Long before Jerry O’Connell was a co-host on The Talk he was a child actor just getting his feet wet in the industry. You’ve probably seen his first major role, but you probably didn’t even recognize him.
A few years removed from his legendary directorial debut This is Spinal Tap, Rob Reiner got to work on adapting the Stephen King novella The Body. The coming-of-age story concerned four children going on an adventure to see a dead body. That project turned into Stand By Me, an 80s classic that helped launch multiple careers.
O’Connell starred alongside Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, John Cusak, and Kiefer Sutherland. All of them would go on to find tremendous success over the following decades, with big roles in, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Say Anything… and The Lost Boys respectively.
O’Connell played Vern Tessio. The character’s often the butt of the joke for his weight and short stature. He’s virtually unrecognizable. In real life, all of the kids bonded during the experience. They each shared a Young Artist Award for their work in the film. Here’s a clip of O’Connell discussing the film in 1986.
What Happened Later?
Keep in mind that O’Connell was just playing his age, 12, in Stand By Me. He went back to school, and starred in some television here and there over the following years. He went to NYU, and quickly landed a starring role on Sliders. The series ran for three years on Fox and another two on Sci-Fi.
After that, his career really picked up. The 90s saw him earn big roles in Jerry Maguire and Scream 2. The following decades brought continuous work, and he’s popped up films and tv shows ever since. He’s also been the voice of Superman in animated films for years now.
‘The Talk’ Of The Town
O’Connell’s been a regular figure on morning talk shows for years now. He has an impressive pedigree as a guest co-host, starring on everything from The View to Today. He’s popped up on Live! 48 times, and has filled in on The Wendy Williams Show many times over the years.
O’Connell first appeared on The Talk in 2010, and he’s regularly popped up as a guest co-host ever since. In 2021 he finally got a chair of his own after Sharon Osbourne got fired. This whole journey may not have happened if it weren’t for Stand By Me.