The Goonies is one of the most iconic cult films of all time, and kick started the careers of some of the most famous actors in Hollywood, but even if you’re like me and you’ve seen it before, there’s always a surprise or two waiting to shock you.
No matter how many times I see the film, I still end up saying something to the effect of “No way! I forgot he was in this!”
Some of the stars of the cult classic have gone on to take over Hollywood, but some have faded away into normalcy, so let’s have a look at who is doing what these days!
As one of the most criminally underrated actors in Hollywood, Sean Astin played the role of Mickey Walsh in The Goonies, and was practically unrecognisable!
The role of Mickey Walsh was his debut film role, having made his screen debut four years earlier in 1981 in the disturbingly titled TV movie Don’t Hit Me, Mommy.
After The Goonies, he started to pick up a lot more big screen work and appeared in the likes of Like Father Like Son, War of the Roses, Toy Soldiers and Rudy.
However, I think we can all say that his breakout role, and the role for which he will always be remembered came in 2001 when he played Samwise Gamgee in the big screen adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.
The movies earned a ridiculous amount of praise, as all three were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards – with the third film in the trilogy, The Return of the King, going on to scoop eleven Oscars including Best Picture, making it the first fantasy film to do so.
But though Sean Astin received universal acclaim for his performances, especially in Return of the King, he was still criminally left out of the running for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars, which many people believe he should have won.
After Lord of the Rings, Astin went on to appear in films such as 50 First Dates and Click alongside Adam Sandler, and has also made waves on the small screen with recurring roles in shows such as 24, Monk, Las Vegas and My Name is Earl.
And most recently, we all saw him meet a heroic and tragic end when he played Bob Newby in the second series of Stranger Things – stealing the show in the process.
Like Astin, the ultra successful Josh Brolin’s big screen debut came in The Goonies also. In fact, The Goonies was Brolin’s screen debut full stop, and from there he worked on both TV and movies in projects such as the movie Thrashin’ in 1986 and the TV shows Highway to Heaven, Private Eye and 21 Jump Street in the remaining years of the 80s.
He also starred in 67 episodes of The Young Riders from 1989 to 1992.
Throughout the 90s and early 2000s, Brolin appeared in films such as Mimic, Flirting with Disaster, Best Laid Plans and Hollow Man, but his real break out role came in 2007 when he appeared as Llewellyn Moss in the modern masterpiece No Country For Old Men.
After No Country For Old Men, Brolin became one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood, and starred in a number of films such as W., which was a biopic of then-President George W. Bush, American Gangster, Milk – for which he was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category, Wall Street, Inherent Vice as the fabulously madcap Lt. Det. Christian “Bigfoot” Bjornsen, Hail, Cesar! and most recently as Thanos in the Avengers movies.
This is just my opinion, but Joe Pantoliano should always be remembered and revered for his role in the comedy masterpiece that is Baby’s Day Out, but that’s just me. In the 90s and early 2000s, Joe Pantoliano was absolutely killing it, with supporting roles in major movies such as The Matrix, Bad Boys, The Fugitive, Ready to Rumble and Memento.
He also found success with a major recurring role in The Sopranos.
With a career spanning back to the mid 70s, Pantoliano played Francis in The Goonies and went on to enjoy a long and successful career.
Most recently, he appeared in 2016’s The Perfect Match and Netflix’s series Sense8.
A theme you’re going to notice here is that for a lot of these entries, The Goonies proved to be either their breakout role or their big screen debuts, and like Astin and Brolin, for Kerri Green, The Goonies proved to be where it all began.
Green is perhaps still best known for her appearances in teen flicks back in the 80s and 90s, as she appeared in films such as Summer Rental alongside John Candy, Lucas alongside Charlie Sheen and Three for the Road, which, however, did not fare well commercially or critically.
She continued to act for a while but took a break while she studied art at Vassar College. She eventually co-founded a film production company, Independent Women Artists, with Bonnie Dickenson. With Dickenson, she co-wrote and directed the film adaptation of a play about teen pregnancy called Bellyfruit in 1999.
After Bellyfruit, she transitioned away from acting slowly, with her only screen credits being an episode each of ER and Law and Order, before a 2010 appearance in the film Complacent.
80s teen flick sensation Corey Feldman actually starred in Gremlins, The Fox and the Hound Friday the 13th and Gremlins before The Goonies, and starred in the cult kids classic as Clark ‘Mouth’ Devereaux.
Corey Feldman was on fire at this time, as he also starred in iconic movies such as Stand By Me and The Lost Boys. In the late 80s and 90s he continued to find success with films such as The ‘Burbs, License to Drive, Dream a Little Dream and Edge of Honour, but as he got older, the former child star’s luck began to change.
He’s had his fair share of issues with drug addiction or allegations of historic sexual abuse that he has put forward against Hollywood, but he’s also made some bad choices where films are concerned. His latest role, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, is evidence of this.
