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It has been over 35 years since the 1985 iconic movie The Goonies by Steven Spielberg premiered. The critically acclaimed film, which featured a cast of talented young actors, instantly became a cult classic.

Sean Astin (Mikey) recently appeared in Netflix’s Stranger Things, Josh Brolin (Brand) took on the role of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, and Corey Feldman (Mouth) continued working in the entertainment industry, accumulating a long list of film and TV credits. 

Jeff Cohen, who played the beloved character of Chunk, stopped pursuing acting roles and instead sought out a college degree, with The Goonies director Richard Donner graciously paying his way.

Jeff Cohen couldn’t get acting roles after hitting puberty

The 1985 film focused on a group of young friends that go on an infamous adventure after discovering an old pirate’s treasure map. When they run into the Fratelli crime family, who are also searching for the treasure, a series of zany and wacky escapades ensue.

Chunk is an overweight fun-loving boy who is instrumental in helping the others find the treasure, despite his clumsiness and goofy demeanor. Cohen was only 11 years old when he played the character in the film. Audiences took to him immediately, still following him three decades later on social media.

While fans loved how the character befriends the Fratelli’s abused son, Sloth, and takes being the butt of most of the jokes in stride, it is his belly-rolling “Truffle Shuffle” that has sealed his fate in pop culture history.

Actor Joe Pantoliano, Jeff Cohen, Lupe Ontiveros, director Richard Donner, Ke Huy Quan, director Robert Davi and Corey Feldman attend the 25th Anniversary celebration of "The Goonies" in 2010
The Goonies cast, Joe Pantoliano, Jeff Cohen, Lupe Ontiveros, director Richard Donner, Ke Huy Quan, director Robert Davi, and Corey Feldman | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Cohen explained in a 2015 Daily Mail interview, “There were basically about four fat kids in town, so every time there was a fat kid role you saw the same people at the audition. It was survival of the fattest.”

He explained that hitting puberty ended his acting career, saying, “I was transforming from Chunk to hunk and I couldn’t get roles anymore.” He said, “It was terrible. My first love was acting but puberty had other ideas. It was a forced retirement. I didn’t give up acting. Acting gave me up.”

The director of ‘Goonies’ paid for Chunk’s college tuition

Cohen spoke with Variety last year after learning of the passing of Donner at the age of 91. He spoke fondly of his relationship with the acclaimed director, saying, “I’m a terrible actor and he made me look great. The fact that I looked like I knew what I was doing and looked like I could act, proves that he was a genius.”

Cohen said that when acting was no longer an option for him, Donner hired him to work as his production assistant at Warner Bros. When he asked the director for a letter of recommendation for college, Donner and his wife, Lauren, took it one step further and offered to pay his college tuition in full.

Cohen revealed, “I was absolutely flabbergasted. I was shocked. I had to sit down, because, for me, paying for college was going to be a problem.” He explained, “That changed my life. Not only economically, but it showed that Dick and Lauren believed in me.” He reflected, saying, “They thought I could make something of myself.”

Cohen is now a partner in an entertainment law firm

In 1996, Cohen earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from UC Berkeley without any student loans. He then graduated from UCLA School of Law, and BuzzFeed reports that in 2002, he opened his own law firm.


‘The Goonies’: Jeff Cohen Says Hollywood Didn’t Want Him After Puberty and Weight Loss

Cohen is now the founding partner of Cohen & Gardner, LLP in LA. Keeping a direct connection to the industry that gave “Chunk” his start, he specializes in entertainment law. Cohen is also the author of The Dealmaker’s Ten Commandments, published by the American Bar Association.

According to AV Club, the entertainment lawyer contributes his success to The Gooniesdirector, saying, “None of that would have happened for me without Dick Donner helping me when there was nothing I could do for him. To me, that’s a unique thing in our business.”