Eddie Deezen (born March 6, 1958) is an American actor, comedian and voice actor, perhaps best remembered for perfecting the archetypal nerd role in such films as Grease, Midnight Madness and WarGames, as well as in a number of independent films throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including Surf II and several films by Fred Olen Ray.
As a voice actor, he is easily recognizable for his distinctively high-pitched and nasaly voice, most notably used for the characters of "Mandark" on the Cartoon Network series Dexter's Laboratory, Snipes the Magpie from Rock-A-Doodle, Ned in Kim Possible and "Lenny the Know-It-All" in the film The Polar Express.
Eddie Deezen was born Edward Harry Dezen in Cumberland, Maryland, the son of Irma and Robert Dezen. A class clown in his youth, Deezen started out with aspirations of becoming a stand-up comedian and moved out to Hollywood within days of graduating High School (after adding an "e" to his last name so that people would pronounce it correctly) to pursue a career. 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 show and finding difficulty in remembering his lines. 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.
Deezen landed his first and perhaps best known role in the movie Grease, playing the nerdy "Eugene Felnic", a part he won through a simple audition process. During Grease's post-production, Deezen had a small part as a bully in the low-budget independent science fiction film Laserblast. Laserblast was released in March 1978, three months before the release of Grease, making this Deezen's first released film.
Following the massive success of Grease, Deezen found himself being cast in a string of high-profile films, including Robert Zemeckis' directorial debut I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Steven Spielberg's epic 1979 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 the cult classic Rock 'n' Roll High School (which was then given to Clint Howard) and "Spaz" in Meatballs, both of which Deezen turned down to film 1941.
The early 1980s saw Deezen perpetuating his nerd role in WarGames, Zapped! and Disney's Midnight Madness, as well as returning to the role of "Eugene Felnic" in Grease 2 in 1982. Deezen also landed a recurring role playing a goofy superintendent on the first season of Punky Brewster, voluntarily leaving the show by the end of the season due to his reluctance to perform before a live audience and inability to remember lines.
1983's WarGames proved to be the last mainstream film of Deezen's live-action career as he transitioned into independent film, starting with his first starring role in the 1984 cult film Surf II: The End of the Trilogy, where he played the evil mad scientist "Menlo Schwartzer".
1984 also marked the release of Revenge of the Nerds, the film that is generally credited with making the stereotypical "nerd" stock character a mainstay of teen films. Deezen remarked in an interview that he asked the producers of Nerds why they hadn't cast him in the film; their response was that Deezen was deemed "too geeky" for the movie…that they were looking to dress "normal people" up as nerds instead. Despite this, Deezen says he is frequently "recognized" by strangers for being in the film.
Deezen worked steadily throughout the remainder of the 1980s and early 1990s, showcasing his nerd persona in both bit roles and major roles, including Million Dollar Mystery, The Whoopee Boys and Happy Hour. He collaborated numerous times with comedian Tim Conway, appearing in several of his Dorf videos, and with low-budget filmmaker Fred Olen Ray, who gave Deezen more leading roles with the films Beverly Hills Vamp, Mob Boss and Teenage Exorcist.
To date, Deezen's last live-action appearance was a cameo in the 1998 Leslie Nielsen spoof Spy Hard, playing a security guard.
In a July 2009 interview, Deezen revealed that he would return to acting in front of the camera, stating "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 (Travolta) 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."
In the mid-1980s, Deezen transitioned into voice acting, a change of pace he favored due to not needing to memorize dialogue and an impressive salary. He occasionally lent his voice to various children's films, including Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird and Don Bluth's 1991 Rock-A-Doodle, before finding full-time work on television in the mid-90s, supplying voice work for recurring characters on Grimmy, Duckman, Kim Possible and What's New, Scooby-Doo?, guest spots on many programs including Johnny Bravo, Recess and Darkwing Duck, and serving as the voice of "Pop" in commercials for Rice Crispies.
Deezen's perhaps best-known voiceover role is that of "Mandark", the arch-nemesis of the eponymous Dexter on Cartoon Network's Dexter's Laboratory, a role he played for the series' entire run from 1996–2005, as well as the TV special Dexter's Laboratory: Ego Trip and the related 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 his voice and motion capture performance to the blockbuster film The Polar Express, playing the role of the nerdy "Know-It-All". He reprised this role for the subsequent video game.
Deezen was born and raised in the Jewish faith, and is a member of the Church of Scientology.
Deezen is a huge fan of The Beatles, proclaiming himself to be their "biggest fan"; he was interviewed for the unreleased 2005 film Me and Graham: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, a documentary about two filmmakers searching the US and UK for the ultimate Beatles fan. For more than a year his official website featured a very difficult Beatles trivia quiz devised by Deezen himself, with a $100 prize should anyone answer all the questions correctly - Deezen revealed in a recent interview that nobody had ever won the prize.