Martha Plimpton played Stef in The Goonies, and like many of her co-stars, it was the film that transported her into the realms of Hollywood recognition, and since her days in The Goonies, as well as other teen movies such as Shy People and Running on Empty, she has had a steady acting career.
On TV, she’s appeared in the likes of ER, The Good Wife, How to Make it In America and Raising Hope. She has also earned one win and one nomination at the Primetime Emmy Awards for her TV work.
As well as the small screen and her roles in movies more recently such as Remember Me and Hello Again, she has also become an accomplished stage actor, appearing in plays at The Old Vic Theatre in London, Off-Broadway and with the New York Philharmonic. Through her stage work, she has also won three Tony Awards – the most prestigious award in stage acting.
5.Mary Ellen Trainor
Mary Ellen Trainor played Mrs Walsh in The Goonies but began her career in radio, working at stations KSDO and KCBS before moving into acting.
Her first television role came in a 1983 episode of Cheers before making her big screen debut in 1984 in Romancing the Stone. She also appeared in Stone Boy in 1984 before appearing in The Goonies a year later.
Trainor, who was married to acclaimed director Robert Zemeckis for 20 years from 1980 until 2000, appeared in a number of films over the years such as Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Scrooged, Back to the Future Part II and Congo. Her last big screen appearance came in 2007 in Cake: A Wedding Story.
Sadly, however in 2015 Trainor died at the age of just 62 as a result of pancreatic cancer.
4.Jonathan Ke Quan
Playing Data in The Goonies, Jonathan Ke Quan has gone on to have quite the eclectic career in show biz.
Born in the former Saigon, South Vietnam, Ke Quan may not have had the sort of success that some of his co-stars have had, but he has spent the last thirty years both in front of and behind the camera, appearing in shows such as Breathing Fire and Head of the Class as well as films such as Encino Man.
He also found success as a stunt coordinator, and is credited on both Enigma and X-Men.
Anne Ramsey had a long and successful career in acting, and before she got her break in Hollywood, she performed for many years on the stage with her husband Logan Ramsey, with whom she formed the Theatre of the Living Arts.
In the early 1970s, she transitioned into screen acting and got her break in Hollywood in films such as The Sporting Club – the first of seven films in which she would appear alongside her husband.
Known for being a character actor, she also appeared in such television programs as Little House on the Prairie, Wonder Woman, Three’s Company and Ironside.
She enjoyed success right up until the end of her career when she appeared in The Goonies as Mama Fratelli, for which she earned the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.
She was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Throw Momma from the Train.
However, in 1988, at the age of just 59, she passed away as a result of Esophageal cancer.
And finally we get to Chunk, you thought we’d missed him out, didn’t you? Shame on you. How could we forget Chunk?
Jeff Cohen was made a star from The Goonies, but what looked like a promising career in show business ended rather abruptly.
Jeff Cohen was propelled into stardom and achieved immortality when he was cast as Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen. Though it wasn’t his first role (which was Ralph in the TV movie Little Shots) Jeff Cohen seemed to have a very enviable career ahead of him when The Goonies was released. The Spielberg production, directed by Richard Donner, achieved cult status and is fondly remembered to this day. Indeed, not only did the film achieve cult classic status, but a particular part of Cohen’s performance has given birth to a million memes and a million t shirts: I speak, of course, of the Truffle Shuffle.
Though his career did continue a little while after The Goonies, as he appeared in a few TV shows and TV movies, Cohen decided to call it a day in the acting game soon after. Owing to the fact that the part of Chunk resulted in quite a lot of mockery at Cohen’s nutritional overachievement, he took up football in college and lost a considerable amount of weight.
At the University of California, Berkley, he also achieved a B.S. in Business Administration. Cohen also used introductions from Goonies director Richard Donner to get summer jobs on the business side of movie studios. According to ABA Journal, He chose to pursue a legal career upon finding out that many of the most important figures on the business side of Hollywood had law degrees.
Finally, he knew what to do. After his time at Berkley, Cohen enrolled at UCLA School of Law in 2000, and later became an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles. According to an interview with Variety magazine, Richard Donner said of Jeff Cohen that “his acting had an incredible sense of genuineness, of reality. He was Jeff — he drew from himself, and I think that’s who he is now. He’s honest and straight. I think that was in his acting and now in his law practice.”
The life of this gentle giant could, and has, been the basis of several books, such was his amazing and unbelievable life.
He played Sloth in The Goonies, but by this time he had already retired from a long and successful career as an NFL linebacker, having played for the Oakland Raiders during the most successful period in their careers.
However, if you ever wanted a dictionary definition of a larger than life character, Matuszak was exactly that. He was a hell-raiser, a drinker and a brawler, and eventually his faster than hell lifestyle got out of control and he sadly died at the age of just 38 in 1989 as a result of an overdose.
People like him just aren’t to meant to live long lives, sadly, but he did more living in 38 years than most do in 90.