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A Touch of Class

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Who says child actors have to fade into obscurity? Sixteen years after he won a cult following as the mop-topped star of the 1982-83 fantasy-adventure series Voyagers!, Meeno Peluce still gets stopped on the street. “Kids come up to me all the time and say, ‘Hey, you’re Meeno!’ ” says Peluce, 28. “It’s the funniest thing.”

And gratifying, too, since most kids respond not to his TV image (“They’re too young to remember,” Peluce says), but to his real-life classroom skills. Since 1992, Peluce has taught everything from biology to Spanish in Los Angeles’s public schools; he now teaches history at Hollywood High. “He treats kids like adults,” says Aaron Bolden, 18, a former student. “He’s cool.”

The son of an L.A. accountant and a homemaker turned caterer, Peluce, who also costarred in 1979-80’s The Bad News Bears, says he opted to “put acting aside to get my education” when his shortlived Detective in the House series was canceled in 1985. As half-sister Soleil Moon Frye (Funky Brewster) was tracing his TV footsteps, Peluce earned a degree in literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Teaching seemed a logical step. “I’m performing, and that comes easily,” he says. “But I’m also trying to inspire kids. It’s neat.”

Splitting a house in L.A.’s Echo Park with a pal, the avid photographer likes to go mountain climbing. And oh, yes, he’s also writing a screenplay. “When he was young, we’d ask him, ‘What do you want to do?’ ” recalls his mom. Meeno’s answer: “I want to do it all.”