Celebrity Then And Now
Josh Saviano
Famous For: The Wonder YearsCurrently Known For: New York Attorney and Once Rumored to be the Real Marilyn Manson
Josh Saviano
Famous For The Wonder Years
Currently Known For New York Attorney and Once Rumored to be the Real Marilyn Manson

“It is who I am. There was a time when I wanted to sort of push it away and say, ‘Well, I want to be successful in this world on my own and not have to use that.’ But, this is who I am. It was six or seven years of my absolute prime years of growing up.” A former child star turned savvy New York attorney, Josh Saviano once shied away from being identified by his early work as Kevin Arnold’s best friend on The Wonder Years but, after three decades, he’s finally realized that The Wonder Years was just an early chapter in his stellar career. Retiring from acting after the series wrapped in 1993, Saviano focused on his education and later passed the New York bar exam before realizing that mainstream law wasn’t exactly his passion. Today, the 41-year-old has found a way to combine his early career as an actor with his expertise as a lawyer in his own law firm, JDS Legal, and his celebrity consulting agency, Act 3 Advisors. How’s that for coming full circle!

Long before he donned his nerdy glasses as Paul Pfeiffer or was ever rumored to be the real Marilyn Manson, Joshua David Saviano led an inconspicuous life in northern New Jersey after coming into this world on March 31, 1976 in White Plains, New York. Although his parents had very little interest in show business, that didn’t stop the young Saviano from dreaming of taking the stage as he persuaded his parents to let him audition for a handful of commercials as a child. Before his 10th birthday, Saviano made his television debut with a one-line commercial for Aim toothpaste but was still hoping for something bigger that might launch him to stardom. Luckily, he didn’t have to wait long.

In 1988, Saviano joined the cast of a new show on ABC called The Wonder Years, which starred Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold and Danica McKellar as Winnie Cooper. With Saviano playing the part of Kevin’s nerdy best friend, the Jewish allergy-suffering kid named Paul Pfeiffer, the cast was finally whole as the show’s pilot episode met critical praise when it aired after Super Bowl XXII in January 1988. In fact, the show was such a huge overnight success that it earned its first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series after six episodes and put Saviano on the map alongside his costars, especially when Savage became the youngest actor ever nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award!

Cashing in on his fame from The Wonder Years, Saviano made his feature film debut in The Wrong Guys in 1988 and guest-starred on popular shows like The Ray Bradbury Theater, Reading Rainbow and Fun House before making a cameo in the popular television film, Camp Cucamonga, in 1990. By 1993, however, Saviano grew tired of the grueling television schedule and, after The Wonder Years ended, he decided to focus on his junior and senior years of high school. After graduation in 1994, he enrolled at Yale University where he studied political science and joined the Sigma Nu fraternity, eventually climbing the ranks to become the fraternity president.

Without showing any signs of regretting his departure from Hollywood, Saviano started the next chapter of his career and spent a few years working as a paralegal with a bustling law firm in New York City before he enrolled at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Balancing his part-time job at a local internet firm with a full course load, he earned his juris doctorate and passed the New York bar exam. He then accepted an offer with the prestigious Morrison Cohen LLP firm in New York City, but even as he climbed the corporate ladder from novice attorney to senior counsel and partner, something was still missing… the passion behind his career.

In 2015, Saviano surprised his partners and colleagues when he submitted his resignation and set out to launch a solo career with his law firm, JDS Legal. But, he didn’t stop there. Combining his passion for the law and his expertise as a former actor, he also launched a celebrity brand consulting agency known as Act 3 Advisors. “What I’m trying to do these days is help individual artists and talent brand themselves—whether it is through a reality television show, or through just being a social media meme, or other skill set that they have,” Saviano says. “The fact that I understand the industry, and understood the industry and how it’s evolved, only makes it even easier for me to relate to them on the level that I think they need to be related to.”

On the heels of launching his law firm and consulting agency, Saviano made a huge return to Hollywood when he starred as a lawyer in three episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2015. Once again proving he still had a knack for acting, Saviano’s comeback might’ve been brief but it was enough to rekindle a decade of rumors, one of which suggested that the former Wonder Years nerd had ditched Hollywood to go on the road as Marilyn Manson. “I think it actually it was one of the very first internet rumors, because it was 1994,” Saviano recalled. “The internet was just sort of becoming mainstream, particularly on college campuses. It was just perfect timing and the perfect storm… I had no idea who Marilyn Manson was at the time. So, I’d spoke to one of my friends at school who did know who he was. It became a progressively more entertaining storyline amongst me and my friends.”

Still enjoying the rumor today and only briefly considering taking the stage with Manson to put the rumors to rest, Saviano has decided against it saying, “What would you rather have, people thinking you’re a dorky kid from The Wonder Years or a satanic rock star? It’s way cooler.” He certainly has a point! Beyond the rumors, Saviano happily stays in touch with his former costars but doesn’t like to dwell too much on the past even though it’s The Wonder Years that inspired him to open his consulting agency. “It is who I am,” he says of his past. “There was a time when I wanted to sort of push it away… but this is who I am.” And, while some still argue that he’s a satanic heavy metal rocker, Saviano is simply content with another chance to help an aspiring star by offering a few tidbits of advice rooted in his own Hollywood experience.

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