Jeff Cohen (actor)

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Jeff Cohen
Jeffrey Bertan McMahon

(1974-06-25) June 25, 1974 (age 44)
OccupationAttorney, former actor
Years active1983–1991
Partner(s)Heather Peggs

Jeffrey Bertan Cohen (born Jeffrey Bertan McMahon; June 25, 1974) is an American attorney (and founding partner of Cohen & Gardner, LLP)[1] and former child actor best remembered for appearing as Chunk in the 1985 Steven Spielberg production The Goonies.

Life and career[edit]

Cohen was born Jeffrey Bertan McMahon in Los Angeles. He took his stage name from the maiden name of his mother, Elaine Cohen.[2] Since the part of "Chunk" entailed a lot of mockery at Cohen's weight, he took up high school football and has lost a great deal of weight as an adult. Cohen was one of the children describing words to the contestants on the 1982–83 CBS game show Child's Play, and during the summer of 1985 he appeared as a celebrity on Body Language. According to a 2014 story on Cohen in the magazine of the American Bar Association, the ABA Journal, "puberty hit and forced Cohen into early retirement."[1] In 1986 he was also in a Disney TV movie, Ask Max. Cohen's sister, Eydie Faye, is a playwright and actress. In the final scene of The Goonies, when the families gather on the beach, Faye has a cameo as Chunk's sister.[citation needed]

Cohen attended the University of California, Berkeley, earning a B.S. in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business in 1996. While at UC Berkeley, Cohen was a resident assistant during the 1994–1995 academic year at Unit I's Putnam Hall and later on in Norton Hall. He became President of the Associated Students; his campaign posters featured a picture of himself from his Goonies days and the simple slogan "Chunk for president". He was also known for his energy at football games serving as the "Mic-Man" and performing the now-famous Truffle Shuffle on the sidelines to raise applause from the crowd. While at Berkeley, Cohen also was initiated as a brother into the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.[citation needed]

Cohen also used introductions from Goonies director Richard Donner to get summer jobs on the business side of movie studios; he would say about that time in the ABA Journal story, "I grew up loving The Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers, but suddenly I had a new crop of heroes." 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.[1]

After his time at Berkeley, Cohen earned a J.D. degree from the UCLA School of Law in 2000[1] and later became an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles. In 2002, he co-founded the Cohen & Gardner firm in Beverly Hills.[3][4] In the September 24, 2008 issue of Variety, Cohen was profiled in the Dealmakers Impact Report.[3] Additionally, Cohen was named to The Hollywood Reporter's "Next Generation: Hollywood's Top 35 Executives 35 and Under" in their November 5 issue.[5]

Cohen claimed in The Goonies DVD commentary track that every role he played as a child had him wearing either a Hawaiian shirt or a pair of plaid pants, and director Richard Donner had the brilliant idea to put him in both for The Goonies.[6] Before The Goonies started filming, Cohen contracted chicken pox. Afraid that they would re-cast the role, he told no one of his illness and showed up to work anyway. According to the commentary track on The Goonies DVD, the chicken pox on Cohen's chest can be seen during the famous "Truffle Shuffle" sequence.[6]

Cohen was named to Variety's Dealmakers Impact Report in 2013.[7]

The American Bar Association profiled Cohen in 2014.[1]

As of February 2014, he periodically "writes about business, legal and political matters for The Huffington Post and CNBC."[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Little Shots Ralph TV Movie
1985 The Goonies Lawrence "Chunk" Cohen
1988 Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School Grunt Voice
1991 Perfect Harmony Ward TV Movie
Year Title Role Notes
1983 Tales from the Darkside Timmy Muldoon Episode: "Trick or Treat" (Pilot)
1983 Webster Dwight Episode: "A Question of Honor"
1984 Kids Incorporated Webster Bendetti Episode: "The Prankster"
1984 The Facts of Life Seymour Slavick Episode: "The Summer of '84"
1984 Family Ties Dougie Barker Episode: "4 Rms Ocn Vu"
1987 Marv Jr. Episode: "The Visit"
1985 Amazing Stories Ralph Episode: "Remote Control Man"
1986 Eddie Episode: "Magic Saturday"
1986 Wonderful World of Disney Max Baxter Episode: "Ask Max"
1987 She's the Sheriff Percy Episode: "Child's Play"


  1. ^ a b c d e f Gordon, Leslie A. (February 1, 2014). "Child actor parlays his connections into an entertainment law practice". ABA Journal. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  2. ^ "Dirty Irish Secret". Heeb. May 14, 2008. Archived from the original on July 9, 2008. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Dealmakers Impact Report '08: Jeff Cohen, Cohen & Gardner". Variety. September 23, 2008. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  4. ^ "About the firm". Cohen Gardner Law. Archived from the original on February 10, 2011.
  5. ^ "THR Next Gen 2008: Legal". The Hollywood Reporter. November 5, 2008. Archived from the original on December 19, 2008.
  6. ^ a b Donner, Richard (2001) [1985]. The Goonies DVD (Commentary track).
  7. ^ "Showbiz Strategists: Variety's Dealmakers Impact Report, Law: Jeff B. Cohen". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2018.

External links[edit]