‘The Wonder Years’ Actor Josh Saviano Became a Lawyer in Real Life Just Like Paul

The Wonder Years first premiered on ABC back in the spring of 1988. It was an immediate ratings hit.

By the time the coming-of-age TV show went off the air in the early 1990s, it had been nominated for dozens of prestigious awards and was even awarded a Peabody. The cast remain close friends today, and in many ways, their lives decades later mirror some of the storylines featured in The Wonder Years.

A prominent example is former child star Josh Saviano, who now works in the same field as his TV character did nearly 20 years ago.

‘The Wonder Years’ was one of Saviano’s few film and TV roles

The Wonder Years debuted just a few days before Saviano celebrated his 12th birthday. But it wasn’t his first TV role.

“[Saviano’s] entry into show business was on impulse,” reports the New York Times. “One day when he was about 5, he and his mother joined a friend taking her child to a Manhattan audition. Josh begged his mother to let him see the manager, too, and a career was born. His first job: an Aim toothpaste commercial.”

Saviano dabbled in various minor roles, including playing a student in a Broadway production alongside Mark Hamill. It was during his work on Broadway that his agent called about the opportunity to be on The Wonder Years.

“He read for the Paul Pfeiffer role,” explains the New York Times. “He was called back four times and finally for an audition with the show’s creators. The next day he got the part.”

After The Wonder Years, Saviano dabbled in a few other TV and film roles. However, with the exception of a brief stint in the mid-2010s to appear on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Saviano has largely stayed out of the Hollywood limelight since the early 1990s.

Saviano’s character was the best friend of the show’s main character

Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano, left) and Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage)
Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano, left) and Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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“[The Wonder Years was] a nostalgic look at coming of age in the 1960’s and early 70’s,” notes the New York Times. 

The series follows the life of teenager Kevin Arnold (played by Fred Savage) as he navigates school, relationships and growing up in the suburbs. Saviano’s Pfeiffer is Arnold’s best friend. Together, the two boys try to make sense of dating, graduation, and starting a life outside of their suburban bubble.

Saviano’s character was immediately popular with viewers. “Though he isn’t the show’s central character, klutzy Paul…has become a favorite underdog for many,” concludes the New York Times.

Saviano’s life journey mirrored that of his TV character

The series finale of The Wonder Years aired on May 12, 1993. In it, viewers learn that Saviano’s Pfeiffer went on to attend Harvard to study law.

In real life, the actor did something similar. Net TV 4 U reports that after his child star career on television, Saviano attended Yale University. He then earned his Doctor of Law degree from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and he continues to practice law to this day.

Fast forward to now, and many of the people involved in The Wonder Years stay in touch. In an interview with Biography.com, Savage says several cast are still friends.

And because so many of the cast were young children when the show was on the air, many of their real-life moms bonded, too. “Even today, Joanne Savage, Mahalia McKellar, Marsha Hervey and Jane Saviano still get together,” reports the outlet.

“They really hit it off,” Savage tells the site.