If you’re a product of the 80’s or a fan of crass, simpleton humor paired with mediocre animation, then like me you catch yourself at times pondering the fate of former MTV star – Beavis. His stint as a title character in the popular 90’s sitcom, “Beavis and Butt-Head”, brought him into the homes of American families for 4 entertaining and thought-provoking seasons. But, since his days in the limelight as a child actor, little is known about the thespian we grew to love. Until now.
Our research team got to work on uncovering the details of the actor’s life, both personal and professional, and began piecing together his sorted biography. After 97 minutes of intense, grueling internet searches, and absolutely zero fact-checking or witness interviews, the crew hit pay dirt. Beavis was alive and well…and working. But the road to his Hollywood redemption would not be without potholes. Instead, we found his path to reclaiming stardom littered with struggle and one very shocking twist.
His story picks up where many of us last saw him, working alongside childhood friend, Butt-Head, on what would be one of television’s first unscripted dramas. Discovered by Mike Judge, the two were pitched by tv execs to be filmed in their home by cameramen, having their lives documented for the entire world to see.
Blinded by potential fame and dollar signs, the two agreed to the terms and filming began in March of 1993. Initially, it was an ideal underdog story. Two teenage boys, destined to flunk high school and with no realistic plans to support themselves long-term, suddenly becoming household names with disposable income. But, as many of us know, a sudden transition from rags to riches can takes its toll, and Beavis and Butt-Head were no exception to this cliche.
By the time the show reached its fourth season, tension on set was rising and a noticeable rift was forming between the boys. Citing creative differences, Beavis opted not to renegotiate his contract for a fifth season and “Beavis and Butt-Head” was off the air.
Behind the scenes footage, January 1997. Photo courtesy TMZ.
Butt-Head has referenced the split in later interviews, hinting that he believed Beavis was experiencing some sort of psychotic break, most probably triggered by the temptations associated with fame and the pressures of constant media scrutiny. “He kept demanding more money. A ridiculous amount. He said it was so he could buy more TP for his bunghole. But we all knew that wasn’t where the money was going.” It was also rumored that Beavis’s obsession for fire and his insistence on creating more screen time for his alter-ego, Cornholio, led to several heated off-camera arguments and an eventual melt-down.
After leaving the series, Beavis auditioned for a variety of television shows and movies, to no avail. Each rejection chipped away at the actor’s pride. But with serious debt looming, he finally succumb to a break from the industry, taking on a series of odd jobs. Unfortunately, due to a lack of high school education, self-discipline or any type of truly marketable skills, each job ended abruptly.
In October of 2011, Judge made a proposal to bring back the show, to which a desperate Beavis agreed. However, it was clear old demons still haunted the former celebrity, and filming was terminated after only three months. With no money and no real prospects, things were looking grim for Beavis. But his impending demise would ultimately prove to be the catalyst for his dramatic redemption.
It was at this point he realized, if people were no longer interested in seeing Beavis, then maybe he would have to become someone else. After all, he had created an alter-ego before. Did his experiment with the character Cornholio teach him nothing? He knew the answer. To find his way back into the business, he must reinvent himself. And reinvent himself he did. The actor changed his name, changed his wardrobe and began taking acting classes. With his freshly created identity and renewed focus, he set out once again on auditions. Only this time, he would eventually land the role of a lifetime.
By the end of 2011, Beavis, now known as Jere Burns, (note the reference to fire in his new moniker), had been cast in a recurring role as Wynn Duffy on acclaimed FX original series, Justified.
Though we may still see traces of the Beavis we once loved through his blonde locks and signature eyebrows, it is clear the actor has adapted an entirely new style. He’s on the top of his acting game and managed to bring to life a character so many of us love to hate every week. It’s a Hollywood transformation so many have attempted, but so few have achieved.
What’s next for Beavis, aka: Jere Burns? I suppose we’ll have to wait and find out. But what we do know is, the sky is truly the limit. With his ability to recreate his persona and keep us guessing, there’s most likely nothing this man can’t do. As for now, it appears as though he’ll continue to bring us weekly thrills as Wynn Duffy, while spending his off-seasons vacationing in Lake Titicaca. Once that gig comes to an end, we can only hope he finds his way back to our screens in yet another visionary role.
Vacationing in Lake Titicaca, summer of 2012.
As for a future reunion with Butt-Head, things aren’t looking optimistic. Although, we do have an insider who has reported seeing him on the set of Justified with Beavis/Burns, trying out a variety of parts. Maybe there’s still hope, but only time will tell.
Huh-heh-he-he-uh. Like the new hair, Butt-Head.