hawaii Five-O Rono Vidalgo Episode: "Engaged to Be Buried"
1974 Emergency! Man with Eye Injury (uncredited)
1975 Kojak Luis Episode: "Close Cover Before Killing"
Mannix Tropic Episode: "Man in a Trap"
Kolchak: The Night Stalker Pepe Torres Episode: "Legacy of Terror"
Medical Center Mike Moneda Episode: "The High Cost of Winning"
Police Woman Benny Bates Episode: "Don't Feed the Pigeons"
The Six Million Dollar Man Prince Sakari Episode: "The Deadly Test"
1976 Baretta Ortiz Episode: "Dead Man Out"
Barnaby Jones Ruben Episode: "Shadow of Guilt"
The Quest: The Longest Drive Santos
1977–1983 CHiPs Officer Frank Poncherello
1978 The Love Boat Jim Warren Episode: "Julie's Aunt/Where Is It Written?/The Big Deal"
1983 Un solo corazón Luis
1987 Hunter Sgt. Brad Navarro
Rosa salvaje Teniente Rocha
1988 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Vinnie Pacelli Episode: "The Big Spin"
1991 Extralarge: Cannonball Gonzales
1993 Extralarge: Gonzales' Revenge
1993–1994 Dos mujeres, un camino Juan Daniel Villegas 'Johnny'
1994 American Adventurer Host
1995 The Nanny Himself Episode: "Kindervelt Days"
Cybill Guest appearance
1996 The Wayans Bros.
1996–1997 Sabrina the Teenage Witch
1997 Over the Top
We Are Angels Graciano
Baywatch Captain Huntington Episode: "Search & Rescue"
Space Ghost Coast to Coast
Martin Chip Episode: "You Play Too Much"
Homeboys in Outer Space Dork Episode: "How the West Was Lost or, Daddy's Home"
1998 King of the Hill Mexican Judge Episode: "Peggy's Pageant Fever"
1999 Family Guy Ponch Episode: "I Never Met the Dead Man"
Walker, Texas Ranger Brock Episode: "The Lynn Sisters"
Pacific Blue Julio Constanza Episode: "Stargazer"
1999–2000 Walking After Midnight
2000 Popular Himself Guest appearance
Son of the Beach President Seymour Wences Episode: "South of Her Border"
2000–2005 Sealab 2021 Marco (voice)
2001 The Bold and the Beautiful Eduardo Dominguez
Shasta McNasty Himself Guest appearance
2002 Lizzie McGuire# Alejandro Episode: "El oro de Montezuma"
American Family Police Officer Episode: "The Barber Shop"
2002–2005 ¡Mucha Lucha! El Custodio (voice)
2003 Scrubs Himself Guest appearance
2004 Drake & Josh Police Officer Episode: "Driver's License"
The Surreal Life Cast member in season 2 Reality TV series
Maya & Miguel Voice
2005 The King of Queens Himself Voice appearance
JoJo's Circus Mr. Muscles (voice) 3 episodes
Higglytown Heroes Ambulance Driver Hero (voice) Episode: "Kip Joins the Circus/Baby Boom"
2006 According to Jim Himself Guest appearance
Back to the Grind Unsold pilot
2007 Armed & Famous Himself Canceled after 4 episodes
2008 Life Guest appearance
2009 My Name Is Earl Guest appearance on 2 episodes
Meet the Browns Francisco / Mr. Hernandez Episode: "Meet the Mexican"
2010 Big Time Rush Carlos' Dad Episode: "Big Time Break"
2010–2012 Adventure Time King Worm 2 episodes
2011 Mira Quien Baila Univision
Phineas and Ferb Additional voices
2012 Are We There Yet? Lester Episode: "The Green Episode"
2013 Second Generation Wayans Mr. Martinez Episode: "Miss Independent"
2016 Liv and Maddie Mr. Bustamante [20]
Still the King Himself Episode: "A Family, a Fair"
2017 Malibu Dan the Family Man Roman Lockwood 3 episodes
2020 Picture Perfect Mysteries Luis Acosta [15]
2023 The Masked Singer Himself Provides clues
Call Me Kat Rodrigo Episode: "Call Me Ichabod Evel Knievel"
2024 Fallout Adam Episode: "The Radio"


  1. ^ a b c d e "Erik Estrada Biography (1949-)". Film Reference. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Erik Estrada biography". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on November 2, 2011.
  3. ^ Estrada, Erik: 1949—: Actor
  4. ^ "Erik Estrada". Archived from the original on July 19, 2012.
  5. ^ "American Adventurer: Episodes". Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2007.
  6. ^ Estrada, Erik; Seay, Davin (1997). Erik Estrada: My Road from Harlem to Hollywood. William Morrow & Company. ISBN 0-688-14293-1.
  7. ^ a b Erik Estrada at IMDb
  8. ^ a b Metro News "Erik Estrada travels with Finding Faith"
  9. ^ Yahoo Estrada Profile Archived November 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b "Erik Estrada Bio". Archived from the original on January 22, 2018. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  11. ^ ""Erik Estrada to patrol with Indiana police" MSNBC " December 4 2004". December 4, 2008. Archived from the original on December 6, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  12. ^ "FHP Teams Up with TV Star and 21st Century to Promote Child Safety" Archived January 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  13. ^ "'Ponch' Lends a Hand" July 2009 Traffic Safety News. New Mexico Department of Transportation – Traffic Safety Bureau Archived September 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "For CHiPs' Estrada, Life Imitates Art". CBS News. February 11, 2009. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  15. ^ a b c "Picture Perfect Mysteries: Dead Over Diamonds Cast – Erik Estrada". Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Crown Media. n.d. Retrieved February 16, 2020.
  16. ^ Smith, Lisa Dayley (June 19, 2018). "'Superman' Dean Cain joins St. Anthony Police Department reserves". Idaho State Journal. St. Anthony, Idaho. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  17. ^ "lacasting". L.A. Casting. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  18. ^ Mills, Nancy (August 19, 1986). "True Confessions' Episode : Estrada Plays A TV Role He's Suited For: Father". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  19. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Did Marie Osmond Date Erik Estrada?". Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  20. ^ a b c Keller, Joel (May 20, 2016). "Erik Estrada on His 'Liv and Maddie' Guest Spot and Why He's a Cop In Real Life". TV Insider. NTVB Media, Inc.
  21. ^ Oinounou, Mosheh (July 1, 2008). "Ponch endorses McCain". Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved July 1, 2008.
  22. ^ "Pekin Marigold Festival". Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  23. ^ "Uncommon, a Liberty Counsel Film". Archived from the original on February 21, 2015.