Children who grew up in and around the 80s have fond memories of The Goonies. From the crazy characters to the action-packed plot to Richard Donner’s fantastic directing, it has well earned its status as a cult classic. While many of the stars in the film did great things as adult celebrities (Josh Brolin comes to mind), one of the lead cast in The Goonies, Jeff Cohen, disappeared from acting soon after it appeared. The story of the why is kind of tragic, but while Cohen didn’t make it as a movie star, what he’s facing now isn’t bad either.
Jeff Cohen played chunk in “The Goonies”
The Goonies, after whom the film is named, are a group of friends from Astoria, Ore. Among them is the chubby jerk named Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen, played by actor Jeff Cohen. Though Chunk is the core of most of the group’s jokes and is always undervalued, at the end of the film Chunk eventually saves the day by befriending the abused villain’s son named Sloth. Even so, he’s still mostly remembered for the scene in which he does the “Truffle Shuffle” at the beginning of the film.
Cohen couldn’t find work after getting older
Jeff Cohen as “Chunk” in “The Goonies” | Warner Bros. Entertainment / YouTube
The iconic nature of chunk’s dance has served as a double-edged sword for Cohen throughout his career. Like many actors before him, he had been typed for his work on The Goonies. Based on what he said in an interview with the Daily Mail, the casting directors saw him as the funny fat kid, and the funny fat kid was what he had to be to get roles.
However, this became a problem for Cohen when he entered puberty. “I went from chunk to hunk and couldn’t get any more roles,” he said in an interview. When he lost weight he was no longer recognizable as his role in the movie that made him famous, so no one wanted to hire him. He’s justifiably a little annoyed about it: “I haven’t given up acting. Acting has given up on me. “
Cohen has found success outside of acting
Aside from a handful of roles in film and television during the remainder of the ’80s, The Goonies was about everything the acting world got to see from Cohen. As a result, he had to find something else with his life as the number of recalls decreased. That turned out to be the law.
After The Goonies, Donner (who spoke highly of Cohen in interviews and in the film’s DVD commentary) recommended the young actor for behind-the-scenes work in Hollywood. What started with a few summer jobs sparked a new passion in Cohen, who learned to appreciate the work that went into filmmaking outside of acting. After finding out that many of these people he admired had law degrees, he decided to get one himself in old age.
After graduating from both UC Berkeley and UCLA School of Law, Cohen became a founding partner of Cohen & Gardner, LLP in Los Angeles, where he still works today. His specialty is entertainment law, which means he’s still into making films, just in a different way. Over the years he has been featured in both Variety and The Hollywood Performer for his work in the legal field. He also occasionally writes on a variety of topics for The Huffington Post and CNBC.
Although he was forced to retire from acting prematurely, it seems that this has given Cohen his niche in life. While he enjoys looking back on The Goonies in interviews, he also seems to be fine leaving all of that behind. He’s still more than happy to meet fans of his work, but don’t expect him to do the truffle shuffle without a few drinks when you do.
RELATED: ‘The Goonies’: Steven Spielberg secretly directed some scenes