80s | Movies | Pop Culture

Remember Sloth From "The Goonies?" The Man Behind The Mask Lived A Very Tragic Life

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The 80s adventure film The Goonies was one of my favorites while growing up.

Steven Spielberg's cult-classic about a group of outcasts in search for a treasure to save their neighborhood incorporated a lot of things that I did as a kid, like making my own toys and riding my bike around the neighborhood, but it also touched on things that I fantasized about as a kid, including teaming up with my friends and going on an adventure sans adults.

The characters were also really lovable and memorable, especially the gentle chocolate and ice cream-loving giant named Sloth. When we first meet him, he is chained in a room and tortured, and it was later revealed that it was his own family, including his brothers Francis and Jake and their evil mother Agatha "Mama" Fratelli that were behind it.


Thanks to the Goonies, Sloth was able to escape captivity, and we assume he ends up living happily ever after. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the man behind the mask.

John Matuszak a.k.a The Tooz, the actor who brought Sloth to life, had a rocky road to fame, but even with his success as a football star and actor, not a lot changed.

A Troubled Football Star

Matuszak developed a love for football at a young age, and his large stature encouraged him to pursue a career playing the game. Standing at six-foot-seven and weighing 280 pounds, the Wisconsin-born athlete was drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1973.

Three years later, he was traded to the Oakland Raiders, where he made a name for himself as a defensive end. He helped the team win the Super Bowl twice before an injury forced him to retire from the sport in the early 80s and take up acting.

However, at the time, what many fans did not realize was that Matuszak was battling an addiction to prescription drugs, which he started taking to manage back pain. He was also an alcoholic.

“He just couldn’t control himself,” said former Raiders employee Mike Ornstein. “He just couldn’t have one drink. He thought his body was so large, it would absorb it. His drink was triple Crown Royal with a beer backer. The man lived a hard life.”

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