‘Home Alone’ Star, Daniel Stern, Lent His Voice To a Popular 1980s Series

The Wonder Years is considered one of the most iconic series in television history. Premiering in 1988, the series ran until 1993. It is regarded as one of the first examples of a television series that was told from a future perspective, and you won’t believe who narrated the series. Daniel Stern was the voice of Kevin Arnold for the series’ six seasons. Stern is best known for playing Marv Merchants in Home Alone.

What was The Wonder Years about?

The Wonder Years followed the life of Kevin Arnold. The events of Kevin’s youth are told from the perspective of Kevin as an adult. The series spanned Kevin’s experiences as a pre-teen and teenager, ending when he was 17.

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Not only did the series follow Kevin’s life as a suburban teen, but it covered important moments in history of the time. The series was set in the 1960s and early 1970s, with heavy attention paid to the Vietnam War.

Daniel Stern served as the adult voice of Kevin Arnold

Before he became a member of the Wet Bandits in Home Alone, Stern was best known as the voice of Kevin. His wistful, nostalgic delivery made The Wonder Years a feel-good family show that everyone could enjoy. The decision to use a narrator, at the time, was incredibly innovative. In fact, it was one of the first shows to employ such a storytelling technique with great success.

Daniel Stern sits down for an interview with Jay Leno
Daniel Stern and Jay Leno | Margaret Norton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Later, shows and movies would mimic The Wonder Years style. How I Met Your Mother, in which Ted Mosby shares the story of how he met his children’s mother, is one example. The 1993 film, The Sandlot is another.  

Daniel Stern almost missed out on the chance to be a part of the cast

Stern’s voice became incredibly recognizable. In fact, many fans would argue that the narration of the series made it what it was. Stern, however, almost missed out on the chance to narrate the show.

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In 2018, Stern sat down with Yahoo! and admitted that he was actually fired from the cast before eventually being brought back on. He told the publication, “Interesting story. I got the part, we did the pilot. And my contract was that I could go do movies, because that’s what I was doing, but I’d make space to record I had an audition for a movie that took place in Africa and I mentioned it to one of [The Wonder Years] producers … and he goes, ‘You’re going to go to Africa?’ I said, ‘I don’t think so, but, if I get the gig, [sure].’ The next day, I’m fired from the show. Because they’re worried [about] my movie career. They’re worried that I wouldn’t be available. And I’m like, ‘Crap.’ Because not only did I narrate it but I was going to direct.”

Stern’s firing actually led to a different actor narrating the pilot episode. He was brought back when Arye Gross’s portrayal of Kevin didn’t feel just right. Stern went on to narrate 114 of the show’s 115 episodes.