Since first swaggering onto our screens in 1999, self confessed ladies man Chuck “Sherminator” Owen has been something of an enigma to movie-goers. Blessed with the carnal prowess of a “sophisticated sex robot”, Chuck Sherman shot to international fame alongside the other cast members of American Pie. While he may not have been as integral to the action as Jim, Finch, Oz and Stifler, the Sherminator’s legend was still an integral part of American Pie’s mythos.
The Sherminator continued to crop up as the series continued with surprising regularity. After soiling himself with embarrassment at the end of the first film, he finally managed to successfully lose his virginity to Slovakian exchange student Nadia in American Pie 2. He wound up as a guidance counsellor in American Pie: Band Camp, before finally appearing as a divorcé dad in America Reunion.
Unfortunately, the man who played the inimitable Chuck Sherman has enjoyed a less salubrious career. Actor Chris Owen, who first stepped into the role as a greasy-skinned, spiky-haired teenager, became a fleetingly brief household name after his scene-stealing performance. The years since have been less kind.
Unlike many of his arguably more successful American Pie colleagues, Owen began as something of a child acting prodigy, appearing in films from the age of 10. Throughout his teens, Owen starred in several moderately successful films such as Angus and Black Sheep. His career really lifted off at age 19 after his turn in American Pie.
However, despite appearing in a series of National Lampoon films throughout the early to mid 2000s, including Van Wilder, Gold Diggers and Dorm Daze One and Two, Owen found his career fading all too quickly. After starring in straight to DVD flicks Fortress and Hit List in 2012, it seems as though the offers of acting roles dried up. With limited options, the Sherminator was forced into an unglamorous position.
In 2014, it was reported that he had been spotted working a late night shift at a sushi restaurant in Santa Monica California, where he had been working for more than a year. The mighty have indeed fallen.
When interviewed about his current employment, Owen was pragmatic. Speaking to the New York Daily News, he said that he “love(s) acting and this job lets me stay in the fight”. Since that interview was conducted, Owen has made a few limited appearances on TV and film. However, his career has hardly reignited and reports suggest that he continues to moonlight on the Californian restaurant scene. If someone is willing to make such sacrifices in order to keep doing what they love, who are we to judge?
If we can learn anything from the tale of either the Sherminator or Chris Owen, it’s that nothing is guaranteed. Even someone who gave birth to as celebrated a character as Chuck Sherman is not safe forever. But, we should also be inspired that there are people out there who refuse to give up on their dreams. Hopefully, the Sherminator’s star will soon rise once again. Chris Owen, wherever you are, we salute you.