BIOGRAPHY - Larry Zerner

Larry Zerner may not be a name familiar to those who do not follow the Friday the 13th franchise but his claim to fame was that it was his character that Jason Voorhees would obtain his now-iconic hockey mask from. Zerner, who would appear as practical joker Shelly in Steve Miner’s 3-D sequel Friday the 13th Part 3, was born in Los Angeles on September 29th 1963 and attended Fairfax Senior High, where he majored in theatre. After graduating, eighteen year old Zerner had struggled to find work as an actor but, whilst handing out tickets for a screening of The Road Warrior (George Miller’s action-packed sequel to his cult flick Mad Max) in Westwood, was approached by Martin Kitrosser and Carol Watson, the husband-and-wife writing team who would later work together on the comedy Meatballs Part II, who felt that Zerner would be ideal for the role of Shelly. Handing over his agent’s contact details, Zerner was contacted several days later and was invited to an audition, in which he would read in front of Miner.

Arriving on location at the Valuzet Movie Ranch in Saugus, the experience of shooting Friday the 13th Part 3 would prove to be somewhat problematic for Zerner and his young co-stars due to the production shooting in 3-D, which would require dual cameras and the cast constantly having to aim various objects at the audience in order for the effects to work successfully. With Miner being preoccupied with both 3-D and a rushed schedule, the cast would receive little support from the filmmakers with regards to their performances, whilst technical issues would force Miner to reshoot an entire sequence set in a convenience store, in which Zerner and co-star Catherine Parks are harassed by a gang of bikers. One piece of advice that Miner would offer to Zerner was that he should avoid acting and play himself, as he shared many similarities with his character. Although Shelly would be attacked off screen by Jason, Zerner was still required to sit in the make-up chair whilst the effects crew applied a prosthetic piece across his neck to simulate a slit throat.

By the time that Friday the 13th Part 3 was released in August 1982, Zerner had enrolled at California State University, where he would receive a Bachelor’s Degree in theatre in 1985. Eventually turning his back on acting, Zerner studied at Loyola Law School and earned a law degree in 1991, before working over the following decade under the likes of Jonathan Kirsch and Dennis Mitchell. In 2000, he launched his own firm, Zerner Law, in which he would specialise in trademark, entertainment and copyright law. Zerner’s clients include Peter M. Bracke (author of Crystal Lake Memories) and Daniel Farrands (writer of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and who would later direct His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th). In between offering legal advice and appearing as a guest speaker at entertainment conferences, over recent years Zerner has embraced his horror movie legacy and has since reunited with many of his Friday the 13th Part 3 co-stars.

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About the Author

Christian Sellers

Christian Sellers is a film critic for various horror magazines, he owns and runs horror site Dr. Gore's Funhouse.com and music site Love-It-Loud.com and is the author of The Complete History of the Return of the Living Dead. Email: christian.sellers@fridaythe13thfilms.com

7 Responses to “ BIOGRAPHY - Larry Zerner ”

  1. Shelly rocks!!! Im glad alls going well with Him and Zerner Law. And He seems proud of His role, and why not? His character will always be known for giving Jason the hockey mask. Or should I say get it taken away, and have his throat slit. Whichever.

  2. Yeah Shelly’s a numbskull but sympathetic enough to be likable

  3. Shelly’s always been one of my favorite characters within the friday universe.

  4. It’s almost a shame that Friday the 13th kills off most it’s characters! So many faces I’d like to see again in the series…

  5. Zerner was the first likable nerd in the entire series, and his undying love of the series continues to inspire me. This is one actor who is DEFINITLEY not ashamed of his involvment with the series. Also, he is not afraid to admit that although his part wasn’t anything special, he thoroughly enjoyed being associated with the franchise. He also has a great sense of humor. Too bad he got whacked, cuz I would like to see him in more of the series. Just one Jason fans opinion.

  6. Shelly was the only character that really had “character” in Part 3. He stole the show much in the same way that Jimbo stole the show in Part 4. These two deaths are among few times in the F13 series where I was sad to see characters get killed off.

  7. Didn’t he also steal the Scarefest name as well? lol

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