Richard Bartlett "Ricky" Schroder, Jr. (born April 13, 1970) is an American actor and film director. He debuted in the film The Champ (1979), going on to become a child star on the sitcom Silver Spoons. He has continued acting as an adult, notably on the western miniseries Lonesome Dove (1989), and the crime-drama series NYPD Blue. Schroder was born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York and raised on Staten Island, New York City. He is the son of Diane, an employee at AT&T which is also the same company that employed his father, Richard Bartlett Schroder, Sr. After his older sister, Dawn and he were born Rick's mother quit her job to raise the children. A good-looking child, Schroder's mother began taking him to photo shoots when he was only three months old. In his own words, he must have been a natural, because he started working right away, never having taken an acting lesson in his life. He appeared in many catalogs, and by the time he was six years old, he had appeared in sixty advertisements. Leaping from commercials to the silver screen, Schroder made his acting debut as the son of Jon Voight's character in the 1979 remake of the 1931 film The Champ. Schroder performed so well in his first role, that in 1980 he was nominated for and subsequently won a Golden Globe award for Best New Male Star of the Year in a Motion Picture at the age of nine. After winning the Golden Globe, Schroder embarked on a three-month publicity tour around the world. He toured the locales of Asia and Europe, even meeting the Queen of England and the Pope.
Following his role in The Champ, Schroder was removed from school by his parents in the third grade to focus on his career. He moved to Los Angeles with his mother, but his father remained in New York and kept his job with AT&T. Every weekend, Rick Sr. would fly to Los Angeles to see his wife and son. In the following year, he made a Walt Disney feature film called The Last Flight of Noah's Ark with Elliott Gould. He also starred as the title character in the film Little Lord Fauntleroy alongside Alec Guinness in 1980. Schroder became well known as the star of the series Silver Spoons, playing Ricky Stratton. He portrayed the spoiled child of his millionaire father, Edward Stratton, played by Joel Higgins. In a make-believe upbringing that was similar to his own at the time, young Ricky was trying to live as a normal child in spite of his special status. His success on the show earned him two Young Artist awards. Like many other child stars, Schroder struggled with his identity as an actor when Silver Spoons ended. Prospective roles were few and far between, and mainly he was sought after to play the boyish looking teenager or blond-haired heart throb. Instead of succumbing to the perils that have befallen many other child actors, such as alcohol, drugs and crime, Schroder reinvented himself. He dropped the 'y' from his first name and ensured that his new label as 'Rick Schroder' did not derive itself from his former child persona. His mother enrolled him in Calabasas High School in Calabasas, California, to finish his senior year. Schroder found the environment alien to him, and he had trouble adjusting. He and the other kids didn't necessarily get along right away. Having spent his formative years with a tutor instead of in a classroom, simple things such as sitting in class all day and raising his hand to speak were foreign concepts that he had trouble adjusting to. In 1988, the year after Silver Spoons ended, he starred in a prime-time CBS-TV feature movie based on a true story, the serious drama Too Young the Hero, playing a 12-year-old who passes for 17 to enlist in World War II. He made an appearance as the guest timekeeper in Wrestlemania 2 for The Main Event steel cage match between Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy. Schroder was ranked #18 in VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Kid Stars and #33 in VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Teen Stars.