Welcome to a new series on Being A Wordsmith called Celebrities:Where (How) Are They Now? I’m excited to share updates on celebrities that many of us grew up admiring or haven’t seen in the spotlight in a long time. I’ll be dishing the good, the bad, and hopefully not too much ugly.
Released in 1985, The Goonies is one of my favorite 80s movies. And if you grew up during that time, it was probably one of yours. I posted about showing the cult classic to The Deuce back in 2013. Hilarity and embarrassment ensued for me when I forgot about the numerous adult references throughout it. Thankfully, many were lost on my son because he was only 6 years old then.
A group of pre-teen boys in Oregon call themselves The Goonies. After finding a 17th-century treasure map left behind by a pirate, the friends set off to find the long-lost loot with an entourage of older teenagers and thieves on their trail. Directed by Richard Donner.
HEY, YOU GUYS!
Let’s see what the cast has been up to since the release of the movie…
Michael “Mikey” Walsh portrayed by Sean Astin…
Astin is the son of the late Academy Award-winning actress Patty Duke and was adopted by her third husband, actor John Astin (The Addams Family). After his film debut in this Steven Spielberg production, Astin went on to star in Rudy, the critically-acclaimed biopic of an underdog Notre Dame football player.
Sean Astin believed Desi Arnaz Jr. (son of actors Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball) was his biological father until he was almost 20 years old. A DNA test proved that music promoter Michael Tell, Patty Duke’s second husband of less than a month, is Astin’s biological father.
Where (How) is he now?
Astin has expanded his acting career with voice-overs and screenwriting. Kangaroo Court (1994), a film that he directed and co-produced with his wife Christine, was nominated for a Best Short Film-Live Action Academy Award. To date, his role as Samwise “Sam” Gamgee in the Academy Award-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy is his biggest so far. Recently, he has appeared on several TV series including Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Big Bang Theory, and Netflix’s Stranger Things.
Clark “Mouth” Devereaux portrayed by Corey Feldman…
Feldman already had an impressive acting portfolio of sitcoms and films including Gremlins (1984) by the time he was cast in The Goonies. He followed those with roles in blockbuster films such as Stand By Me (1986) and The Lost Boys (1987). During the 90s, Feldman continued his film and television career. He also focused on his passion for music which resulted in several albums.
Do you remember the Purple Rain t-shirt that Mouth wore in The Goonies?
Where (How) is he now?
Many of Feldman’s post-Goonies acting collaborations were with his BFF, the late actor Corey Haim. Dubbed “The Two Coreys” because of their close-knit bond and hi-jinks chemistry on screen, the two former child stars gave the tabloids a lot to talk about. Feldman has been very public about his childhood friendship with Michael Jackson, struggling with substance abuse, and being a survivor of child sexual abuse.
He continued to do more industry work in front of and behind the camera during the 2000s with Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003), Cursed (2005), and a few reality TV shows. Feldman executive produced two seasons of A&E’s The Two Coreys prior to Haim’s untimely death from pneumonia in 2010. The married father is a PETA spokesperson and environmentalist who experienced massive criticism in 2016 following a performance on The Today Show with his band The Truth Movement. He didn’t let that stop him, however. In 2018, he starred in the thriller Corbin Nash and has several more acting projects in the works.
Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen portrayed by Jeff Cohen…
Cohen’s zealous character Chunk was one of the highlights of the film. He brought the funny effortlessly and even showed a vulnerable side at times. After The Goonies, Cohen’s acting career waned. He only appeared in a few TV movies and series including Family Ties and Amazing Stories.
Prior to filming The Goonies, Jeff Cohen came down with chickenpox. Not wanting to miss out on the role, he kept his illness a secret. You can see the chickenpox on his chest during the famous Truffle Shuffle sequence.
Where (How) is he now?
Today, Jeff B. Cohen, Esq. is an accomplished attorney and founding partner of a law firm in Los Angeles. Naturally, he specializes in entertainment law and has written several books and articles about it. Cohen is a contributor for CNBC, The Huffington Post, and other media outlets.
