Featuring then-newcomers Josh Brolin, Sean Astin and an already established Corey Feldman, the 1985 adventure blockbuster The Goonies – directed by Richard Donner, written by Chris Columbus, produced by Steven Spielberg – had the young cast of a generation.
The cult Warner Bros film is now approaching four decades in existence (cue the whimpering sobs of a whole generation of 80s kids), and the lives of the cast members have changed considerably since the movie’s release…
John Matuszak (Sloth)
John Matuszak, the actor who so memorably played the disfigured giant Sloth in The Goonies, sadly passed away just four years after the release of the film, having suffered from drug and alcohol abuse behind the scenes for some time.
Originally an NFL player nicknamed ‘The Tooz’, Matuszak had an addiction to painkillers and narcotics that was brought on by agonising back pain from his years playing the sport.
In his later years, he was charged with drug possession, drink driving, collisions with parked cars, and even concealing weapons, which saw him serve jail time.
After his successful careers as a defensive end, World’s Strongest Man competitor and Hollywood actor, Matuszak died from an accidental prescription drug overdose on 17 June 1989.
Jeff Cohen as Chunk
Playing the loveable Chunk, the ever-eating, incredibly clumsy member of the Goonies, they even hand him a map at one point and count to three knowing he will break it for them!
Credited on the film as Jeff Cohen, the Chunk actor had only recently changed his stage name when he made The Goonies. Born in Los Angeles as Jeff Bertan McMahon, Jeff Cohen created his stage name by adopting his mother Elaine’s maiden name, six months after his parents split up when he was eight. He’s since commented that he changed his name “partly because I would be getting credited on stuff that, in turn, would credit my old man who wasn’t around.”
Cohen found his first show business role in the 1982 game show Child’s Play. From 1984 to 1987 Cohen was featured in a few episodes of “Family Ties” and acted until 1991, in which he played a role in “Perfect Harmony.”
Clearly an ambitious teen, Cohen became the football captain at his high school, since describing his young self as “little but really mean!”, and Goonies director Richard Donner re-hired him as a production assistant in his junior year.
Cohen left acting behind to study Business at UC Berkeley and then Law at UCLA, eventually co-founding the Beverly Hills-based firm Cohen Gardner in 2002. Thanks to his successes in both Hollywood and entertainment law, Jeff Cohen’s net worth is reportedly $4 million today.
He also wrote a book entitled “The Dealmaker’s Ten Commandments: Ten Essential Tools for Business Forged in the Trenches of Hollywood” which was published by the American Bar Association’s imprint Ankerwycke in 2015.
Kerri Green as Andy
Kerri Green had a successful acting career in the 1980s, starring in the likes of Lucas and Three for the Road, but this started to slow down afterwards.
She appeared on a few shows like “Murder, She Wrote” and “ER,” but hasn’t acted much since the 90’s.
In 1996, Green launched production company Independent Women Artists, which produced Green’s lone directorial effort, Bellyfruit (1999), but since her last acting role in 2012 Green has been inactive in Hollywood. Today she lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles.
Sean Astin as Mikey
Sean Astin wasn’t just a child star. He went on to have large roles in films such as Like Father Like Son, Toy Soldiers and Rudy.
He provided the voice-over for Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and played Samwise Gamgee in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Astin has three daughters, one of whom starred briefly as his on-screen hobbit child in The Return of the King. His most recent high-profile role came in Netflix’s 80s throwback series Stranger Things, when he appeared in season 2 as Bob Newby, a love interest for Winona Ryder‘s character Joyce Byers.
Martha Plimpton as Stef
Martha Plimpton has stayed busy since starring in Warner Bros’ 1985 cult classic. She was briefly in the tabloid spotlight due to her well-publicised relationship with River Phoenix, with whom she co-starred in The Mosquito Coast and Running on Empty.
In the years since, Plimpton moved into TV, guest-starring in Grey’s Anatomy in 2009 and getting an Emmy nod for her role in Raising Hope, as well as winning an Emmy for The Good Wife in 2012. She is also a prolific theatre actress, and won the Drama Desk award for her 2008 role in the play Coast of Utopia.
She is also an advocate for women’s rights, which includes abortion rights. She even wrote and essay titled “Abortion, Shame, and the Right to Deny me my Rights” in 2014.
Robert Davi and Joe Pantoliano as Jake and Francis Fratelli
Robert Davi and Joe Pantoliano both had very successful careers following their stints as two of the most fearsome 80s villains.
Davi appeared as FBI Agent Johnson in Die Hard, and played drug lord bad guy Sanchez in Bond movie Licence to Kill. More recently, he played another bad guy, Goran Vogner, in The Expendables 3.
As he demonstrates in The Goonies, Davi is also an accomplished singer; his first album was released in 2011.
Joe Pantoliano, meanwhile, went on to appear in Bound, The Matrix, the Bad Boys movies, Memento and many others.
Pantoliano has also made a fair few small screen credits, including The Sopranos, Netflix series Sense8 (from Bound/The Matrix creators the Wachowskis), MacGyver and Chucky.
Ke Huy Quan as Data
Quan was born in Saigon, South Vietnam (present-day Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). He was forced to leave his country when the Army of the Republic of Vietnam was defeated during the Fall of Saigon.
Quan starred in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and also featured in a few series, including Head of the Class and Encino Man. He briefly adopted the professional name Jonathan Ke Quan to improve his job prospects, but the lack of opportunities for Asian actors led him to reconsider his career.
He stopped acting in 2000 and graduated from USC, and went on to work in behind the scenes roles including stunt choreography. However, after the release of 2018 hit Crazy Rich Asians, Quan was inspired to give acting another shot.
Coming out of retirement, Quan landed his first new role in 2022 sci-fi action comedy drama Everything Everywhere All At Once, which proved to be a major career landmark for the actor.
Quan’s performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once has seen him named Best Supporting Actor by more than 40 film festivals and critics’ associations, leading to him landing the award at the prestigious Golden Globes. This has left him the favourite to pick up the same award at the 2023 Oscars.
Corey Feldman as Mouth
Coming to The Goonies fresh from roles in Gremlins and the Friday the 13th movies, Feldman became one of the biggest child stars of the 80s. He starred in Stand by Me, then teamed up with the similarly named Corey Haim in several hits including The Lost Boys and License to Drive.
Unfortunately, both Feldman and Haim descended into drug addiction by the early 90s, derailing their careers in the process. Whilst Feldman got clean, Haim did not; the two co-starred in reality TV series The Two Coreys before Haim sadly died in 2010.
Feldman has also been an outspoken critic of the sexual abuse of young boys that was rife in Hollywood when he was a young actor. The former child star claimed that his friend Haim died after being unable to cope with the abuse he suffered at the hands of various producers.
Anne Ramsey as Mama Fratelli
Mama Fratelli actress Anne Ramsey had a successful career in the 1970s, appearing in such television programmes as Little House on the Prairie, Wonder Woman, Three’s Company and Ironside.
In 1988, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe in the same category for her role in Throw Momma From The Train.
She went on to appear in Scrooged and was acting until just months before she sadly passing away in 1988, aged just 59.