Eddie Deezen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Eddie Deezen
EddieDeezen2012.JPG
Eddie at the Chiller Theatre Expo in Parsippany, New Jersey in October 2012.
Born Edward Harry Dezen
(1957-03-06) March 6, 1957 (age 57)
Cumberland, Maryland
Occupation Actor
Years active 1978-present
Website
www.eddiedeezen.com

Edward Harry "Eddie" Deezen (born March 6, 1957) is an American actor best known for his bit parts as nerd characters in 1970s and 1980s films such as Grease, Grease 2, Midnight Madness, 1941 and WarGames, as well as for larger and starring roles in a number of independent cult films, including Surf II: The End of the Trilogy, Mob Boss, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Beverly Hills Vamp and Teenage Exorcist.

As a voice actor, he is easily recognizable for his distinctively high-pitched and nasally voice, most notably used for the characters of Mandark in the Cartoon Network series Dexter's Laboratory, Snipes the Magpie in Rock-A-Doodle, Ned in Kim Possible and Lenny the Know-It-All in The Polar Express.

Biography[edit]

Edward Harry Dezen was born in Cumberland, Maryland, the son of Irma and Robert Dezen.[1] A class clown in his youth, Deezen started out with aspirations of becoming a stand-up comedian, moving out to Hollywood within days of graduating high school in order to pursue a career.[2] As a comedian, he performed at least three times at The Comedy Store, though eventually decided to abandon stand-up and focus on acting after bombing his last act and having difficulty memorizing his routine.[3] Deezen attempted stand-up one last time, however, when he appeared on an episode of The Gong Show in the mid-1970s, only to be gonged by singer-songwriter Paul Williams.[3]

Hollywood career[edit]

Deezen landed his first and perhaps best known role in the film Grease, playing nerdy student Eugene Felsnic, a part he won through a standard audition process.[4] During Grease's post-production period, Deezen won another small role playing a bully in the low-budget independent science fiction movie Laserblast. Despite being his second film, Laserblast marked Deezen's screen debut when it was released in March 1978, three months before the theatrical release of Grease.

Following the massive success of Grease, Deezen found himself being cast in a string of high-profile comedy films playing similarly nerdy characters, including Robert Zemeckis' directorial debut I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Steven Spielberg's 1979 epic comedy 1941. Deezen was in such demand by 1979 that he was constantly having to turn down roles. At least two such notable instances were the characters of Eaglebauer in Rock 'n' Roll High School [5] and Spaz in Meatballs, both of which Deezen turned down in order to film 1941.[4]

Throughout the early 1980s, Deezen perpetuated his trademark nerd persona in several major films, including WarGames, Zapped! and Disney's Midnight Madness, as well as returning to the role of Eugene Felsnic in Grease 2, one of only seven actors from the original Grease to return for the sequel. In 1984, Deezen was cast in a recurring role on television, playing a goofy superintendent on the first season of Punky Brewster. After filming only eight episodes, however, Deezen voluntarily left the series due to his reluctance to perform before a live audience and a continuing difficulty in remembering his lines.[4]

Independent film[edit]

Deezen as Menlo Schwartzer in Surf II (1984).

1983's WarGames marked the final mainstream film of Deezen's live-action acting career as he began working exclusively in independent film for the remainder of the 1980s, starting with his first starring role in the 1984 cult comedy Surf II: The End of the Trilogy, where he played the movie's antagonist, mad scientist Menlo Schwartzer.

