Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
The Wonder Years, Meatballs Part II, Back to the Future
Currently Known For:
Public Relations Director
1984 - 2002
Certain characters just seem to resonate with viewers, especially when you’re talking about a coming of age TV show like “The Wonder Years”. In the series, we were focused primarily on the life of Kevin Arnold, who was played by Fred Savage. Many of us identified with the character, especially if you had an older brother. That role of the rude brother would be played masterfully by Jason Hervey, who is still remembered for the role as Wayne to this day.
Hervey was born on April 6, 1972 to a family that had worked in the entertainment industry in Hollywood, with his mother being an acting agent. Hervey would use his connections at a young age to get involved in acting, and was only seven years old when he made his acting debut on an episode of the TV series “Trapper John, M.D.” Heading into the 1980s, Hervey would continue to land many guest roles, including in popular shows such as “The Love Boat” and in films like “Meatballs Part II” and “Police Academy 2”.
Eventually, Hervey would start to land more regular roles, playing parts on several episodes of the shows “Wildside”, “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Fast Times”. He would also continue to be in some notable movies such as “Back to the Future”, “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” and “Back to School”. In terms of his television acting, Hervey would have his biggest role when he took on the role of Wayne in “The Wonder Years” starting in 1988, and appearing in more than 100 episodes of the show’s successful run.
Hervey says that he himself was nothing like his character on the show, and he used his real life brother as inspiration for the role. “My brother Scott was the real Wayne Arnold,” he said. “There were so many things that I borrowed from our real life experiences…But there were other times where I was myself, and I would have a heart, you know, when you knew the character and knew what he was gonna do. There would be something that would get your attention. That’s why I would always say that Wayne’s the brother that you love to hate.”
According to Hervey, people still talk about the role, and it even ended up landing him in trouble. In recent years, Hervey was at a bar when a patron who had drank too much said he didn’t like the character after recognizing the actor. “This guy who attacked me had a big brother that was just like the character,” he said. “He told me how much he hates his brother and how much he hates me,” and struck Hervey with a bottle that caused him to get some stitches. Thankfully for Hervey, he had plenty of people with him that were able to break up the fight, saying “I kind of ended up getting the last laugh.”
When “The Wonder Years” wrapped up in 1993, Hervey would continue to work, but wasn’t landing anything that had the kind of consistency that he had on the series. During the rest of the 1990s, Hervey would appear in a handful of TV movies, and even became involved in professional wrestling as he became business partners with Eric Bischoff. As a result, he’d be featured on WCW Monday Nitro before the company was acquired by Vince McMahon of the WWE.
It’s now been more than a decade since Hervey has taken on a part as an actor after working as the voice of the titular character on the children’s show “100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd” that came to an end in 2002. Since then, Hervey’s only acting credit has come as the voice of Dove in the “Justice League Unlimited” series. These days, Hervey is more focused on the business world, having worked as a public relations director for HealthSouth before heading to Los Angeles to work as a reality TV producer.
Unfortunately for Hervey, he’d make headlines in 2016 that caught the attention of fans of “The Wonder Years” when he was arrested. Hervey had been pulled over while under the influence of sleeping pills, being charged with a DUI and having a loaded handgun with him in the car. As a result, Hervey had to spend two days in jail before being released.Since then, Hervey has been able to put that behind him to continue his career as a producer.
“Most everyone in my family is on the business side of the entertainment business,” Hervey said. “So it was actually more odd for me to be the black sheep of the family. I wanted to be an actor, and everyone else in the family was like, ‘Okay?’ But even as an actor and doing ‘The Wonder Years’, I was always more interested in the network executives, and the writers and producers, and how the show comes together and all the different steps of the process.”
More than 20 years since “The Wonder Years” has come to an end, Hervey says that he keeps in touch with many of his former castmates, including Fred Savage. “On an individual basis, we’ve kept in touch,” he said. They would have a full cast reunion in the 2010s, as well, saying that “It was beyond a treat to get to see everybody and catch up. It really was just a great, great day.”