A tall, dark, down-to-earth leading man, typically in streetwise parts, Ken Wahl had no previous acting training or experience when he auditioned for, and landed, the role of street gang member Richie Gennaro in Philip Kaufman's "The Wanderers" (1979). His subsequent film work has been sporadic and uneven. Wahl was well-cast as Paul Newman's partner in Daniel Petrie's unsatisfying cop drama "Fort Apache, The Bronx" (1981). He was teamed romantically with Bette Midler in the aptly named "Jinxed!" (1982); their off-screen animosity spilled onscreen. While "The Soldier" (1982) offered his first leading role in an action pic, Wahl fared no better, delivering a rather one-note wooden performance. In Sidney J. Furie's "Purple Hearts" (1984), Wahl was successfully repositioned as a romantic lead, portraying a doctor in Vietnam who falls for a nurse (Cheryl Ladd). His reteaming with Furie, 1991's "The Taking of Beverly Hills" was meant to cast the actor as an action hero, but the results were pallid. As was his second feature with Daniel Petrie, "The Favor" (filmed in 1990; released in 1994), in which he was object of desire of both Harley Jane Kozak and Elizabeth McGovern.