“I can make any girl squirt and that’s just a god damn fact.” – Danny Tamberelli in an October, 2003 interview with Teen Nick Magazine. That was in response to the interviewer asking what his favorite episode of The Adventures of Pete and Pete was. Classic Danny Tamberelli. He is nothing if not eloquent. Danny was little Pete in the hit Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete and Pete. He was a major star for the network appearing on a number of their different shows like All That and Figure It Out. He was also a child sex symbol. He was infamous for having dated Nick News host Linda Ellerbee, losing his virginity to her at the age of 9. His drug habits people say might have been out of control especially after the incident where he came out to perform an All That sketch with cocaine residue on his nose, but it was a combination of all these things that made him the mega star he was.
This was all during the golden age of Nickelodeon. You know what I’m talking about: All That, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, Salute your Shorts, Are You Afraid of The Dark?, Clarissa Explains It All, Kenan and Kel. All terrific shows on a terrific network and Danny Tamberrelli may have been it’s biggest star. So where is he now? Why haven’t we heard about him? Surely someone as prolific and talented as he was must be wealthy and ranked somewhere around 62 on AskMen’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Although that is a reasonable expectation things didn’t exactly turn out like that.
He obviously didn’t live up to his potential. Where did things go wrong for the child who reminded people of a young JFK? Well It all started with some bad investments. While many in his close circle wanted him to remain in school and finish his education he elected to purchase 112 emu’s and open up the largest emu farm in Chile’s history. He was counting on Chile’s lax regulation of emu farming to allow him to push these creatures to their limits and earn him profit. But his business plan was doomed from the start for a number of reasons. #1 He knew nothing about emu’s and 30% of them died of malnutrition during the first month. The second and most important reason for the farms failure was his undying hatred for the emu’s. As a child he was sexually assaulted by an emu at a petting zoo. His parents left him alone next to the emu pen for approximately 10 minutes while they ate lunch and by the time they came back the emu had already done it’s worst (which was rape). Danny drank very heavily during his time in Chile and he shot and killed almost all the remaining emu’s that hadn’t died of malnutrition and according to a source he abused many of them sexually as well. Although it was a failed business venture it had given him the opportunity to work through many of his personal demons and served as a type of therapy for him.
When he came back to the states all he wanted to do was continue on with his life as if his time in Chile had never happened. But it had happened. He came back a different man in many ways. His trademark intensity and rage that made him such a successful child actor was gone having worked out some of his demons in Chile. Unfortunately he also brought back new issues, namely a taste for emu. He found himself only being sexually attracted to emu’s and other very large birds. He also only ate emu burgers for a span of 4 months. This was a dark period in his life.
But if there was one word that described Danny Tamberelli during this time besides pervert, sadist, alcoholic, angry, sarcastic, bitter, scared, alone, and hopeless it was resilient. He though his luck had begun to change when he met super TV producer Mark Burnett at a promotional event for his hit series Survivor. The chance encounter inspired Danny and gave him a new purpose in life. Producing. Danny was determined to produce a hit show even larger than survivor and boy did he have a vision… and that was his downfall. His plan was to produce a candid camera like show where he was “punking” school children. The plan was to put them in highly controlled situations that only appeared to be dangerous without them knowing and film their hilarious reactions before revealing that it was all a prank. Unfortunately the situation he created was neither controlled or safe. On the pilot episode he locked 23 eight year old children in a school bus and filled it with water and hungry piranha’s. The bus took over two hours to fill and Danny fell asleep on set and forgot to give the crew (which was made up of Mexican day laborers) the signal to stop. 13 of the children perished that day and even more disappointingly for Danny they all knew from the beginning that this event was being filmed for TV. Most of the footage was unusable because the children were asking the TV crew for help and questioning why they were filming this for TV. He hadn’t planned the show out very well.
After all the lawsuits were settled Danny was left with next to nothing except the haunting memory of none of the surviving children laughing or finding the prank funny. With his personal fortune and confidence in his sense of humor gone Danny didn’t have much left except his cocaine addiction. And that pretty much brings us to today.
Hey, he’s still alive and he isn’t sulking in apathy. He’s got his intensity and rage back and he’s taking it out on hookers all over the NY/NJ area. That’s the Danny Tamberelli we all know and love. I for one still hold out hope that we will one day get Pete and Pete and All That reunion shows.