News Former Actor Finds Solace in the Desert

Former actor finds solace in the desert

Pool service owner overcomes addictions, motorcycle injuries; prides himself in giving back to community

Doreen Shenassa
The Desert Sun
May 12, 2005

With a sense of humor and a positive attitude, Tim Priehs has overcome harsh obstacles.
The scars across his back and down his spinal column are a result of a surgery he endured to rebuild his spine after a severe motorcycle crash in 2003.

Priehs doesn't play golf anymore or ride his Harley. Instead, he uses a walking stick to aid him and took up Bikram yoga six days a week, practicing a series of 26 poses in a room heated to 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

People with chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and thyroid disorders might benefit in doing Bikram to reduce symptoms.

"I look forward to going every morning," said Priehs, 45, who rises at 5:30 a.m. to tend to his best friends: his dogs Lizy and Lily.

"They helped me get through what I have been through for the past two and a half years."

Wade Byars, The Desert Sun Tim Priehs, owner of A Kool Pool Service, stands beside one of the pools he maintains. Priehs at one time had roles in commercials and television shows like "General Hospital" and "CHiPs." He also appeared in music videos with Olivia Newton-John and Barry Manilow.

Priehs, who was born on Christmas Eve, dresses up as Santa Claus every year for the children at First School of the Desert in La Quinta.

Before his crash, Priehs rode his motorcycle 10,000 miles in 35 days to benefit the YMCA of the Desert. The funds raised helped the YMCA teach underprivileged children of the Coachella Valley how to swim.

"It's great to give back to the community," he said. He has also played in numerous charity golf tournaments, including the Bighorn Invitational and the Alice Cooper Celebrity Tournament, and won the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational tournament in 1998 and 2002.

The Cathedral City resident of 17 years comes from Michigan. He made a six-year stop in Los Angeles to pursue entertainment production before moving to the desert.

He struggled a bit with one end of the camera and somehow ended up acting and modeling.

He grew his hair long and landed numerous roles in commercials and television shows like "General Hospital" and "CHiPs." He also appeared in music videos with Olivia Newton-John and Barry Manilow.

"I don't miss living in L.A.," said Priehs, who now owns A Kool Pool Service. But he added, "I wouldn't trade those years for anything."

Now he works to convert traditional chemical-controlled swimming pools into saltwater pools.

"I kind of fell into it like I fell into acting," he said.

Since his move to the desert, Priehs got married, divorced and said he kicked all of his bad habits. He says that his five-year marriage helped him recover from his addictions but that he got married for the wrong reasons.

"I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs," said Priehs, who added he started smoking at the age of 10. "My addiction now is Haagen Dazs." His spare refrigerator displays the pints of ice cream lined up along the shelves.

His garage flaunts his collection of model antique cars like a '67 King Cobra, a '48 Plymouth convertible and a '55 Chevy pickup.

Priehs credits his success to his family and friends who stuck by him throughout the years.

"I'm blessed that I've had very special people in my life," said Priehs, who is close to his two brothers, sister and parents who are spread out across the country.

"When you go through what I've been through, you find out who really cares." He's grateful for overcoming many challenges and thankful that he's alive today.

"I realized how short life is," he said. "Thinking clearly and being on top of your game. I'm high on that."


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