1984 also saw the release of Revenge of the Nerds, the film that is generally credited with making the stock character of the stereotypical "nerd" a mainstay of teen films. Despite having arguably created the nerd archetype in such movies before, Deezen was not cast in the film. He remarked in an interview that he later asked the producers of Revenge of the Nerds why he hadn't been offered a role, and was given the response that he was deemed "too geeky", whereas casting was instead just looking to dress "normal people" up as nerds.[2][3] Despite this, Deezen says he is frequently "recognized" by strangers for being in the film.[6]

Deezen worked steadily throughout the remainder of the 1980s and early 1990s, continuing to play nerds in both bit parts and major roles, including the ensemble comedy Million Dollar Mystery, Critters 2: The Main Course, The Whoopee Boys and The Silence of the Hams. He worked several times alongside comedian Tim Conway, most notably appearing in two of his Dorf videos, and struck up a partnership with prolific low-budget filmmaker and producer Fred Olen Ray, who gave Deezen leading roles with the films Beverly Hills Vamp, Mob Boss and Teenage Exorcist.

Following his cameo appearance as a security guard in the 1996 Leslie Nielsen spoof Spy Hard, Deezen wouldn't appear in a live-action film for another 17 years. In a July 2009 interview, Deezen talked about his struggle maintaining an acting career, saying "The truth is, it is extremely tough to sustain a career in Hollywood. It is tough enough ever getting work, just the sheer odds. I loved John and Matthew and it would definitely be my pleasure to work with them again. Believe me, if the right role was there and available, I'd be there in a second".[7]

In 2012, Deezen starred in a live-action comedic short film entitled I Love You, Eddie Deezen. The plot revolves around a nerdy woman's cross-country journey to find the man of her dreams: Eddie Deezen. The short was released on November 19, 2012.[8] The following year, Deezen returned to live-action movies in Fred Olen Ray's television film All I Want for Christmas, making a cameo as a supposed A-list action movie star being interviewed on a daytime talk show.

Voice acting[edit]

In the mid-1980s, Deezen transitioned into voice acting, a change of pace he favored due to better pay and not needing to memorize dialogue.[3] He started out lending his voice to animated feature films, including the voice of Donnie Dodo Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird and Snipes the Magpie in Don Bluth's 1991 film Rock-A-Doodle. According to a 2011 interview, Deezen unsuccessfully auditioned for the role of the title character in Robert Zemeckis's Who Framed Roger Rabbit, losing out to comedian Charles Fleischer.[9]

Deezen eventually found full-time voice work on television in the mid-1990s, playing recurring characters on the animated series Grimmy, Duckman, Kim Possible and What's New, Scooby-Doo?, as well as guest spots on many others, including Johnny Bravo, Recess and Darkwing Duck. His best-known voice-over character, however, is that of Mandark, the nemesis of the eponymous Dexter on Cartoon Network's Dexter's Laboratory, a role he played for the series' entire run from 1996–2003. Deezen also voiced the character on the TV special Dexter's Laboratory: Ego Trip and the video games Cartoon Network Racing and FusionFall.

In 2004, Deezen returned to the big screen once again under the direction of Robert Zemeckis to supply voice and motion capture performance for the blockbuster holiday film The Polar Express, playing the role of the nerdy "Know-It-All". He reprised this role for the subsequent video game.

Deezen regularly lends his voice to radio and television commercials. In the late 1990s, he provided the voice of Pop (of Snap, Crackle and Pop) in commercials for Rice Krispies cereal,[4] and Nacho, the mascot for Taco Bell '​s kid's meals commercials, alongside Rob Paulsen as Dog. In 2011, Deezen was under consideration for succeeding Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of The Aflac Duck, but did not win the role.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Deezen still lives in Hollywood, where, according to him, "Along with my unemployment checks and residual checks, I will continue living the 'great American dream' - getting paid while doing absolutely nothing".[11]

Deezen is a huge fan of The Beatles, proclaiming himself to be their "biggest fan". He was interviewed as himself for the unreleased 2005 film Me and Graham: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, a documentary following two filmmakers searching the US and UK for the ultimate Beatles fan.[2] For over a year his official website featured a difficult Beatles trivia quiz - devised by Deezen himself - with a $100 prize for anyone who could answer all the questions correctly. Deezen revealed in a later interview that nobody had ever claimed the prize.[3]

