November 28, 1994 12:00 PM

IN 1978, Leif Garrett was riding the crest of his fame as a teen heartthrob. “My gut feeling is that it’s just something I’ll pass through on the way to something else,” he said then. “Guys like us are going to be the leading men of the future.”

Not without a fight. At 33, Garrett blames “a weird, teen-idol stigma thing” for his inability to line up anything beyond low-budget film roles. The actor has had better luck in love. After a two-year relationship with Justine Bateman ended in 1989, Garrett began dating actress Elaine Bilstad, who now shares his West Hollywood home. Marriage isn’t in the offing, but Garrett has made a vow. “Even if I have to pump gas,” he says, “I’d rather do that than another B movie.”

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