Deezen has been married to Linda George since March 6, 1984.
|Grease||Eugene Felsnic||Filmed before Laserblast, but released afterwards|
|I Wanna Hold Your Hand||Richard "Ringo" Klaus||First collaboration with Robert Zemeckis|
|1979||Champions: A Love Story||Eric Philpot||TV movie|
|1941||Herbie Kazlminsky||Second collaboration with Robert Zemeckis|
|1981||Desperate Moves||Red||aka Rollerboy|
|"Homeroom"||Ron Carp||TV pilot|
|1982||Grease 2||Eugene Felsnic|
|1984||Surf II||Menlo Schwartzer||Lead role|
|The Rosebud Beach Hotel||Sydney|
|1985||A Polish Vampire in Burbank||Sphincter||Initially intended to be the star, 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 his dialogue was dubbed by a sound-alike.|
|Mugsy's Girls||Lane||aka Delta Pi|
|Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird||Donnie Dodo||(voice only)|
|1986||The Longshot||Parking Attendant||Cameo; first collaboration with Tim Conway|
|The Whoopee Boys||Eddie Lipschitz|
|1987||Dorf's Golf Bible||Waldo||Second collaboration with Tim Conway|
|Happy Hour||Hancock||aka Sour Grapes|
|Million Dollar Mystery||Rollie||Major role; ensemble comedy|
|1988||Critters 2||Hungry Heifer Manager||Cameo|
|Assault of the Killer Bimbos||Dopey Deputy ("Walter")|
|1989||Hollywood Boulevard II||Walter|
|Beverly Hills Vamp||Kyle Carpenter||Lead role|
|1990||Wedding Band||Slappy the Clown||Cameo|
|Dorf Goes Auto Racing||Third collaboration with Tim Conway|
|Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective||Himalayan Operator||Cameo|
|Mob Boss||Tony Anthony||Lead role|
|Teenage Exorcist||Eddie||Lead role|
|1994||Silence of the Hams||Video Cameraman||Cameo|
|Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights||Caliph||(voice only)|
|1995||Mr. Payback: An Interactive Movie||Phil the Guard||Cameo; short film|
|The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes||Agent Tucker||TV movie; remake of the 1969 Disney film.|
|1996||Spy Hard||Rancor Guard Who Gets Spit On||Cameo; last live-action film appearance.|
|1997||The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue||Charlie||(voice only)|
|1999||Dexter's Laboratory: Ego Trip||Mandark||(voice only)|
|2004||The Polar Express||Know-It-All||(voice only); Third collaboration with Robert Zemeckis|
|2005||Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama||Ned||(voice only)|
|Me and Graham: The Soundtrack of Our Lives||Self||Documentary film; not yet released.|
|2006||"Cartoon Network Racing"||Mandark||(voice only) Video game|
|2009||"Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall"||Mandark||(voice only) Massively multiplayer online game|
- The Facts of Life (1982) (episode: "The Big Fight")
- Magnum, P.I. (1983) (episode: "Squeeze Play")
- Punky Brewster (1984)
- The Fall Guy (1986) (episode: "Lady in Green")
- Monsters (1989) (episode: "The Demons")
- Darkwing Duck (1991) (episode: "Darkly Dawns the Duck")
- Mother Goose and Grimm (1992)
- Goof Troop (1992) (episode: "Queasy Rider")
- Duckman (1994–1996)
- Dexter's Laboratory (1996–2003)
- Life With Louie (1996) (episode: "Masked Chess Boy")
- Mighty Ducks (1996) (episode: "Mondo-Man")
- Timon & Pumbaa (1996) (episode: "Alcatraz-Mataz/Oahu Wahoo!")
- The Weird Al Show (1997)
- Cow and Chicken (1998) (episode: "Can Cow Come Out and Play/Horn Envy")
- Kenny and the Chimp (1998)
- Johnny Bravo (1999) (episode: "A League of His Own/Johnny Goes to Camp/Buffoon Lagoon")
- Disney's Recess (1999) (episode: "Lord of the Nerds")
- Lloyd in Space (2001)
- Oswald (2001)
- Codename: Kids Next Door (2002) (episode: "No P in the OOL/Kenny and the Chimp: Diseasy Does It/Operation: C.A.K.E.D.")
- Kim Possible (2002–2007))
- What's New, Scooby-Doo? (2003–2005)
- Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island (2005) (episode: "A Cold Day on Fruit Salad Island/Five Nuts and a Baby")
- Family Guy (2006)
- Chowder (2009) (episode: "Sheboodles")
- SpongeBob's Truth or Square (2009) (Himself)
- Eddie Deezen Biography (1958 -) Film Reference
- Revenge of the '80s Radio. October 17, 2008 episode. www.revengeofthe80sradio.com.
- Leibling, Adam. 'Eddie Deezen: Before Geek was Chic' READ Magazine.
- Neibauer, James L. 'An Interview with Eddie Deezen' www.roguecinema.com.
- "Back to School: A Retrospective". Rock 'n' Roll High School DVD.
- The Radio Dan Show. Eddie Deezen Radio Interview radiodanshow.podomatic.com
- I Heart Chaos Eddie Deezen Interview www.iheartchaos.com
- Eddie Deezen - Scientology Profile. www.nndb.com
- Eddie Deezen Official website
- Eddie Deezen at the Internet Movie Database
- Eddie Deezen - Scientology Completion Services. www.truthaboutscientology.com
- Kittenpants.org Interview
- READ Magazine Interview
- Rogue Cinema Interview
- The Radio Dan Show Interview (Audio Interview)
- Revenge of the 80s Radio Interview (Audio Interview)
- I Heart Chaos Interview
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pl:Eddie Deezen ro:Eddie Deezen fi:Eddie Deezen