Eddie Deezen

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Eddie Deezen
EddieDeezen2012.JPG
Deezen at Chiller Theatre Expo in Parsippany, New Jersey, in 2012
Born
Edward Harry Deezen

(1957-03-06) March 6, 1957 (age 65)
Occupation
  • Actor
  • comedian
Years active1976–present
Spouse
Linda George
(m. 1984)
Websiteeddiedeezen.com

Edward Harry Deezen (born March 6, 1957) is an American actor and comedian, best known for his roles as "nerd" characters in films including Grease, Grease 2, Midnight Madness, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, 1941, and WarGames. He has had larger starring roles in independent films such as Surf II, Mob Boss, Beverly Hills Vamp, and Teenage Exorcist.

Deezen is also a prolific voice actor, whose more notable characters include Mandark in the Cartoon Network series Dexter's Laboratory, Snipes the Magpie in Rock-a-Doodle, Ned in Kim Possible, and the Know-It-All Kid in The Polar Express.

Early life[edit]

Edward Harry Deezen was born in Cumberland, Maryland, on March 6, 1957, the son of Irma and Robert Deezen. He was raised Jewish.[1] A class clown in his youth, Deezen began 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 stand-up comedian, Deezen performed at least three times at The Comedy Store and appeared on an episode of The Gong Show in the mid-1970s, only to be gonged by singer-songwriter Paul Williams.[3] After bombing his last act and having difficulty memorizing his routine however, Deezen eventually decided to abandon stand-up and focus on acting.[3]

Career[edit]

Mainstream film[edit]

In 1977, Deezen landed his first and best-known role in the film Grease, playing nerdy student Eugene Felsnic.[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' I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Steven Spielberg's epic comedy 1941. By 1979, Deezen was in such demand that he was constantly having to turn down roles, two such notable instances including the characters of Eaglebauer in Rock 'n' Roll High School and Spaz in Meatballs, both of which he turned down to film 1941.[5][4] Throughout the early 1980s, Deezen appeared in several high-profile studio releases, including Disney's Midnight Madness (1980), Zapped! (1982) and WarGames (1983), as well as reprising the role of Eugene Felsnic in Grease 2 (1982), one of only seven actors from the original Grease to return for the sequel.

In 1984, Deezen was cast in a major television role, playing the role of superintendent Eddie on the first season of the NBC sitcom 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]

WarGames marked the final mainstream film of Deezen's live-action 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.

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 Whoopee Boys (1986), the ensemble comedy Million Dollar Mystery (1987), Critters 2: The Main Course (1988), and The Silence of the Hams (1994). 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 (1988), Mob Boss (1990), and Teenage Exorcist (1991).

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 [Badham] and Matthew [Broderick] 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".[6]

Throughout the 2010s, Deezen appeared in several short films, including as himself in 2012's I Love You, Eddie Deezen, a nervous airline passenger in 2015's Flight Fright and opposite Larry Thomas and Caryn Richman in the short comedy The Love Suckers, which screened at the 2017 New York City International Film Festival.[7] Deezen returned to live-action movies in Fred Olen Ray's 2013 television film All I Want for Christmas, his last film role to date, in 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] His early voice roles included the voice of Donnie Dodo in Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird (1985), 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.[8] He was also considered for the role of Judge Doom in the film along with several other actors that were considered but lost the role to Christopher Lloyd.[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 to 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 supplied voice and motion capture performance for Robert Zemeckis' 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 Cumberland, Maryland, 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,[12] 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.[13][14][15] 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.

Legal issues[edit]

On September 16, 2021, Deezen was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer after refusing to leave a restaurant in LaVale, Maryland. According to the Allegany County Sheriff's Department, he had been asked by the restaurant's staff to leave after causing a disturbance and refused to do so, prompting a response from law enforcement. Upon the deputies' arrival, Deezen hid behind a woman in a booth, refused multiple orders to exit, and reportedly threw plates, bowls, and food that struck one of the deputies. Deezen was eventually removed and detained in at the Allegany County Jail to await a court appearance, where he will face charges of second degree assault, disorderly conduct and trespassing.[16][17]

On April 8, 2022, Deezen was arrested after he had unlawfully entered into a nursing facility. Two hours before his arrest, he had been told to stay away from the property. According to the Maryland State Police, Deezen has been charged with fourth-degree burglary, two counts of trespassing, and one count of disturbing the peace. He was taken to Allegany County Detention Center. In August 2022, he was ruled not competent to stand trial.[18][19]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1978 Laserblast Froggy
Grease Eugene Felsnic
I Wanna Hold Your Hand Richard "Ringo" Klaus
1979 1941 Herbie Kazlminsky
1980 Midnight Madness Wesley
1981 Steigler and Steigler Red
1982 Grease 2 Eugene Felsnic
Zapped! Sheldon
1983 WarGames Eddie Malvin
1984 Surf II: The End of the Trilogy Menlo Schwartzer
The Rosebud Beach Hotel Sydney
1985 A Polish Vampire in Burbank Sphincter
Mugsy's Girls Lane
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird Donnie Dodo (voice)
1986 The Longshot Parking Attendant Cameo
The Whoopee Boys Eddie Lipschitz
1987 Happy Hour Hancock
Million Dollar Mystery Rollie
1988 Critters 2: The Main Course Hungry Heifer Manager
Assault of the Killer Bimbos Dopey Deputy
Dorf's Golf Bible Waldo
Beverly Hills Vamp Kyle Carpenter
1989 Hollywood Boulevard II Walter
1990 Wedding Band Slappy the Clown Cameo
Dorf Goes Auto Racing Dipstick
The Raven Red Kiss-Off Himalayan Operator Cameo
Mob Boss Tony Anthony
1991 Rock-a-Doodle Snipes (voice)
Teenage Exorcist Eddie
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)
1998 News Traveler Eddie
2002 Snow Dogs Diesel Voice role
2004 The Polar Express Know-It-All (voice) Also motion-capture
2012 I Love You, Eddie Deezen Himself Short film
2013 All I Want for Christmas Larry Eastwood Cameo
Television film
2015 Flight Fright Nervous Airline Passenger Short film
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Seagull (voice)
2016 The Love Suckers Sammy Schwartz Short film

