The 1980s were a fun time, culturally speaking. Music was upbeat and powerful. Fashion was flashy and colorful. And in one corner of cinema–well, slapstick merged with sex to bring us the “teen sex comedy.” Perhaps no film before or since 1984’s Revenge of the Nerds (except American Pie) is so synonymous with this sub-genre. In fact, it became so popular that it produced a number of sequels and maintains a cult following to this day.
Fans will remember the youngest of the nerds, child prodigy Harold Wormser. But what happened to the actor who portrayed him? Andrew Cassese is still working in the entertainment industry, but let’s take a look at what else he has been up to in the last four decades!
Born February 12, 1972 in New York City to Italian American parents, Cassese got into acting at a young age. He had a lot of energy and was constantly performing skits and impressions of comedic actors like Steve Martin. One day, one of his teachers suggested he audition for a play, and the rest is history. After his first play, Cassese was bit by the acting bug and began an acting career that continues to this day.
Cassese began his career off-stage in 1983 when he played a character–also named Andrew–in Sesame Street’s TV movie Don’t Eat the Pictures. The production educated kids about the world of visual art while exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Later in his career, Cassese would return to the world of kids’ television, appearing in the Afterschool Specials on ABC and providing his first voice-over work in The Kingdom Chums: Little David’s Adventure.
Revenge of the Nerds
By the time he was 12 years old, Cassese already had an acting agent who eventually helped land him a role in Revenge of the Nerds. The movie tells the story of a group of self-identified “nerds” who join the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity and perform a series of pranks against the antagonistic Alpha Beta fraternity. While some of the film’s locker-room humor has aged poorly, the movie maintains a loyal following of fans who appreciate the warmth at the heart of its characters.
Cassese plays Harold Wormser, a 12-year-old wunderkind gifted in the art of aero-dynamics. Upon Wormser’s super-early acceptance into Adams College, the Triple Ls take them under their wings and utilize his ingenuity to help them craft some of their pranks. In return, the nerds help guide Wormser through college life–for better or for worse! Throughout the series, Wormser loses much of his innocence and even trades in his love of aerodynamics for a new hobby–computers. Of course, the nerds figure out a way to incorporate his new skills into their schemes!
What did Andrew Cassese do after Revenge of the Nerds?
Following the success of Nerds, Cassese began diversifying his acting efforts. Thanks to his performance as Wormser, the producers of the Facts of Life contacted Cassese for a role in the show. It was his first time working with famous actors that he had known prior to entering the profession himself. After Facts of Life, Cassese returned to television, showing up in commercials for popular brands like Chips Ahoy! and Hi-C.
Revenge of the Nerds II
In 1987, he came back to star as Wormser in Revenge of the Nerds II. This time, the Triple Ls have traveled to Fort Lauderdale to participate in a fraternity convention, and they once again fall into hijinks against the Alpha Betas. In a climactic moment, Wormser rescues the primary antagonist, a guy named Ogre, from drowning in the ocean. This heroic act convinces Ogre to stop harassing The Triple Ls (for now!).
In the series’ third installation, actor Sean Whalen replaced Cassese as Wormser, and the audience learns that adult Wormser became a gynecologist. The character did not appear in the fourth film.
Besides Nerds, Cassese’s most consistent role was in the short-lived series TV 101, which ran from 1988-1989. The show was about a new photographer who begins teaching television production at his old high school. Cassese appeared in all seventeen episodes as a character named Sherman Fischer.
What is Andrew Cassese doing now?
After a non-stop early start to his career, Cassese turned his attention to his studies and eventually graduated from NYU Film School in 1995.
Since the late-80s, he only has two official credits to his name–an appearance in Law and Order and an independent film called Underdogs. However, he continues to act, particularly in commercials and theatrical productions, and also maintains membership in a number of acting associations.
In addition to acting, Cassese works in the field of higher education with a focus on information technology.
Fans of Cassese will enjoy watching his appearance at the Revenge of the Nerds reunion at Steel City Con in 2021.
Cassese keeps his personal life private, so it is unknown if he has a spouse or children.