Andrea “Andy” Carmichael portrayed by Kerri Green…
After playing the teenage girl that most of the Goonies crew longed after, Green appeared in Summer Rental with the late comic actor John Candy. Her most acclaimed acting role was in Lucas (1986) as 16-year-old Maggie. Her character befriends a socially awkward 14-year-old boy played by Haim. Charlie Sheen’s character completes the triangle. Green reunited on-screen with Sheen in Three for the Road (1987). She went on to appear in TV series including In the Heat of the Night and Mad About You.
Kerri Green graduated cum laude from Vassar College where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Where (How) is she now?
In the 90s, Green put her acting career aside to focus on her education. Afterward, she was in a few TV films including Blue Flame (1993) and series such as Murder, She Wrote and ER. Green received accolades for her direction of the film Bellyfruit (1999) which she also co-wrote and executive produced. In 2012, she starred in the indie drama Complacent. The married mother, who is also credited as Keri Lee Green, continues to write screenplays and work behind the scenes in Hollywood.
Stephanie “Stef” Steinbrenner portrayed by Martha Plimpton…
Like Astin, Plimpton also comes from an acting family. She is the daughter of renowned actor Keith Carradine (whose parents and brothers are actors) and actress Shelley Plimpton. Prior to The Goonies, Plimpton only had a couple of films under her belt and some Calvin Klein commercials. But her acting career took off after playing the role of Andy’s friend Stef. She co-starred with the late River Phoenix in The Mosquito Coast (1986) and Running on Empty (1988) prior to dating him.
Martha Plimpton became a vegetarian after her then-boyfriend River Phoenix introduced her to the lifestyle.
Where (How) is she now?
Plimpton has garnered major success in film, television, and theatre. Among her film credits are Parenthood (1989), Daybreak (1993), Colin Fitz Lives! (1997), and Eye of God (1997). She has been nominated for a Tony Award three times for her work on Broadway. After working on a slew of TV series including an Emmy-nominated guest appearance on Law and Order: SVU, she landed the role of Virginia Chance on the FOX comedy Raising Hope. She earned a leading actress Emmy nomination for the latter and subsequently won the award for her guest role on the CBS drama The Good Wife. In 2017, Plimpton completed a year’s run on the ABC comedy The Real O’Neals. The Hollywood Reporter recently announced that she will star in Generation, a half-hour dramedy that’s part of the new HBO Max streaming pilot slate.
Richard “Data” Wang portrayed by Ke Huy Quan aka Jonathan Ke Quan…
Quan had already gained popularity as Harrison Ford’s pesky sidekick Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). His role as Data, the Goonies’ invention expert, was just as entertaining. During the 90s, he appeared in several foreign and domestic films including Encino Man (1992) and a few TV series such as Tales from the Crypt and Head of the Class.
Ke Huy Quan was only accompanying his aspiring brother to the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom audition, but the casting directors chose him instead.
Where (How) is he now?
After graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts (formerly Cinema-Television), Quan attended the University of Manchester in the UK. This led to production work as an editor, stunt coordinator, producer, and cinematographer. His behind-the-scenes talent is most notable on the first X-Men film in 2000. Quan continues to work in the film industry and often appears at fan conventions and events.
Brandon “Brand” Walsh portrayed by Josh Brolin…
Another cast member with performance genes, Brolin is the son of actor James Brolin. His character Brand was Mikey’s cocky older brother who tolerated the Goonies for the sake of Andy. Brolin went on to appear in many TV series including Highway to Heaven, 21 Jump Street, and The Young Riders.
Josh Brolin has hosted Saturday Night Live twice. His first appearance garnered the sketch comedy’s highest ratings in 14 years due in part to the guest appearance of then-Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Where (How) is he now?
