What Eugene From Grease Looks Like Today

He might be best known as "the guy who played the nerdy guy in Grease," but the actor permanently associated with the role of Eugene Felsnic, the bullied and bespectacled Rydell High student who could surprisingly hurl a cream pie with remarkable precision, has a name: Eddie Deezen.

Deezen turned in a memorable performance in the 1978 classic and went on to appear in lots of other projects, including 1983's WarGames and Grease 2 in 1982. He's enjoyed a long and varied career, both on-screen and off, but some things have never really changed. For one thing, his trademark is playing, well, nerds, and he's done it better (and more often) than just about anybody. 

How did this fellow maintain a steady and interesting stream of work for decades in a business that can chew up even the hottest A-list stars at the drop of a hat? Where have you seen and heard him? Did he ever get to experience life as a leading man? Let's take a closer look at Eddie Deezen's career following his signature role in Grease, and while we're at it, let's take a closer look at Eddie Deezen.

Revenge of the nerd

By the time Grease concluded its extremely successful first run in 1979, it was the fifth-highest grossing film of all-time. Other members of the cast moved on to bigger projects. John Travolta starred in 1980's Urban Cowboy and enjoyed a career resurgence in the '90s with Pulp Fiction. Olivia-Newton John became a pop sensation. And then there's Eddie Deezen, who arguably had a more important career than his co-stars — because he became the very model of the "movie nerd." 

Deezen had excellent timing, too — so many '80s movies needed nerd characters to operate those new-fangled computers, to serve as punching bags for cool characters, or to turn the tables on those cool characters. Deezen did it better than anyone, playing nerds in a slew of '80s classics, including  Midnight Madness, Zapped!, WarGames, and a return to the role of Eugene Felsnic in Grease 2.  (Ironically, the one nerd-centric '80s film he didn't appear in was Revenge of the Nerds.)

He'll 'B' seeing you

Eddie Deezen has dealt with two primary professional hindrances. He was typecast as a nerdy guy, and he was dogged by the looming presence of an iconic movie that overshadowed everything else he's ever done. That said, this guy has rolled with it and thrived, making a living as a working actor for more than 40 years and counting. 

Sure, he's not starring in Guardians of the Galaxy or some other big blockbuster, but he has appeared in a ton of late-night cable-ready B-movies in the golden age of late-night cable-ready B-movies — the late '80s and early '90s. They're fun, they pay, and they beat shoveling coal or working in a cubicle.

Deezen has been party to many camp classics and schlocky, blood-soaked and T&A-laden masterpieces. Among them: Lasterblast, a movie so delightfully cheesy that it was featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000; Teenage Exorcist (he plays "Eddie"); Beverly Hills Vamp (he plays a nerd who encounters blood-sucking prostitutes); Delta Pi (in which a sorority house enters a mud wrestling competition); Critters 2 (a sequel to a Gremlins knockoff), and Assault of the Killer Bimbos (which is actually about some go-go dancers that are framed for murder). Deezen also enjoyed top-billing in Surf II as Menlo, a nerd who exacts revenge on some surfers by concocting an evil batch of soda that turns jocks into mutants. (Don't worry: You can skip Surf I and it will still make sense.)

He's a very animated guy

"Nerd voice" is definitely a thing. For some reason, we associate the less-cooler members of our population with having a timbre that's high, nasally, whiny, and maybe a little annoying at times. That manner of speech is as much a part of the nerd mystique as suspenders, a pocket protector, and a calculator watch. Eddie Deezen has the nerd voice to go along with the nerd image — and his constant presence as movie nerds is probably why we think nerds talk like, well, Eddie Deezen. It's a voice that's served the actor well.

Over the past 20 years or so, Deezen's career has shifted almost entirely to the non-visual, but most of those roles have remained in his nerdy wheelhouse. He voices bespectacled scientist Mandark on Dexter's Laboratory, glasses-wearing Ned on Kim Possible, four-eyed scientist Gibby Norton on What's New, Scooby-Doo?, a specs-wearing kid named Melvin on Life with Louie, and the geeky and vision-impaired Know-It-All in The Polar Express.

