Marilyn Manson was NOT in The Wonder Years - and here’s the proof!

5 January 2020, 17:29 | Updated: 5 January 2020, 17:31

The Wonder Years actors Josh Saviano and Fred Savage and Marilyn Manson
The Wonder Years actors Josh Saviano and Fred Savage and Marilyn Manson. Picture: 1. Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images 2. John Rogers/Getty Images)

We remember when Wonder Years star Danica McKellar shared a photo of the cast of the classic 80s drama as they are today.

Remember The Wonder Years? A sunny comedy-drama series from the US? Ran between 1988 and 1993?

Of course you do. It was set in the 1960s and had Joe Cocker’s version of With A Little Help From My Friends as the theme tune.

The star was Fred Savage, who played Kevin Arnold, a teenager growing up in the turbulent decade of the 60s. It was funny, bittersweet and very watchable. And it was also responsible for one of the most persistent rumours of the past 30 years.

Remember Paul Pfeiffer, Kevin’s geeky, allergy-suffering mate? The character that Milhouse from The Simpsons was surely based on? Well, the story goes that Paul was played by none other than the God Of F*ck himself, Marilyn Manson.

This story is, of course, utter rubbish. And here’s some actual proof.

Wonder Years star Danica McKellar tweeted a photo of the three stars of the series as they are in February 2019. And, as you can see, the picture is Manson-less.

Paul was played by child actor Josh Saviano - and Manson’s real name is Brian Warner.

Saviano later gave up acting, and graduated to become a lawyer in New York. He briefly returned to acting to play a lawyer in the TV show Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, but he now runs company called Act 3 Advisors, which are “strategic advisors to influencers and brands”. Nice.

Josh Saviano in February 2018
Josh Saviano in February 2018. Picture: Lars Niki/Getty Images for Saks Fifth Avenue

The dates never matched up anyway, Manson was born in 1969, which would have made him 19 when the series began. Saviano was born in 1976, making him 12 - the same age as his character, Paul. As they say: DO THE MATH.

Actually Brian Warner formed his first band Marilyn Manson And The Spooky Kids in December 1989, when he was at college in Florida, studying journalism. At the same time, the third season of The Wonder Years was airing on TV in the US, with Saviano still as one of the main characters. The Spooky Kids were playing shows around the Fort Lauderdale area of Florida as the season wound up in May 1990.

Marilyn Manson in 2003
Marilyn Manson in 2003. Picture: Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty Images

So how did the rumour start? Well, the mid 1990s was the early years of the Internet, and random, unverified comments were allowed to fester and flourish unchecked. Josh himself claimed he first heard the rumour when he was a freshman at college and Manson’s debut album, Portrait Of An American Family, was released.

"I think actually it was one of the very first Internet rumours, because it was 1994,” he told Yahoo in 2013. “The Internet was just sort of becoming mainstream, particularly on college campuses. It was just perfect timing and the perfect storm.”

Danica McKellar and Fred Savage in The Wonder Years, 1988
Danica McKellar and Fred Savage in The Wonder Years, 1988. Picture: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Manson released his breakthrough second album, Antichrist Superstar, in 1996 and the rumour began to snowball - particularly when the musician became Public Enemy Number 1 when some quarters claimed his music “inspired” the Columbine school massacre of 1999.

The musician denied any such claims, but the controversy almost destroyed his career. He carried on, and his tenth studio album, Heaven Upside Down was released in 2017.

As a postscript, Wonder Years star Fred Savage told Fox News in 2014 that he actually met Marilyn Manson one time: “He came up to me, and he goes, ‘You know, we worked together.’ I was like, ‘I do. I do know that’.”