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Name the greatest wingmen of the '80s (aka Vinnie Delpino needed a nickname!)

doogie_howser_vinnie.jpgDid the '80s give birth to the term "wing man?" Or just perfect its usage? Think about it. How many of us had even heard the term used much before we were bludgeoned to death with it in Top Gun? ("You never, EVER leave your wingman!") And come to think of it, Anthony Edwards as "Goose" made a near-perfect wingman. (Up until the point where he dies, I suppose.)

Another great wingman of the '80s has a birthday today. I speak, of course, of Max Casella, better known as Vinnie Delpino in Doogie Howser, M.D. For four years, Vinnie was the trusty wingman for Doogie. These days, if you want to catch Casella acting, you'd need to buy a ticket to NYC -- Max is more of a Broadway guy nowadays. But if you look carefully when flipping the channels at home late Friday nights, you'll see Casella in Sgt. Bilko, Newsies, Ed Wood and even the new HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

How come Casella couldn't cash in further on his Howser days? I think it's because he didn't have a nickname. Seriously, most great wingmen have nicknames!

Happy 44th birthday, Max. And be proud to be at least one entry in today's list of the greatest wingmen of the '80s. Here are five obscure picks. Be ready to add your own suggestions at the end.

CLARENCE (aka "Trigger"): Sean Astin played the horny wingman to Kirk Cameron in 1987's Like Father, Like Son. Is it a great movie? Not by a longshot. But Astin has his moments. Notable quote: "The name's Trigger, as in 'horse,' as in 'hung like.' "

GORDON BLOOMFELD: Arye Gross played the "white" roommate to C. Thomas Howell in 1986's Soul Man, a movie that's far funnier than we remember. Notable quote: "A black Negro? He never told me he was a black Negro. Thank you. Boy, just when you think you get to know somebody. I'm gonna go confront him with this information right now."

BARNEY BENAR: Paul Rodriguez played the conman/friend to Michael O'Keefe in 1986's The Whoopee Boys, a movie that was much, MUCH better back when I was in college than it is today. (Trust me, I now sadly own the DVD.) Notable quote: "I wanted to thank you for only giving me the clap. These days it's refreshing to meet a girl with curable diseases."

RUPERT "STILES" STILINSKI: Jerry Levine -- good or evil wingman? You can argue it either way in 1985's Teen Wolf. If I'm Michael J. Fox, it might be giving Stiles the thumbs down. Notable quote: "OK, Chubby. What you've got to do is eat this entire bowl of jello."

COREY FLOOD: In 1989's Say Anything, Lili Taylor proves you don't have to be male to be a wingman. You just need to have Lloyd Dobler as your BFF. Notable quote: "The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don't be a guy."

Add your own picks!

[Last modified: Monday, June 6, 2011 9:27am]


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