skip navigation
Jerry O'Connell

Jerry O'Connell

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Also Known As: Jeremiah O'Connell Died:
Born: February 17, 1974 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, director, producer, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A veteran of the stage and screen from an early age, actor Jerry O'Connell had his first career breakthrough at 11 years old when he co-starred alongside other soon-to-be stars like River Ph nix and Corey Feldman in the coming-of-age drama, "Stand By Me" (1986). Though much of the attention was focused on his two co-stars - particularly Ph nix - O'Connell nonetheless emerged as a child actor to watch, despite being a bit on the pudgy side by child star standards. Having made a name on the big screen, however, he established his prominence on television, starring in "My Secret Identity" (Syndicated, 1988-1991) and "Sliders" (Fox, 1995-97; Sci-Fi Channel, 1998-2000), the latter of which lived on in cult infamy. Over the years, a now adult and svelte O'Connell made appearances in several studio films, including major releases like "Jerry Maguire" (1996), "Scream 2" (1997) and "Mission to Mars" (2000), though he found limited success in becoming more than an occasional supporting player. He did, however, find his footing on sitcoms, and despite several series being canceled before their time, he nonetheless established himself as a comedic actor of significant worth - particularly at celebrity imitations...

A veteran of the stage and screen from an early age, actor Jerry O'Connell had his first career breakthrough at 11 years old when he co-starred alongside other soon-to-be stars like River Ph nix and Corey Feldman in the coming-of-age drama, "Stand By Me" (1986). Though much of the attention was focused on his two co-stars - particularly Ph nix - O'Connell nonetheless emerged as a child actor to watch, despite being a bit on the pudgy side by child star standards. Having made a name on the big screen, however, he established his prominence on television, starring in "My Secret Identity" (Syndicated, 1988-1991) and "Sliders" (Fox, 1995-97; Sci-Fi Channel, 1998-2000), the latter of which lived on in cult infamy. Over the years, a now adult and svelte O'Connell made appearances in several studio films, including major releases like "Jerry Maguire" (1996), "Scream 2" (1997) and "Mission to Mars" (2000), though he found limited success in becoming more than an occasional supporting player. He did, however, find his footing on sitcoms, and despite several series being canceled before their time, he nonetheless established himself as a comedic actor of significant worth - particularly at celebrity imitations - as well as one-half of one of Hollywood's more adorable couples with his model-actress wife, Rebecca Romijn.

Born on Feb. 17, 1974 in New York, NY, O'Connell was raised by his father, Michael, an art director for an advertising agency, and his mother, Linda, a teacher. From the time he was six, O'Connell was on the path to becoming a performer, taking classes for acting, dance, gymnastics, piano and even fencing. Even at such a young age, he knew that he wanted to be in entertainment. After getting an agent when he was 10, the chunky-faced O'Connell landed a television commercial for Duncan Hines cookies. Following his stage debut in an off-Broadway production of "Water Music," he auditioned for what turned out to be his breakthrough role, playing the chubby, winsome Vern Tessio in Rob Reiner's classic coming-of-age drama, "Stand By Me" (1986). Set in 1959, the story followed four best friends (River Ph nix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, and O'Connell) who confront their emotional travails while searching for the body of a young boy rumored to have been killed by a train. Though the film was remembered more for Ph nix's touching performance and the emergence of future star Kiefer Sutherland, O'Connell more than held his own with his often comical crying fits.

Right after he made a name for himself in "Stand By Me," O'Connell began attending the Professional Children's School in New York, while continuing to land parts. He made his first made-for-television movie, "The Room Upstairs" (CBS, 1987), which he followed by starring in the Canadian series "My Secret Identity" (Syndicated, 1988-1991). O'Connell played a young teenager who gets zapped by a photon beam that suddenly gives him superpowers that he uses to fight crimes and solve problems in people's lives. Once the show was off the air, O'Connell matriculated at New York University, where he studied film and television while continuing to work, though he left in 1994 several credits shy of graduation. After starring in the short-lived comedy "Camp Wilder" (ABC, 1992), O'Connell was one of three friends in 1962 who try to live out their life-long ambition of meeting Marilyn Monr in "Calendar Girl" (1993), starring Jason Priestley. O'Connell's returned to television in "Blue River" (Fox, 1995), based on the novel by Ethan Canin, showcased his now pumped-up physique, as well as his ability to play both youthful and middle-age versions of an unstable man coping with a dysfunctional family.

O'Connell achieved his second career highpoint with his next project, starring in the cult sci-fi adventure series, "Sliders," playing a physics grad student who unwittingly creates a doorway to parallel universes. Along with his best friend (Sabrina Lloyd), his professor and mentor (John Rhys-Davies) and a musician (Clevelant Derricks) who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, he slides from wormhole to wormhole leading to parallel universes in hopes of eventually going back home. O'Connell left after four seasons, while the series continued on for one more before closing shop. On the big screen, O'Connell donned "Rambo" gear to battle some pesky cockroaches in "J 's Apartment" (1996). Based on the popular MTV short of the same name, the film featured a lovelorn protagonist whose life is ruined by his "friendly" insect roommates. He also won the coveted role of a football player handled by sports agent Tom Cruise in "Jerry Maguire" (1996) before tackling the part of Neve Campbell's boyfriend in "Scream 2" (1997).