Deezen is also a pop culture trivia buff, and since 2011 has been a contributing writer to several trivia websites including mental floss, TodayIFoundOut.com and Neatorama.com.[12][13][14] While most of Deezen's articles pertain to The Beatles and their members, he also regularly writes about such subjects as baseball, American history and classic comedy acts like The Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers and Martin and Lewis.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1978 Laserblast Froggy Film debut
Grease Eugene Felsnic Filmed before Laserblast, but released afterwards
I Wanna Hold Your Hand Richard "Ringo" Klaus First film with Robert Zemeckis
1979 1941 Herbie Kazlminsky
1980 Midnight Madness Wesley
1981 Desperate Moves (aka Rollerboy) Red
1982 Grease 2 Eugene Felsnic
Zapped! Sheldon
1983 WarGames Eddie Malvin
1984 Surf II: The End of the Trilogy Menlo Schwartzer Leading role
The Rosebud Beach Hotel Sydney
1985 A Polish Vampire in Burbank Sphincter Initially cast in the leading role, but left the project after various financial troubles plagued the production. A few minutes of his original footage was kept in the final cut, and all of his dialogue was dubbed by a sound-alike.
Mugsy's Girls (aka Delta Pi) Lane
Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird Donnie Dodo Voice only
1986 The Longshot Parking Attendant Cameo. First film with Tim Conway
The Whoopee Boys Eddie Lipschitz
1987 Happy Hour (aka Sour Grapes) Hancock
Million Dollar Mystery Rollie
1988 Critters 2: The Main Course Hungry Heifer Manager
Assault of the Killer Bimbos Dopey Deputy ("Walter")
Dorf's Golf Bible Waldo Second film with Tim Conway
Beverly Hills Vamp Kyle Carpenter Leading role. First film with Fred Olen Ray.
1989 Hollywood Boulevard II Walter
1990 Wedding Band Slappy the Clown Cameo
Dorf Goes Auto Racing Dipstick Third film with Tim Conway
The Raven Red Kiss-Off (aka Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective) Himalayan Operator Cameo
Mob Boss Tony Anthony Leading role. Second film with Fred Olen Ray.
1991 Rock-A-Doodle Snipes Voice only
Teenage Exorcist Eddie Leading role
1994 The Silence of the Hams Video Cameraman Cameo
1995 Mr. Payback: An Interactive Movie Phil the Guard
1996 Spy Hard Rancor Guard Who Gets Spit On Cameo.
1997 The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue Charlie Voice only
2004 The Polar Express Know-It-All Voice and motion capture. Second film with Robert Zemeckis
2004 School Of Rock Waiter in Bar
2005 Me and Graham: The Soundtrack of Our Lives Himself Documentary film; not yet released.
2009 SpongeBob's Truth or Square Casting call cameo.
2012 I Love You, Eddie Deezen Short film
2013 All I Want for Christmas Larry Eastwood Cameo; third film with Fred Olen Ray

