The stunning disparity between mild-mannered Jon Bauman and his creation and alter ego, the inimitable "Bowzer," has raised a lot of eyebrows in the entertainment industry. That's because Jon's portrayal of "Bowzer," star of "Sha Na Na" for 14 years, was so convincing that the casual observer was certain this hilarious, gangly greaser actually stalked the streets of Brooklyn when he wasn't appearing with the group. Later, when Jon Bauman washed the grease right out of "Bowzer’s” hair, he surfaced as one of the most multi-dimensional performers in show business today, with careers as host, producer, writer, performer, actor, musician and social activist!
Jon, like "Bowzer," was born in Brooklyn, but there the resemblance ends. Jon was something of a child prodigy at the piano, and started classical lessons at age seven. He attended the prestigious Juilliard School beginning age 12 and ultimately graduated Magna Cum Laude from equally prestigious Columbia College in New York.
In 1969, Jon joined several of his Columbia classmates in "Sha Na Na" and created the character of "Bowzer." With "Bowzer" the dominant character on stage, Jon was a major force in leading the group to their successful TV series. At its peak, "Sha Na Na" was the #1 syndicated show in America, and was also seen in 32 foreign countries. The series ran for four years first-run and another three in syndicated strip.
While remaining the star of "Sha Na Na," Jon branched out on his own and made over 150 solo appearances. He guest starred on programs ranging from "The Barbara Mandrell Show" to "Super Password," and guest hosted such shows as "An Evening at the Improv." He also appeared with the group in the phenomenally successful movie, "Grease," and sang the "Born To Hand Jive" number on the "Grease" album, then the biggest-selling soundtrack album of all time.
When Jon left "Sha Na Na" in the mid-80's, he began to explore his many talents even further. In a 180-degree turnaround from "greaser" to game show host, he hosted the "Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour" on NBC and the nationally syndicated "Pop 'N' Rocker Game." Jon then spent two years as one of the original "VJ’s” on the music channel, "VH-1." Jon next wrote and hosted LBS Communications' twelve-part series "The Story of Rock 'n' Roll." The following year, he became co-host of KHJ's "L.A. In The Morning," having broadened his skills to an issue-oriented talk show! On the acting front, Jon has appeared on several episodics such as "Miami Vice" and he's also been active in voice-overs for animated series like "Animaniacs" and feature films, including "My Little Pony" and "The Jetsons." Jon has successfully added the producer's and writer's caps to his versatile career picture. Jon Bauman Productions followed "The Story of Rock 'n' Roll" with "The Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll," a ten-hour series for A & E. Jon also served as executive producer, writer and host of "Bowzer's Rock 'n' Roll Party" (Jon Bauman Productions in association with Tribune Entertainment). This 2-hour special aired on 120 stations. The same year, Jon produced, wrote and hosted "Blast to the Past," a one-hour special based on the Disneyland 50's promotion of the same name.
Jon's live show, "Bowzer's Original Doo-Wop Party", was the most successful production show ever at Atlantic City's TropWorld Hotel and Casino. Jon has been performing ever since with his group, Bowzer and the Stingrays, at casinos, theatres, fairs, amusement parks, cruise ships and conventions all over the country and the world. He has recently hosted the last three PBS Doo-Wop pledge break specials!
Jon Bauman freely gives what's left of his time to several causes. Most significantly, in his capacity as Chairman of the Truth In Music Committee at the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, Jon co-authored and promoted the Truth In Music Bill which has become law in 34 states so far. This Bill is designed to stop the spread of impostor musical groups, which dupe the public and steal the jobs and legacy of the authentic artists.
Jon lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 46 years, Mary, who is Clinical Director of School Programs at The H.E.L.P Group, for the education of children on the autism spectrum. Their own children Nora and Eli both graduated from Columbia, where Jon went to college.
There's no telling where the multi-faceted Jon Bauman will turn up next, but one thing's for sure — he's going to be a major force in the world of entertainment for a long time to come!