Do you remember the young actor who starred in a ton of commercials as a kid? He was the one with bright eyes and a charming smile. You might also remember him from some TV shows or movies that he did in the 80s and early 90s. Well, what ever happened to David Mendenhall?
Early life and career
David Mendenhall was born on June 13, 1971, in Oceanside, CA. His first appearance was in a commercial for Mattel when he was just 6 years old in 1977. He quickly racked up an impressive resume of commercials – more than 150 before he turned 20. David was a prodigious child actor.
Mendenhall’s first major break was his casting in ABC soap opera "General Hospital" in 1979. The show is about a group of fictional characters working in a hospital setting. Like most soap operas, "General Hospital" is melodramatic, with plenty of love triangles, heartache, and betrayal. Mendenhall played the role of "Mike Webber" from 1979 to 1986 – the role he is best known for today.
He was honored with a Soapie for Best Youth Actor In A Daytime Continuing Drama in 1985. He also collected several "Youth in Film Awards" during that time.
The show ran for six years. The success of his performance and the show led to other opportunities in Hollywood.
Space Raiders, Streets, and Hollywood Pictures
David was very busy in the 80s. In 1982 he performed his first voice acting as Terry in the title "Puff and the Incredible Mr. Nobody." Voice acting would become one of the most notable parts of his career following his involvement with Disney’s Hollywood Pictures division later. That year also saw him star as William in "The Smurfs Christmas Special" and as Jason in the movie Taxi.
In 1983, Mendenhall appeared opposite Vince Edwards in "Space Raiders" from Roger Corman. Space Raiders also starred Barry Miller, who later appeared in the teen-classic "Can’t Buy Me Love" (1987).
In 1985, David starred in The Twilight Zone, one of the best TV shows to ever exist. The impact of this show, which featured many young actors in prominent roles, cannot be overstated. In The Twilight Zone, David played the character Richard Jordan Jr. in the episode called "Examination Day" about a character who must take an intelligence test in a dystopian society, only to be found to be too intelligent.
David also starred in "Transformers: The Movie" in 1986. The Transformers are a group of robots that can change into vehicles or devices. This popular franchise is still alive and well today, thanks in part to the 2007 live-action film starring Shia LeBeouf and Josh Duhamel. In the 1986 film, Mendenhall played "Daniel Witwicky." Other films that featured David Mendenhall that year included Witchfire, Potato Head Kids, The Centurions, and Our House.
Over The Top
In 1987 David got his first big Hollywood break when he starred opposite Sylvester Stallone in the movie ‘Over The Top’.
Sylvester Stallone plays the part of an estranged father and arm wrestler who tries to reconcile with his son during the course of a brief road trip across America.
In 1990, Mendenhall played the role of "Steve" in another supporting role in the gritty thriller "Streets". "Streets" was about teenage prostitutes, drug dealers, and addicts.
As mentioned before, David’s career also featured significant voice-acting work. Unlike traditional acting, voice acting doesn’t require being in the same physical space as the other actors. It is often considered more difficult because the voice actor has to create a complete character with just their voice, something that Mendenhall did exceptionally well.
This transition to voice acting also allowed Mendenhall to continue working while maintaining a less aggressive in-person schedule.
Hollywood Pictures was started in 1984 but did not become active until 1989. The division was formed by Walt Disney Studios to make movies for teenage audiences. Mendenhall starred in two of their first three releases: "The Rescue" and "SpaceCamp." His Hollywood Pictures involvement included frequent voice acting for cartoon series and video games.
Unlike some child actors who struggle to find work as they get older, Mendenhall has consistently worked in the entertainment industry since he was a youngster.
He no longer solely acts (although he does still perform, especially when it comes to voice acting), but now follows his "true passion" by working in entertainment production. His most recent acting work was the role of Kerr in the 2014 production "A Help From Above."
David’s relationship status – whether he is married, engaged, or dating someone – is not known to the public. He has a younger sister named Marrissa.
At the end of the 80s, David lost his father to cancer, which proved to be a severe blow. After dealing with this difficult loss, David began to think about the future.
Life After Acting
David Mendenhall pursued his education at two prestigious institutions. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California, majoring in Theatre and minoring in Cinema-TV. During his undergraduate studies, he excelled academically, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and was recognized on the Dean’s List. He was also active in various societies and activities, serving as a Student Council Representative, becoming a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, working as a Staff Writer for the campus newspaper, and holding a position as an I.T. Technician.
Following his undergraduate studies, Mendenhall attended Southwestern Law School where he earned his Juris Doctor degree with a focus on Entertainment Law, specifically Contracts and Intellectual Property. He was part of the Moot Court Honors Program and received two C.A.L.I. Awards. He also worked as a student staff member in the Admissions Office. In addition, he served as a Research Attorney Extern at the L.A. Superior Court, Law & Motion Department, where he conducted extensive research and analysis on California code and case law related to various civil complaints. His duties included analyzing pleadings and drafting tentative judicial rulings under the supervision of research attorneys for review by various judges.
The goal of all of this? To start his own production company.
He continues to work in production for film and television, but is also a prolific writer, having found an interest in the subject from the time he was young. His first production role was on seasons 3 and 4 of "Deal or No Deal" and has gone on to lead production on many other shows.
What is David Mendenhall doing now?
Today, David is doing what he loves. Building on top of a strong early acting career, he has transitioned into being a respected producer in the industry.
With his work in production, he influences what we see on screens big and small. He is also heavily involved in charitable work, lending his name and time to causes that are close to his heart.