Child actors turned adult lawyers
By Michael Krumboltz | Movie Talk – Sat, Jun 23, 2012 5:35 PM EDT
Many assume that any former child actor who is no longer in the public eye must be a complete and total mess. That assumption may be depressingly accurate much of the time, but it doesn’t apply to Jeff Cohen, known to many as Chunk from “The Goonies.” Cohen turns 38 years old on June 25 and has plenty to celebrate.
Though we imagine plenty of people still associate the actor with his role as the chubby sidekick in the 1985 kid flick, Cohen left acting behind long ago. He now earns a living as an entertainment attorney at a firm that bears his name. Several years ago, he was named one of Hollywood Reporter’s Top 35 Executives Under 35. In a 2011 interview with Bitter Lawyer, Cohen says he enjoyed his time in “The Goonies,” but he found his real passion in entertainment law.
He credits puberty with helping him to get out of the acting game. He was no longer the funny, chubby kid. “I looked different. I couldn’t get work anymore. In a way, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Then I find all these other things through academia. I went to Berkeley. I can study political science and literature and business. There is a whole different world out there. I got out of L.A. I think what saved me was school.”
But, for the record, Cohen did perform his famous “truffle shuffle” in college. While at Berkeley, Cohen, at the bequest of his fellow students, would stand and shake his (now nonexistent) belly as a way to rile up the crowd. “I parlayed that into being the president of the student body. It was a supreme sacrifice, but it paid off.”
Josh Saviano is another former child actor who found his future in the law. Best known for playing the brainy Paul Pfeiffer in “The Wonder Years,” Saviano now serves as senior counsel at Morrison Cohen LLP in New York City. Rumors have long persisted that rocker Marilyn Manson is actually Saviano, but the truth is a lot less frightening. According to his biography at his law firm, Saviano “focuses on guiding clients through complex commercial transactions and on building, protecting, and exploiting celebrity and corporate brands.”
One last blast from the past: Charlie Korsmo. Not a household name, but he had a nice career as a child actor, appearing in “Dick Tracy,” “What About Bob?” “Can’t Hardly Wait,” and “Hook.” Like Cohen and Saviano, he left it all behind and became an attorney. He is currently an assistant professor of law at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Korsmo boasts an impressive resumé. Actually, make that a really impressive resumé. He graduated from MIT and went to Yale for law school. He also served at the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, the House Policy Committee, and served as a clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Clearly, he’s no Dickie Roberts.