BIOGRAPHY MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2003

 

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Jerry O'Connell

CLAIM TO FAME The chubby child actor came of age as scaredy-cat Vern in the 1986 classic Stand By Me. Now grown up and slimmed down, he carries a badge in his recurring role as Detective Woody Hoyt on NBC's Crossing Jordan.

CURRENT ROLE Continues to help Jill Hennessy's independent-minded medical examiner crack cases on Crossing. On the big screen, chases a money-snatching marsupial across the Australian Outback in Kangaroo Jack, a wacky tale of two Brooklynites mixed up with the Mob.

PROMINENT PARTS Betrayed sports agent Jerry Maguire as a cocky quarterback in the '96 hit. Dated (and serenaded) perpetually terrorized Neve Campbell in Scream 2 ('97). In 1999, scored as a high-school football star changed by Vietnam in the miniseries The '60's, and as a high-school football star accused of date rape in the film Body Shots.

BEGINNINGS Jeremiah was born February 17, 1974, in New York City, to an art director dad and an art teacher mom. (Brother Charlie is an actor and model.) Growing up urban was fun, he recalls: "At the age of 8, you're basically given a train pass and a set of keys and it's like, 'Go do what you want to do.' " In his case, that was acting. Signed with an agent at 10, he was soon chomping cookies for a Duncan Hines commercial -- then beat out hundreds of kids at an open casting call for Stand By Me. "It wasn't much of an acting stretch," he called. "I was an 11-year-old fat kid playing an 11-year-old fat kid." While attending the Professional Children's School, he found time to play a kid with super powers in the 1988-'91 series My Secret Identity. Next stop: NYU film school, where studying Stand By Me was part of the curriculum, much to the amusement of his classmates. He got the last laugh after graduating, sliding into the role of physicist time-traveler Quinn Mallory in the late '90s series Sliders.

GOING FOR THE GOLD Romantically speaking, the L.A. resident and former serial dater ("I'm the kind of guy who can't keep a plant alive for a week, let alone a relationship," he once said) recently dove into serious waters with Olympic gold medal swimmer Janet Evans.

DUBIOUS ACHIEVEMENT O'Connell spend his off-hours singing: "I'm probably the best drunken karaoke-er there is."


EDITORIAL NOTES BY WEBMASTER

Jerry has mentioned dating Sarah Michelle Gellar (not to be confused with Neve Campbell), whom he met while filming Scream 2 .

Sliders is actually a dimension traveling, not a 'time traveler' show.

Jerry dated Janet Evans for a few months in 2002, but he is reportedly single again. The two remain "very good friends." (People, January 2003)

 

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