During a touching tribute to legendary Hollywood director Richard Donner, The Goonies actor Jeff Cohen revealed Donner and his wife generously paid for the child star’s college education when his acting career hit a wall. Despite playing the imminently quotable Chunk in the ’80s treasure-hunting classic, Cohen never found another hit and began working as a production assistant for Donner at Warner Bros. After realizing that show business wasn’t working out for him, Cohen made the decision to go to college, and that’s when Donner unexpectedly stepped up in a big way for the child actor. Via Variety:
When I was applying to college, I said, ‘hey Dick, can you write me a letter of recommendation for college?’ And he said, ‘sure kid.” He called everybody kid. If you were seven years old he called you kid. If you were 50 years old he called you kid. He asked me to put some notes together to give him an indication of what he should say. In the note to him, I told him about my life and some of the struggles that I went through as a kid — my father not being there and other issues that I dealt with. And he called me on the phone and instead of merely writing a letter of recommendation to college, he told me that he and Lauren had read my letter and they were going to pay for my college. I was absolutely flabbergasted. I was shocked. I had to sit down, because, for me, paying for college was going to be a problem. That changed my life.
Thanks to the Donners paying his tuition at Berkeley, Cohen went on to become an entertainment lawyer. While the Donners’ financial help was obviously huge, more importantly, “they believed in me.”
“They thought I could make something of myself,” Cohen wrote. “That is Dick Donner — being kind, being empathetic, and not because he wanted anything in return.”