Brolin has continued to thrive in the acting world with roles in No Country For Old Men (2007) and American Gangster (2007). In 2008, he portrayed former President George W. Bush in Oliver Stone’s W. and Dan White in Milk, for which he received a Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination. After starring in another Oliver Stone flick, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010), Brolin entered into the genre of superhero films including Men in Black 3 (2012), Dead Pool 2 (2018), and the Avengers franchise. The thrice-married star has had a few run-ins with the law, but it hasn’t slowed down his time in front of and behind the camera. He has recently completed filming for a few films and TV series and is in production for more.
The Fratelli Family portrayed by John Matuszak, Robert Davi, Joe Pantoliano, and Anne Ramsey…
Lotney aka Sloth Fratelli, the most unique of all The Goonies‘ characters, was played by former NFL player Matuszak with the use of heavy makeup and prosthetics. The 6’7″ actor had previously been in the film North Dallas Forty (1979) naturally portraying a football player and TV series including The Dukes of Hazzard and Benson. He went on to appear in television episodes of The A-Team, Amen, Miami Vice, 1st & Ten, and Perfect Strangers. Sadly, he died in 1989 at age 38 due to heart failure which may have been related to a drug overdose.
John Matuszak’s make-up to become Sloth took five hours. One of the eyes, which was out of place on the character’s face, was mechanically operated off-screen by a remote control. Matuszak had to time his blinking to match it.
Davi gave us an opera-singing criminal in Jake Fratelli. Prior to The Goonies, he had numerous TV roles on Charlie’s Angels, Lou Grant, The Incredible Hulk, Barnaby Jones, St. Elsewhere, T.J. Hooker, and The Fall Guy. Davi has continued to appear in film and television projects totaling 150+ making him one of the most recognized bad guy characters in the industry. His film credits include Die Hard (1988), Licence to Kill (1989), Showgirls (1995), and The Iceman (2012). His television credits include Profiler, Stargate Atlantis, Criminal Minds, and CSI. A trained opera singer, Davi currently performs at top venues in Las Vegas and Long Island with sell-out shows. His debut album “Davi Sings Sinatra-On the Road to Romance” was #6 on Billboard’s jazz charts for several weeks.
After attending Hofstra University on a drama scholarship, Robert Davi studied under the legendary acting teachers Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg.
Before his turn as Francis Fratelli, Pantoliano had already graced the small and big screens for a decade prior. His TV appearances included Hart to Hart, M*A*S*H, Hill Street Blues, and Trapper John, M.D. One of his most recognizable film characters at the time was Guido the Killer Pimp in Risky Business with Tom Cruise. Pantoliano would go on to famously play many more quirky and villainous characters in TV series including Amazing Stories, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, Arlis$$, EZ Streets, and The Sopranos for which he won a Supporting Actor Emmy.
His film roles include La Bamba (1987), Empire of the Sun (1987), Midnight Run (1988), The Fugitive (1993), U.S. Marshals (1998), The Matrix (1999), and Memento (2000). He recently completed filming for his third appearance in the Bad Boys franchise, Bad Boys for Life (release date scheduled for January 2020) with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.
Joe Pantoliano was offered the role of Leo in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), but had to decline because of another film commitment. The role went to Joe Pesci.
The gruff leader of the Fratelli family was Mama Fratelli. Ramsey, who was married to fellow TV and film actor Logan Ramsey, began her acting career in her 40s. Before The Goonies, she made TV appearances in Ironside, Columbo, Charlie’s Angels, Wonder Woman, Little House on the Prairie, Starsky and Hutch, CHiPs, Laverne & Shirley, Three’s Company, and Family Ties along with a few films. Ramsey went on to make more movies including Throw Momma from the Train (1987) with Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito. She was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for her supporting role as Momma. Ramsey continued to work up until her death in 1988 from throat cancer. She was 59.
Although Anne Ramsey brilliantly played Danny DeVito’s mother in Throw Momma from the Train, she was only 15 years older than him at the time.
Rumors of a Goonies sequel have been swirling for years. Particularly when some of the cast members come together for nostalgic fan expos. I, for one, would love to see that happen.
What do you think?
Which Goonies character is your favorite?
Have you followed the careers of these actors?
Who else would you like to see featured in the Celebrities: (Where) How Are They Now series?
See ya later,