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1979 Champions: A Love Story Eric Philpot TV movie
1981 Homeroom Ron Carp TV pilot
1982 The Facts of Life Grusky Episode: "The Big Fight"
1983 Magnum, P.I. Mickey Dalrumple Episode: "Squeeze Play"
1984 Punky Brewster Eddie Malvin Recurring Role
Appeared in 8 Episodes
1986 The Fall Guy Merle Monroe Episode: "Lady in Green"
1989 Monsters Demon #2 Episode: "The Demons"
1991 Darkwing Duck Mouth Voice
Episode: "Darkly Dawns the Duck"
1992 Mother Goose and Grimm Ham Voice
Appeared in 2 episodes
Goof Troop Road Hogs Biker Voice
Episode: "Queasy Rider"
Eek! the Cat Ringo Voice
Episode: "Bearz 'N the Hood"
1994 Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights Caliph Voice
TV movie
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Bulletin Board Monster Episode: "Cold Hard Toenails/Attack of the Blobs"
1994–1996 Duckman Iggy Catalpa Voice
Appeared in 3 episodes
1995 The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Agent Tucker Live-action TV movie; remake of the 1969 Disney film.
1996–2003 Dexter's Laboratory Mandark Voice
Series regular
Appeared in 13 episodes
1996–1997 Life with Louie Melvin Voice
Appeared in 4 episodes
1996 Mighty Ducks Alvin Yasbek Voice
Episode: "Mondo-Man"
Timon & Pumbaa Bahuka Voice
Episode: "Alcatraz Mataz/Oahu Wahoo"
1997 The Weird Al Show The Guy Boarded Up in the Wall Appeared in 4 episodes
1998 Cow and Chicken Glasses Boy Voice
Episode: "Can Cow Come Out and Play/Horn Envy"
The Lionhearts Tex Hardbottom Voice
Episode: "Brown Dog Day"
The Secret Files of the Spy Dogs D'Cell Voice
Episode: "D'Cell/Halfday"
1999 Dexter's Laboratory: Ego Trip Mandark Voice
TV movie
Johnny Bravo Oswald Voice
Episode: "A League of His Own/Johnny Goes to Camp/Buffoon Lagoon"
1999–2000 Disney's Recess Frank 'Tiny' Sedgwick Voice
Appeared in 3 episodes
2001 Behind the Music Himself Documentary. Episode: "Grease"
Lloyd in Space Larry Voice
Recurring character
Oswald Andy Pumpkin Voice
Appeared in 2 episodes
2002 VH1's Where Are They Now? Himself Documentary. Episode: "Grease"
2002–2007 Kim Possible Ned Voice
Recurring character
2003–2005 What's New, Scooby-Doo? Gibby Norton Voice
Appeared in 3 episodes
2005 Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island Slurpy the Bat Voice
Episode: "A Cold Day on Fruit Salad Island/Five Nuts and a Baby"
Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama Ned TV movie
2009 Chowder Todd Voice
Episode: "Sheboodles"
2010 Pound Puppies Carlton J. Stankmeyer Voice
Episode: "The Yipper Caper"
2012 Handy Manny Zip Voice
Episode: "Hank's Birthday","The Tools' New Team" and "The Great Garage Rescue"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
2004 The Polar Express Know-It-All
2006 Cartoon Network Racing Mandark
2009 Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall Mandark

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eddie Deezen Biography Film Reference
  2. ^ a b c Revenge of the '80s Radio. October 17, 2008 episode. www.revengeofthe80sradio.com.
  3. ^ a b c d e Leibling, Adam. 'Eddie Deezen: Before Geek was Chic' READ Magazine.
  4. ^ a b c d Neibauer, James L. 'An Interview with Eddie Deezen' www.roguecinema.com.
  5. ^ "Back to School: A Retrospective". Rock 'n' Roll High School DVD.
  6. ^ The Radio Dan Show. Eddie Deezen Radio Interview radiodanshow.podomatic.com
  7. ^ I Heart Chaos Eddie Deezen Interview www.iheartchaos.com
  8. ^ I Love You, Eddie Deezen. Iloveyoueddiedeezen.blogspot.nl (2012-11-19). Retrieved on 2014-06-26.
  9. ^ "PMC 35: Eddie Deezen". Pop My Culture podcast. March 6, 2011. 
  10. ^ Deezen, Eddie (April 20, 2011). "My Aflac Duck Audition". www.eddiedeezen.com. 
  11. ^ "Thoughts on my 55th Birthday"' www.eddiedeezen.com
  12. ^ "mental_floss Blog >> Eddie Deezen". Mental floss. 
  13. ^ "Eddie Deezen on Neatorama". Neatorama.com. 
  14. ^ "Welcome a New Writer to Today I Found Out, Eddie Deezen". TodayIFoundOut.com. 

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]