After playing a reverend in the made-for-television movie "What the Deaf Man Hear" (CBS, 1997), he was one of eight singles whose night of drunken debauchery g s awry after one of the girls (Tara Reid) claims she was raped in "Body Shots" (1999). He appeared in the two-part miniseries "The 60s" (NBC, 1999) and was an astronaut in the sci-fi misfire "Mission to Mars" (2000), before starring in the sex-comedy genre, the unfunny "American Pie"-wannabe, "Tomcats" (2001). Returning to television, he found a comfortable niche playing the recurring role of Det. Woody Hoyt on the NBC crime series "Crossing Jordan" (2001-07) for several seasons. O'Connell returned to the big screen as one of a down-on-their-luck duo of losers who run afoul of both the Mafia and a troublesome marsupial in "Kangaroo Jack" (2003). After being one of many celebrities to jump aboard the poker bandwagon by appearing on "Celebrity Poker Showdown" (Bravo, 2003- ), O'Connell voiced Captain Marvel for an episode of "Justice League Unlimited" (Cartoon Network, 2003-06).

O'Connell had a rare writing credit with "First Daughter" (2004), on which he also served as executive producer. In a surprising turn to romantic comedies, he had a supporting role in "Yours, Mine and Ours" (2005), a remake of the 1968 Lucille Ball-Henry Fonda comedy about two high school sweethearts who reunite after the deaths of their spouses and after marrying, discover their children hate the new arrangement. Though he appeared in fewer features as his career progressed, O'Connell was a frequently seen face on television, logging episodes of "Las Vegas" (NBC, 2003-08), "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 2006- ) and "Samantha Who?" (ABC, 2007- ). He co-starred in the short-lived sitcom "Carpoolers" (ABC, 2007-08), playing a lothario dentist left with nothing but an empty house after being divorced by his wife. In 2008, O'Connell poked fun at Tom Cruise and Scientology with a viral Internet parody that led to another satirizing Hillary Clinton during the presidential primary campaign. Meanwhile, he tried his hand at another sitcom, "Do Not Disturb" (Fox, 2008), but the much-maligned comedy set in a hotel failed to attract an audience and was axed from the schedule after only three episodes. His personal life, however, fared better when he and wife Rebecca Romijn had twins at the end of 2008.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Space Station 76 (2014)
3.
 Lookalike, The (2014)
4.
 Veronica Mars (2014)
5.
 Scary Movie 5 (2013)
6.
 Piranha 3D (2010)
8.
 Obsessed (2009)
9.
 Baby on Board (2009)
10.
 Man About Town (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1980:
Began taking acting and dance classes at age six
1982:
Appeared in first TV commercial at age eight
:
Made stage debut in the Off-Broadway play, "Water Music"
1986:
Made feature film debut playing Vern in "Stand By Me"
1987:
First TV-movie, "The Room Upstairs" (CBS)
1988:
Had first TV episodic guest shot on "The Equalizer" (CBS)
1988:
Made TV series debut in the syndicated Canadian series "My Secret Identity"
1993:
Returned to features (in older roles) with "Calendar Girl"
1995:
Received critical praise for playing a man who ages nearly twenty years in the FOX movie "Blue River"
1995:
Played a lead role in the sci-fi series "Sliders" (Fox, 1995-97; Sci-Fi Channel, 1998); began producing in the third season and also directed episodes; left series before the final season
1995:
First starring feature role, "Joe's Apartment"
1997:
Played Neve Campbell's boyfriend in "Scream 2"
1999:
Co-starred as a Vietnam veteran in the NBC minseries "The 60s"
1999:
Had featured role in the ensemble drama "Body Shots"
1999:
Sold script "First Daughter" to New Regency; executive produced the feature, which starred Katie Holmes (released in 2004)
2001:
Had lead in the dismal teen comedy "Tomcats"
2001:
Starred as Detective Woody Hoyt on the NBC series "Crossing Jordan"
2003:
Starred in the mafia comedy "Kangaroo Jack"
2005:
Co-starred with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo in the remake of "Yours, Mine and Ours"
2006:
Cast in the Mike Binder comedy "Man About Town" (lensed 2004)
2007:
Stared in the short-lived ABC sitcom "Carpoolers"
2009:
Appeared in the drama thriller "Obsessed," opposite Beyonce Knowles and Ali Larter
2010:
Acted opposite Elisabeth Shue in the action thriller "Piranha 3-D"
2010:
Cast as Pete Kaczmarek, a free-wheeling playboy, in the CBS legal drama "The Defenders"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

HB Studio: New York , New York -
Professional Children's School.: New York , New York - 1987
New York University: New York , New York - 1991 - 1994
Southwestern Law School: Los Angeles , California - 2009

Notes

While filming "Joe's Apartment" O'Connell had a scene in which cockroaches romp inside his mouth. Rather than use the rubber fakes, he elected to use live ones, and told Entertainment Weekly (June 30-July 7, 1995): "I suggested we use live ones. Otherwise it would've looked fake. I could feel their feelers against the roof of my mouth." Writer-director John Payson added, "He did two takes."

"I look at all my friends that I graduated college with and they're still living at home and they can't get a job at McDonald's. So I'm pretty lucky right now."---O'Connell quoted in Time Out New York, July 17-24, 1996.

"I'm not medicated and I really don't get into bad moods."---O'Connell quoted to People, November 29, 2004.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Sarah Michelle Gellar. Actor. No longer together.
companion:
Estella Warren. Actor. Co-starred in "Kangaroo Jack"; reportedly dating in early 2002.
companion:
Giuliana DePandi. Host. Began dating on January 15, 2003; seperated in Fall 2003; together again, as of November 2003.
companion:
Geri Halliwell. Dating as of September 2003; no longer together as of October 2003.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Linda O'Connell. Teacher.
father:
Michael O'Connell. Art director. British.
brother:
Charlie O'Connell. Model, actor. Born c. 1975; was a junior fencing champion; joined cast of "Sliders" in 1998.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute