Jeff Cohen (child actor)

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Jeff Cohen (born June 25, 1974) is a former American child actor who is best remembered for appearing as Chunk in the 1985 Steven Spielberg production The Goonies.

Life and career

Cohen was born Jeffrey Bertan McMahon in Los Angeles, California, and took his stage name from the maiden name of his mother, Elaine Cohen.[1] Since the part of "Chunk" entailed a lot of mockery at Cohen's considerable girth, he took up high school football and has since lost a great deal of weight as an adult. Cohen was one of the kids describing words to the contestants on the 1982-83 CBS game show Child's Play, and during the summer of 1985 he appeared as a celebrity on Body Language. Cohen attended the University of California, Berkeley, earning a B.S. in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business in 1996. While at UC Berkeley, Cohen was a resident assistant in Cheney Hall and became President of the Associated Students. His campaign posters featured a picture of himself from his Goonies days and the simple slogan "Chunk for president". He was also known for his energy at football games, performing the now-famous Truffle Shuffle on the sidelines to raise applause from the crowd. While at Berkeley, Jeff also was initiated as a brother into the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.

—Director Richard Donner, Variety[2]

After his time at Berkeley, Cohen studied at the UCLA School of Law and later became an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles. In 2002, he co-founded the Cohen & Gardner firm in Beverly Hills.[2][3] In the September 24, 2008 issue of Variety, Cohen was profiled in the Dealmakers Impact Report.[2] Additionally, Cohen was named to The Hollywood Reporter's Next Generation: Hollywood's Top 35 Executives 35 and Under in their November 5th issue.[4]

Cohen claimed in The Goonies DVD commentary track that every role he played as a child had him wearing either a Hawaiian shirt or a pair of plaid pants, and director Richard Donner had the brilliant idea of putting him in both for The Goonies.[5] Before The Goonies started filming, Cohen contracted chicken pox. Afraid that they would re-cast the role, he told no one of his illness and showed up to work anyway. According to the commentary track on The Goonies DVD, you can see the chicken pox on Cohen's chest during the famous "Truffle Shuffle" sequence.[5]

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