TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)
|Also Known As:||Died:|
|Born:||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Profession:||Music ...|
One of the most fearless and likable members of the "Jackass" (MTV, 2000-02) amateur stunt team, Jason Acuña, who was frequently billed by his nickname, "Wee Man," was a daredevil, occasional actor and television personality whose diminutive size never prevented him from subjecting himself to the franchise's absurd and cringe-inducing stunts. A former skateboarder in his Southern California hometown, his fearlessness gained the attention of Big Brother publisher Steve Rocco, who brought Acuña to public awareness through his magazine and its gonzo video features. In 2000, Acuña became a pop culture icon through "Jackass," on which he defied accepted notions of what a little person could do by engaging in ridiculous and occasionally dangerous skits and stunts with his cast mates. The show and subsequent feature releases led to a second career as a reality show participant and sidekick on various "Jackass" spin-offs, as well as minor roles in features and on television. Acuña's broad grin and go-for-broke attitude made him a well-liked presence in every project he took on.
Jason Acuña was born May 16, 1973 in Pisa, Italy, while his father, George, was stationed there as a member of the U.S. Army. Acuña was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, and reached 4' 7" when he was fully grown. His family relocated to Los Angeles' South Bay area when he was three months old, settling in the beach town of Hermosa. From an early age, Acuña displayed an exceptional degree of self-confidence and outsized personality, which did much to allay his father's fears about his son's ability to fit in with society. Skateboarding became his first and greatest love, and he spent much of his free time pursuing it in neighboring beach towns while working at ET Surf, a Hermosa-based surf and skate shop. While picking up product from skateboarding champ Steve Rocco's World Industries warehouse in Torrance, he earned his nickname, "Wee Man," from Rocco's brother, which soon became his professional moniker.
Acuña's profile increased exponentially after he was featured in Rocco's popular skateboarding magazine, Big Brother, as well as "S---" (1996), a video feature produced by the magazine in which he painted himself blue and skated around Hollywood. The exposure made Acuña something of a household name in the skateboarding community, and he would continue to appear within the pages of Big Brother throughout its publishing history. Struggling actor and occasional Big Brother contributor Johnny Knoxville also appeared in several of the magazine's videos, and in 2000, he and several friends and staff members conceived a pilot for a television series built around the dangerous amateur stunts he had executed as part of the videos. Acuña was brought on to the project, where he made his debut dressed as an Oompa Loompa from "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (1971). The series, titled "Jackass," made its debut on MTV in 2000 and quickly became a pop culture phenomenon. A 2002 feature film helped to introduce the "Jackass" crew to an even wider audience. Acuña was unaware of the show's global impact until visiting Japan for a skateboarding tour, where he was mobbed while walking on a street in Tokyo.
Though his size prevented him from participating in some of the most extreme stunts on "Jackass," Acuña was more than willing to risk life and limb with skits that were tailor-built for him. On the series, he attempted to bench-press basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, and had Knoxville roll him in a carpet before bouncing him down a staircase. His most memorable and bizarre moments teamed him with oversized cast member Preston Lacy, who was frequently featured in pursuit of Acuña while wearing only a pair of briefs, or asking passers-by for help with a suitcase, whereupon Acuña would pop out and terrify them. His condition also allowed him to execute singular feats like kicking himself in the head. However, he also bore the brunt of the team's most violent acts, like the running of the bulls featured in the opening moments of "Jackass Number Two" (2006), in which Acuña was butted to the ground by an enraged calf.
While taking his lumps on "Jackass" and its features, Acuña also appeared in several spin-off series, as well as a variety of solo projects. He co-starred with self-destructive "Jackass" co-star Steve-O's "Don't Try This At Home" series (2001-02), and his MTV series "Wildboyz" (2003-05) with Chris Pontius. His mischievous presence was well exploited in various low-budget comedies, including the skateboarding film "Grind" (2003), in which he played himself alongside Lacy. Acuña was also an exceptionally game participant on various low-budget reality shows, including "Armed & Famous" (CBS, 2007), in which he and celebrities like Erik Estrada and La Toya Jackson were sworn in as reserve police officers, and in an episode of the ludicrous "Celebrity Paranormal Project" (VH1, 2006-07), in which he, boxer Evander Holyfield and Julio Iglesias, Jr. were taken to an allegedly haunted commune. Acuña later placed third on the short-lived "Celebrity Circus" (NBC, 2008), and received the show's only perfect score for executing various big top acts. In 2010, he became an investor in Chronic Tacos, a San Clemente-based food franchise, and opened his own store, Wee Man's Chronic Tacos, near his home town in Redondo Beach. The following year, Acuña grieved along with his fellow "Jackass" brothers over the car accident death of cast mate Ryan Dunn in June 2011. In honor of his fallen comrade, he had a large picture of Dunn's face tattooed on his leg.
Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.Click here to contribute