The brainchild of Steven Spielberg, The Goonies is one of the most beloved films to come out of the 1980s, and for good reason. With a cast led by Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton, and countless other stars, this tale of mischievous childhood misadventure remains a home run. Here are all of the reasons why it holds up almost 37 years later.
Despite the film’s many stars, the de facto heroes of the story are the dynamic duo Chunk and Sloth. Played by Jeff Cohen and John Matuszak, respectively, the pair cut an imposing figure.
Between his unforgettable appearance and massive stature, Sloth has become a fan favorite over the years, which has caused many to wonder ⏤ who actually resides under all the prosthetics and makeup?
The man responsible for Sloth is none other than two-time Super Bowl champion John Matuszak, a.k.a “The Tooz.” Known for his wildman antics on and off the field, Matuszak had a storied NFL career with The Oakland Raiders before setting his sights on Hollywood. So much so that in 2005, Sports Illustrated named him one of the top five NFL “bad boys” of all time.
Matuszak was a monster on the field, intimidating almost every player he faced. With his never-give-up attitude, nothing could stop the Wisconsin-born all star. Off the field, however, Matuszak was the complete opposite of his game-day persona.
Matuszak was by all accounts gentle, kind, and a joy to interact with. Yet not all of his off-field behavior saw a positive spin. The star famously drank and drugged his way through most seasons and, in his autobiography, he admitted that he abused both as a professional football player.
When casting Sloth, the Goonies filmmakers needed a larger-than-life man to play the larger-than-life character. Enter John Matuszak. Standing at 6 feet 8 inches tall, the former defensive end easily fit the form needed for the character. Check out the supercut below highlighting all of Matuszak’s best moments as the loveable brute.
Sadly, Matuszak’s volatile lifestyle led to his accidental overdose and death on June 17, 1989. He was 38. Matuszak had been using the prescription drug Darvocet for pain and simply took too much. This Washington Post article, detailing his life and cause of death, was published two days after his death.
Looper put together a wonderfully in-depth look at the life and death of John Matuszak that can be watched below.
Sloth will forever hold a place in the hearts of Goonies fans everywhere. The warmth and compassion brought to the character continues to teach valuable lessons, and if nothing else, reminds us that, “Goonies never say die,” and neither did John Matuszak.