- 10:08 AM, May 20
Ventured into entertainment industry since his early teen, Jerry O'Connell has successfully penned his name either on small or big screen feature to remain in his place solidly amid the tough competition in Hollywood. Born Jeremiah O'Connell on February 17, 1974 in New York City to an Irish immigrant formerly working as an advertising agency art director and a high school art teacher, he was raised in Manhattan together with his younger brother, Charlie, under the encouragement of his parents to learn acting at a young age. Eagerly taking classes to develop his skills in the field by the age of six, the boy fortunately did not wait long to taste his first cinematic experience when he was selected to play Vern Tessio in "Stand by Me" (1986) at age 11. Appeared as a chubby, nervous kid there, he surprisingly managed to draw audience's notice which then led him to grab the lead part in syndicated series of "My Secret Identity" (1988-1991), a Canadian production revolving around the life of a male adolescent with his secret superpower which he often uses to fight crime the best he can.
Though many predicted that he could have a bright career as a juvenile star alongside River Phoenix also Corey Feldman following the warm response of the program, Jerry instead chose to put his focus on film studies and enrolled in New York University shortly after his graduation from Manhattan's Professional Children's School. Only appeared in two pictures of "Camp Wilder" (1992) plus "Calendar Girl" (1993) during his college years there, it was not until the blue-eyed guy obtained his BFA degree in film and television by 1995 that he eventually set out to become a full-time actor, marking his journey with a leading part in sci-fi TV series of "Sliders" first aired on FOX in the same year. Although the program was not a phenomenal hit, it was able to garner a cult following that rivaled such longer running shows as "Stargate SG-1" and even the "Star Trek" franchise, thereby became a decent enough vehicle to gain him recognition around American audience.
Also persistently built his reputation through some features, like "Joe's Apartment" (1996), "Jerry Maguire" (1996), and "Scream 2" (1997) while still attached to "Sliders", Jerry finally decided to leave the series in 1999 to concentrate more on big screen production, starring in "Mission to Mars" (2000) also "Tomcats" (2001). Both