I caught a syndicated
rerun of "The Wonder Years
" the other night. In between watching Wayne call Kevin a butthead
and wondering if Paul was going to finally get a girl
, I realized that I was getting that same old feeling
I got watching that show
in its prime
. You know that feeling... the one where you sit back and vaguely smile
and your eyes
phase out a little to the left and up, and you have an uncontrollable urge
about the "good old days
" - when you start thinking about how great it was growing up
back then, as if you never felt like an outcast
or had zits
or got ignored
I also realized that one of the things about this show that made me feel so snuggly-fresh and warm was the voice of that guy who narrates the show as the grown up Kevin, remembering his days of youth. I thought to myself, this voice is so warm and wonderful and resonant - this guy must be some talent, to be so perfectly cast as a voiceover that I get the chills thinking about the past and knowing that someday I will be telling similar stories to my kids as I recount my days of old. I had to know - Who is this man?
Well, maybe you'll be as surprised as I was.
Daniel Stern was born August 28th, 1957 in Bethesda, MD. There aren't many fan pages for this guy, so you'll have to excuse the glossing over of his youth. Suffice it to say, while other guys his age were growing up and deciding on careers to pursue, Daniel was bitten by the acting bug.
Stern studied acting for only a few weeks before deciding to get his hands dirty by immediately trying his hand in several plays. The 6'4" lanky actor didn't find many big roles, not filling the characteristics of the stereotypical leading man. His Hollywood entry was tepidly mediocre, playing one of the guys in the 1979 "Breaking Away."
Aside from appearing in two Woody Allen movies, Stern had nothing much to brag about before being cast as the voice of grown-up Kevin Arnold in the ABC future Emmy-winning series, "The Wonder Years," from 1988 to 1993. Despite being an integral part of the show, Daniel's name only appeared once in the credits, and his biography was never part of the network's press kit promoting the show. He thought it would adversely affect any chance of future acting roles if people immediately recognized his name as the voice of "Wonder Years" and paid too much attention to that fact. He was the invisible man of the show, and he spent an hour and a half each week recording the voiceovers.
Now you may be wondering, how did his acting career turn out - where can I see the voice behind "The Wonder Years"? It shocked me too to find out that Stern co-starred with Joe Pesci as the two bandits chasing the fearless Macaulay Culkin in the 1990 hit "Home Alone," and also reprised that role in the 1992 sequel "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York." Kind of disappointing, huh? That's the guy behind the nostalgia. Stern also appeared as Phil in "City Slickers," playing the part of Phil, Billy Crystal's depressed friend.
Stern dipped his feet into directing while with the "Wonder Years." He directed a 1989 episode entitled "Pottery Will Get You Nowhere," and followed that up by directing 9 more episodes. In 1993, Stern had his greatest directorial success with "Rookie of the Year," in which he also played the pitching coach.
As far as I can gather, Stern lives near San Francisco with his wife and three children. His recent appearances include voicing the part of Dilbert in that cartoon's TV animation debut, and voicing the part of a grown up Bart Simpson reminiscing about his childhood in a 1991 episode of "The Simpsons."
2001 Danny (tv series)
2000 Viva Las Nowhere
2000 How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog
1999 Dilbert (tv series)
1998 Very Bad Things
1996 Celtic Pride
1994 City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold
1993 Rookie of the Year
1992 Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
1991 City Slickers
1990 Home Alone
1990 My Blue Heaven
1990 Coupe de Ville
1989 Friends, Lovers, & Lunatics
1989 Little Monsters
1988 The Milagro Beanfield War
1988 The Wonder Years (tv series)
1987 Born in East L.A.
1986 The Boss' Wife
1986 Hannah and Her Sisters
1985 Key Exchange
1983 Get Crazy
1983 Blue Thunder
1982 I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can
1983 Honky Tonk Freeway
1983 It's My Turn
1980 A Small Circle of Friends
1980 One Trick Pony
1980 Stardust Memories
1979 Breaking Away
1979 Starting Over
Thanks to the following: