Larry Zerner may not be a name familiar to those who do not follow the Friday the 13th franchise but his claim to fame was that it was his character that Jason Voorhees would obtain his now-iconic hockey mask from. Zerner, who would appear as practical joker Shelly in Steve Miner’s 3-D sequel Friday the 13th Part 3, was born in Los Angeles on September 29th 1963 and attended Fairfax Senior High, where he majored in theatre. After graduating, eighteen year old Zerner had struggled to find work as an actor but, whilst handing out tickets for a screening of The Road Warrior (George Miller’s action-packed sequel to his cult flick Mad Max) in Westwood, was approached by Martin Kitrosser and Carol Watson, the husband-and-wife writing team who would later work together on the comedy Meatballs Part II, who felt that Zerner would be ideal for the role of Shelly. Handing over his agent’s contact details, Zerner was contacted several days later and was invited to an audition, in which he would read in front of Miner.
Arriving on location at the Valuzet Movie Ranch in Saugus, the experience of shooting Friday the 13th Part 3 would prove to be somewhat problematic for Zerner and his young co-stars due to the production shooting in 3-D, which would require dual cameras and the cast constantly having to aim various objects at the audience in order for the effects to work successfully. With Miner being preoccupied with both 3-D and a rushed schedule, the cast would receive little support from the filmmakers with regards to their performances, whilst technical issues would force Miner to reshoot an entire sequence set in a convenience store, in which Zerner and co-star Catherine Parks are harassed by a gang of bikers. One piece of advice that Miner would offer to Zerner was that he should avoid acting and play himself, as he shared many similarities with his character. Although Shelly would be attacked off screen by Jason, Zerner was still required to sit in the make-up chair whilst the effects crew applied a prosthetic piece across his neck to simulate a slit throat.
By the time that Friday the 13th Part 3 was released in August 1982, Zerner had enrolled at California State University, where he would receive a Bachelor’s Degree in theatre in 1985. Eventually turning his back on acting, Zerner studied at Loyola Law School and earned a law degree in 1991, before working over the following decade under the likes of Jonathan Kirsch and Dennis Mitchell. In 2000, he launched his own firm, Zerner Law, in which he would specialise in trademark, entertainment and copyright law. Zerner’s clients include Peter M. Bracke (author of Crystal Lake Memories) and Daniel Farrands (writer of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and who would later direct His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th). In between offering legal advice and appearing as a guest speaker at entertainment conferences, over recent years Zerner has embraced his horror movie legacy and has since reunited with many of his Friday the 13th Part 3 co-stars.