In show business, there can be great rewards when actors are double or even triple threats. Behold these actors who sing!

Today’s blog post about actors who sing was partly inspired by my recent obsession with the old WB/CW television show, 7th Heaven. I actually hate that show… I mean, I hate it so much that it’s like a train wreck that I can’t turn away from. I usually end up screaming at the TV when I watch it, and yet I can’t turn away. It’s one of my many quirks. As I was forcing myself to watch old episodes of 7th Heaven last week, I was reminded that sometimes actors decide to sing. Sometimes it makes sense to exploit other talents; while other times, it doesn’t work out so well.

Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks sing on 7th Heaven

Actor Stephen Collins, who played 7th Heaven patriarch Reverend Eric Camden did indeed release a couple of albums, both of which were pitched on the TV show. Beverley Mitchell, who played his daughter, Lucy Camden, also released an album. I recently listened to and reviewed both of Stephen Collins’ CDs. I hated the first one, while the second one didn’t seem that bad. As annoying as I found Collins on 7th Heaven, I think he’s a better actor than singer. It turns out Stephen Collins has also written a couple of novels. I just started reading one and, I must say, it’s decidedly not something I’d expect from Reverend Camden. The above clip is from the television show, 7th Heaven. I couldn’t find any clips from his albums. Having heard those albums, I’m sure there’s a good reason for that.

Lindsay Lohan sings “Over”

There have, of course, been some more famous actors who’ve turned into singers. Lindsay Lohan immediately comes to mind. She used to make cute movies for Disney, then expanded into music. Sadly, Lohan’s career has declined recently, owing to her legal troubles. I don’t pretend to be an expert on Lohan’s music, but I actually kind of like this song. I’d rather listen to her than Stephen Collins, anyway.

Patrick Swayze sings “She’s Like The Wind”

Patrick Swayze famously sang a song for the soundtrack of his 1987 film, Dirty Dancing. “She’s Like The Wind” was a hit, even though it was said that Swayze wasn’t much of a singer. Listening to this, I think Swayze does alright.

Ashlee Simpson sings “Boyfriend”

The first time I ever heard of Ashlee Simpson, she was acting on 7th Heaven alongside Stephen Collins. Later, I found out that she’d actually started as a ballerina and then became a rock star. Her style was very different from that of her sister’s, Jessica Simpson’s. I don’t think Ashlee does too badly with this song. In fact, I think I like her better as a singer than an actress, even if she did do a lame “hoedown” on Saturday Night Live when she was busted for lip syncing.

Lisa Whelchel, “Blair Warner” turns into a Christian singer

If you were around in the 1980s, you might remember actress Lisa Whelchel on the hit sitcom The Facts of Life. She is also a singer and in 1984, she released a Christian album that won awards. Most recently, Whelchel was seen as a contestant on Survivor, where she did surprisingly well.

Tyra Banks sings “Shake Ya Body”

Retired supermodel Tyra Banks has tried just about everything. She’s written a novel, acted in movies, had a couple successful television shows, and yes, she even sang a song. In 2004, Tyra Banks debuted her song “Shake Ya Body” and even turned making the video into a challenge on her hit reality show, America’s Next Top Model. While I don’t think this song is as bad as it could be, I do think Tyra was wise to abandon the music scene and go back to what she does best…

Paris Hilton sings “Stars Are Blind”

While we’re thinking about model types, I might as well include a song by heiress Paris Hilton, who with her friend Nicole Richie, sort of acted on a reality show called The Simple Life. In 2006, she had a minor hit with the song “Stars Are Blind”. I have to admit I didn’t know about this song until I saw a parody of it on YouTube. It’s not bad… not bad at all. I mean, it’s catchy and kind of sultry. I don’t know how much help Paris got with her vocals, but this doesn’t make me cringe. I think I’d still probably prefer the parody, mainly because it makes me laugh. No, Paris didn’t sing the parody… that was done by! I think whoever sang the parody has a better voice than Paris does… but I have to admit, “Stars Are Blind” is kind of a guilty pleasure for me.

Jack Wagner… soap star extraordinaire sings “All I Need”

Jack Wagner famously played Frisco Jones on General Hospital back in the 1980s. Since I didn’t watch that show, I knew him as a singer before I knew him as an actor on Melrose Place, I show I loved in the 1990s. His song “All I Need” takes me right back to 7th grade, where it was often played at school dances. The song is a bit anemic, but pleasant enough for pop. I’d rather see Jack act than hear him sing even though I’d prefer him over Stephen Collins.

Maureen McCormick, aka Marcia Brady, sings “When You Get A Little Lonely”

And finally, here’s a performance by Maureen McCormick, who famously played Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch. There shouldn’t be any surprise that Maureen McCormick released an album. She sang on The Brady Bunch and The Brady Bunch Hour; she released albums in the early 1970s in support of the show; she’s even done musical theater. I’m not sure what possessed her to try to sing country music. She’s not from Nashville and doesn’t sound convincing when she tries to sound like she’s from Nashville. But she has a decent enough voice. I actually own this album. I resisted buying it for seventeen years and finally broke down because I was dying to review it. It’s not bad. It could be much better, though.

Like I said, sometimes actors really can pull it off when they try to sing. And sometimes, they really do need to hang up the microphone.