He went commercial

Deezen's live-action career gave way to voicing characters in animated TV shows and feature films, and that, in turn, led to a prolific career as a voiceover performer in television commercials. In the '90s, he voiced an energetic cartoon cat named Nacho — one half of a duo called "Nacho & Dog" – in a short-lived and now obscure series of commercials for Taco Bell's kids meals. Slightly more iconic: He took on the job of voicing Pop — as in Snap, Crackle, and Pop — one of the three Rice Krispies mascots in that cereal's long-running ad campaign. 

Deezen also came close to landing one of the most famous ad characters ever. As he wrote on his blog in 2011, he auditioned to portray the AFLAC Duck. "It went great!" Deezen said. "I did my Marlon Brando impression (as the Duck), I did the Duck crying real loud, the director asked me to do Jerry Lewis as the Duck and I did, I did the Duck singing." Ultimately, he lost that ducky gig to Gilbert Gottfried. Fowl!

Here's a fun fact

The Hollywood history books are laced with actors who, when the big roles dried up, or out of a need for creative fulfillment, turned to writing. Recent examples include Justin Theroux (the Leftovers hunk co-wrote Zoolander), Emma Thompson (she starred in her own adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility), and Seth Rogen (he started writing in earnest after Undeclared was canceled). Add Eddie Deezen to that list, except that his writing niche is a bit more in line with his nerd reputation. 

The curious actor is a big fan of trivia and fun facts, and as such, he's worked for a number of big players in that particular publishing arena. Deezen has contributed fact lists and articles for the long-running Uncle John's Bathroom Reader series, as well as online trivia repositories such as Neatorama and Mental Floss. Deezen loves to write about music and movies most of all,  particularly the Beatles, the subject of his 1978 movie I Want to Hold Your Hand.

Hey, isn't that the guy from Grease?

Eddie Deezen may not be a household name, but his face is highly recognizable from his major contributions to the world of nerds on film, particularly Grease and WarGames. That means the guy has steadily booked fun cameo appearances in all kinds of TV shows over the decades.

Perhaps you remember him from his recurring, voice-only role on the live-action kiddie TV cult classic The Weird Al Show as "Guy Boarded Up in the Wall." Maybe you spotted him in Nickelodeon's live-action TV movie version of The Fairly OddParents. In the 2013 made-for-TV Christmas movie All I Want for Christmas, Deezen played an actor named Larry Eastwood, whose thing was starring in parody movies like There's Something About Larry and Dirty Larry. In 2009, he enjoyed the rare honor of playing himself on an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. Also, he played a museum owner on Monk, because at some point in their career, all actors have appeared on Monk.

She loves you, Eddie Deezen

Eddie Deezen, a self-proclaimed real-life geek and/or nerd has played comfortable variations of himself on the big screen and small screen for decades. However, not until the 2012 short film I Love You, Eddie Deezen did he portray the part he was born to play: Eddie Deezen.

Written by, directed by, and starring indie filmmaker Sherry Mattson, it's about a woman named Mabel who is so bored with her humdrum, Midwestern existence that she decides to blow up her life and head for Hollywood. Upon arriving in California, she seeks out the man of her dreams (if not object of passive online stalking): king of the dorks, Eddie Deezen. (As the film's copy states, "nerds need love, too.)

Deezen was very game for the 13-minute film, which allows him to play the romantically pursued, hunky leading man for perhaps the first time in a career dominated by roles as undesirable outsiders. He gives an enthusiastic and charming performance when he and Mabel finally get their in-the-flesh meet-cute. (We're not sure what Mattson would have done had she not landed Deezen. Rewrite her movie as I Love You, McLovin from Superbad?)