Hollywood Finds a New Lowe in Teen Idols: Heartthrob Rob's Younger Brother Chad

updated 12/03/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/03/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

Rob Lowe read about his kid brother's good fortune in a magazine. It seems that Chad Lowe, 16, had been interviewed by the Steven Spielberg camp about a part in the producer's new movie, Goonies, which will be directed by Gremlins' Joe Dante. Rob, 20, the heartthrob of such films as Class and The Hotel New Hampshire, was taken aback. Laughingly, he recalls, "I thought, 'I can't even get a meeting with Steven Spielberg.' "

Although Chad didn't get the Goonies part, his credits are impressive nonetheless. His role as the young Bobby Kennedy in the upcoming CBS miniseries about RFK unfortunately got left on the cutting room floor. But last month he portrayed a suicidal teenager in the CBS TV-movie Silence of the Heart, which co-starred Mariette Hartley and Howard Hesseman. And he recently had to drop out of a play at Joe Papp's prestigious Public Theatre in New York because the NBC pilot Spencer, in which he starred as a wisecracking teen, was optioned as a series to premiere December 1.

That is a dramatic turnabout for one who claims he was initially "turned off" by his brother's success and the resulting commotion in the fan magazines. "Chad always said he didn't want to be an actor," says Rob, "so I was a bit cynical and figured, 'We'll see how long this lasts.' But he's really stuck with it."

Of course, it helps to have a brother who's a famous young hunk. "We are all scrambling because there is so much youth product out there," concedes veteran casting director Mike Fenton. "But in the end it doesn't matter if they are related to someone or not. They must be right for the part."

The brothers are supportive of each other. "I'd be the first to admit that I thought his acting stunk when I first saw him," says Chad. "But I think it has improved 150 percent. It's time he gets taken seriously." That goes for young Chad, too, who still has a long way to go to prove himself a durable movie star. In fact, he's still a minor, so when he was filming the Spencer pilot, he had to have an adult supervisor on the set. At times it was Rob. "I was the set-sitter," he laughs. "It was really fun to be Chad Lowe's brother for a while. It's a nice change."

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