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1979 Champions: A Love Story Eric Philpot Television film
1981 Homeroom Ron Carp 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 12 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) 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) Television special
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Bulletin Board Monster (voice) Episode: "Cold Hard Toenails/Attack of the Blobs"
1994–1996 Duckman Iggy Catalpa (voice) 3 episodes
1995 The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Agent Tucker Television film
1996–1999,
2001–2003
Dexter's Laboratory Mandark (voice) 20 episodes
1996–1997 Life with Louie Melvin (voice) 4 episodes
1996 Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series 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 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) Television special
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) 3 episodes
2000 Pigs Next Door Ben Crenshaw (voice) 13 episodes
2001–2004 Lloyd in Space Larry (voice) 5 episodes
2001–2003 Oswald Andy Pumpkin (voice) 7 episodes
2002–2007 Kim Possible Ned (voice) 4 episodes
2003–2005 What's New, Scooby-Doo? Gibby Norton (voice) 3 episodes
2005 Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama Ned (voice) Television special
2009 Chowder Todd (voice) Episode: "Sheboodles"
SpongeBob SquarePants Himself Episode: "SpongeBob's Truth or Square"
2010 Pound Puppies Carlton J. Stankmeyer (voice) Episode: "The Yipper Caper"
2011 A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! Elmer Television film
2012 Handy Manny Zip (voice) 2 episodes
2014 The Fairly OddParents A.J. (voice; uncredited) Episode: "Dimmsdale Tales"
2015 Star vs. the Forces of Evil Additional Voices Episode: "Star Comes to Earth/Party With a Pony"
Transformers: Robots in Disguise Ped (voice) Episode: "Can You Dig It?"
2016 Wander Over Yonder Cartoon Peepers (voice) Episode: "The Cartoon"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
1995 Mr. Payback: An Interactive Movie Phil the Guard
2004 The Polar Express Know-It-All
2006 Cartoon Network Racing Mandark
2009 FusionFall Mandark

References[edit]

  1. ^ Juniper, Jennifer (February 20, 2012). "Off Hollywood - Eddie Deezen". Vice.com. Archived from the original on 2021-05-05. Retrieved 2022-07-12.
  2. ^ a b "Podcast for 10/17 Show Featuring Eddie Deezen Interview Is Up". Revenge of the '80s Radio. October 18, 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  3. ^ a b c d Leibling, Adam. "Eddie Deezen: Before Geek was Chic". READ Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2022-07-12.
  4. ^ a b c d Neibauer, James L. (August 1, 2006). "An Interview with Eddie Deezen". RogueCinema.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15.
  5. ^ "Back to School: A Retrospective". Rock 'n' Roll High School DVD.
  6. ^ "Coming Soon". iHeartChaos.com. Archived from the original on July 25, 2009.
  7. ^ "I Love You, Eddie Deezen". ILoveYouEddieDeezen.Blogspot.nl. November 19, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2014-06-26.
  8. ^ "PMC 35: Eddie Deezen". Pop My Culture podcast. March 6, 2011. Archived from the original on April 20, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  9. ^ "15 Things You Might Not Know About Who Framed Roger Rabbit". Mental Floss. June 21, 2018. Archived from the original on June 4, 2017. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  10. ^ Deezen, Eddie (April 20, 2011). "My Aflac Duck Audition". EddieDeezen.com. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  11. ^ "Thoughts on My 55th Birthday". EddieDeezen.com. Archived from the original on 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2022-07-13.
  12. ^ "Me and Graham: The Soundtrack of Our Lives". Archived from the original on 2017-02-09. Retrieved 2018-06-30 – via IMDb.
  13. ^ "mental_floss Blog >> Eddie Deezen". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on 2011-05-18.
  14. ^ "Eddie Deezen on Neatorama". Neatorama.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-08. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  15. ^ "Welcome a New Writer to Today I Found Out, Eddie Deezen". TodayIFoundOut.com. 2012-07-30. Archived from the original on 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
  16. ^ "Grease Actor Eddie Deezen Arrested for Restaurant Disturbance ... Allegedly Chucked Plates at Cops!!!". TMZ. EHM Productions. September 16, 2021. Archived from the original on September 16, 2021. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
  17. ^ Fitzsimons, Tim; Dasrath, Diana (September 17, 2021). "Grease Actor Eddie Deezen Arrested After Maryland Restaurant Fracas". NBC News. NBC Universal. Archived from the original on September 17, 2021. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
  18. ^ "Display Inmate - Display". InmateSearch.AllCon.org. Archived from the original on 2022-07-13. Retrieved 2022-07-12.
  19. ^ Wang, Jessica (April 14, 2022). "Grease Actor Eddie Deezen Arrested for Trespassing and Burglary". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on April 14, 2022. Retrieved April 14, 2022.

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]