Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Ryan Frost
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Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News.
Posted by Ryan Frost
social
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John Matuszak

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Famous For:
The Goonies and NFL Defensive End with the Oakland Raiders
Networth:
Unknown
Currently Known For:
Deceased
Famous Years:
1973 - 1989
Birthdate:
October 25, 1950
John Matuszak



  Famous For:
The Goonies and NFL Defensive End with the Oakland Raiders

  Networth:
Unknown


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“Hey, you guys!” Larger than life in both size and personality, John Matuszak was a professional football player for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders who, throughout his nine-year career on the field, went on to win the 1976 Super Bowl and the 1980 Super Bowl. Also an avid strongman competitor, he placed ninth in the 1978 World’s Strongest Man Competition and went on to prove tackling and lifting weights weren’t his only strengths as he made his acting debut in the 1979 film North Dallas Forty. Retiring from the NFL in 1982, Matuszak built a career in Hollywood with roles in Caveman and The Ice Pirates before he landed his iconic role as Sloth in the 1985 adventure comedy The Goonies. Wowing audiences as the deformed and creepy Sloth, Matuszak made cameos in everything from M*A*S*H, The Dukes of Hazzard and Cheers before an accidental overdose took his life in June 1989 at only 38 years old. Advertisements:


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John Daniel “Tooz” Matuszak came into this world on October 25, 1950 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Matuszak’s childhood was marked by great loss when three of his siblings were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which took the life of two of his brothers at an incredibly young age. Just as life at home was difficult, life at school was hard for Matuszak who was often bullied and ridiculed by his classmates for being a “gawky beanpole.” This is exactly what motivated Matuszak to pack on muscle as he started weightlifting and even joined the high school’s track and field team where he participated in the shot-put event and became a state champion with the Wisconsin Class A. Towering at 6’8” tall, Matuszak continued to add muscle as he joined the high school football team as a defensive lineman.

Graduating from high school, Matuszak enrolled at Fort Dodge Junior College in Iowa where, at 280 pounds, the coach was thrilled to have him on the team (even if it was for only one season). After his freshman year, he was recruited as a tight end for the University of Missouri so he packed his bags and moved south to take the field as a Tiger. As a sophomore at Mizzou, he ran into some trouble at a fraternity party where he got drunk and hit another student in the face. To make matters worse, his football coach and recruiter—Dan Devine—left the university to become a professional coach for the Green Bay Packers, leaving Matuszak with no one to plead his case as he lost his scholarship and was kicked off the team.

Matuszak transferred a second time, this time heading farther south to the University of Tampa in Florida where he finally became a star player and made a name for himself on the field. Amid his success with the Spartans, he was spotted by the Houston Oilers who drafted him during the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft but, in true Matuszak style, things didn't go quite as planned. Shortly after he signed on with the Oilers, Matuszak tried to join the Houston Texans of the World Football League, which upset the Oilers and led them to renegotiate his contract and trade him to the Kansas City Chiefs. Sticking with the Chiefs for two years, he then signed on with the Oakland Raiders in 1975 and finally found a home in the NFL.

Making a name for himself with the Raiders both on and off the field, Matuszak became a star player and helped the team take home victories at the Super Bowl XI in 1976 against the Minnesota Vikings and again in 1980 at the Super Bowl XV where the Raiders defeated the Philadelphia Eagles. By then, Matuszak was already a well-known NFL bad boy thanks to his volatile behavior and his excessive drug use as he often numbed the pain of his injuries with a cocktail of narcotics and painkillers. By 1982, his injuries and drug use were so bad that he spent the entire season on the bench until he finally retired at the end of the season, leaving many of his former friends and fellow players grateful to see him go after years of troubled behavior and arguments on the team.

Despite his questionable behavior with the Raiders and his notorious party-hard lifestyle, Matuszak was determined to rekindle his fame and looked to acting to do exactly that. Having already made his debut as a football player in the 1979 film North Dallas Forty, Matuszak snagged roles in Caveman and The Ice Pirates in addition to making cameos in popular series like Perfect Strangers, M*A*S*H, The Dukes of Hazard and Silver Spoons. Then, he caught a huge break in 1985 when he was cast as the deformed Sloth in the classic adventure comedy The Goonies. With the kids instantly falling in love with Matuszak, the former jock became a gentle giant on the set—scary makeup and all.

“And John Matuszak, Sloth, it took four hours every time we put his makeup on,” Goonies director Richard Donner recalled. “Three or four hours, it was terrible. At four in the morning they’d start on him. we had him in the water with the kids after that and I’d say, ‘Whatever you do, listen to me carefully, do not splash John because if that water gets on his makeup, all that material, it’s going to take four hours to do it again, and you’re asking a man to sit through that again.’ And they’d say, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, we understand.’ Bang, first take, John was covered in water. They ran over, as the characters, in glee seeing him and they drenched him. So, you couldn’t get angry at them. He was a saint.’”

A far cry from his reputation in the NFL as one of the meanest players on the field, Matuszak embraced The Goonies and, afterward, appeared in episodes of The A-Team and Cheers. But, just as his reputation as an NFL bad boy was wearing off, the 38-year-old overdosed on Darvocet on June 17, 1989. Also suffering from an enlarged heart and pneumonia, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office declared both were likely the cause of the fatal overdose.

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