November 3, 2000
'Angels' fan finds popularity on the Web
By Whitney Matheson, USATODAY.com
Call him the fourth angel.
Mike Pingel may be an actor, but that's not what brought him to the red carpet of the recent Charlie's Angels premiere. The man behind "http://charliesangels.com/" has gained national recognition because of his passion for the series — a passion which has pretty much evolved into a career.
"Every time something with the Angels happens ... I get more people surfing to my site," he says. And with the movie, I now get about 2,000 people on my site a day."
His site, a simply-constructed domain also known as "Angelic Heaven," contains everything from news updates to photos to exclusive interviews with former Angels. Fan response has been so overwhelming that Pingel even posted a special Angels Halloween page this year, containing details on how to dress as your favorite saucy detective.
"I'm able to speak about the kind of stuff fans want to know," Pingel says, before reeling off a list of Angel dish, including Jaclyn Smith's upcoming appearance on the CBS series Becker. "It's a really fun site to be able to give back to the fans and the actresses."
Pingel's passion for the Angels started in 1977, during the show's second season.
"I fell in love with Cheryl Ladd instantly, and I fell in love with the show," he says. Soon he began collecting Angels magazines, puzzles, anything he could find — well, almost anything.
"My parents wouldn't let me have the dolls," Pingel says. "So the girls who had it up the street, I would say, give me the cardboard it came on!"
Years later, Pingel's pangs returned at a party in L.A., hosted by a collector of celebrity dolls.
"I turned around, and there sat Farrah, Kate Jaclyn — the Jill, the Sabrina and the Kelly dolls. And I'm like, I want those."
These days, Pingel does have the dolls, along with thousands of other Angels merchandise, which he says is neatly displayed in his bedroom. But even though he treasures memorabilia associated with all of the actresses, he doesn't hesitate to name a favorite Angel.
"I love Cheryl Ladd!" he says. "We've had a really nice relationship. I've helped her with her Web site. She's invited me to watch her perform. It's really interesting for me to be on the side of being able to talk to ... the person I kind of idolized. And basically that's the reason I wanted to become an actor — because of Cheryl Ladd."
Pingel's popularity doesn't seem to be slowing down. He appears in a new DVD about the Angels series. He wrote the forward for an upcoming Charlie's Angels photo novel. And, if all goes as planned, his own book about the series will soon be published.
And, as if you had to guess, Pingel had a fabulous time at the movie premiere. Not only did he meet Jaclyn Smith and John Forsyth, but he says the film is fabulous.
"We have three new Angels who kick butt," he says. "The movie is high-action, it's a lot of fun. I'd give it three out of four halos."
You could even say Pingel had a role in making the movie: In its early stages, he attended a production meeting. He even auditioned for a few parts, including the role of Cameron Diaz's boyfriend. But sadly, he didn't get it.
"I kept being promised for a role, but they were having such a hard time with the script, I think I fell through the cracks," Pingel says. "I was very sad, because I would have even loved to do an extra part or something. You know ... that would been a really great feather in my cap."
But who knows? If Hollywood ever makes a Charlie's Angels 2, he just may get his wish.CLOSE WINDOW