‘The Wonder Years’: Another Actor Originally Voiced Adult Kevin Instead of Daniel Stern

By now, The Wonder Years has become a fixture of nostalgic TV shows for many different reasons. The show was conceived out of nostalgia for the late 60s and early 70s, and now it’s seen as a classic sitcom. 

It created an atmosphere that made viewers think back to this time period, in both its safe and comfortable aspects and its more pressing political issues. Part of what built the sense of nostalgia in the show was the narration: an adult version of the main character narrating each episode.

For most episodes, this narrator was Daniel Stern — but for one episode, it was somebody else. Who was this narrator? And what happened to him?

‘The Wonder Years’ followed the main character’s adolescence in 1960s suburbia.

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Though The Wonder Years took place from 1968 to 1973, its airing years were exactly two decades after that: 1988-1993. The setting of the show was a suburb in the United States, thought the exact state or city was never named.

The main character, played by Fred Savage, was Kevin Arnold, who was 12 years old at the beginning of the show. The show follows Kevin until he’s 17 and shows his interactions with his friends as well as his understanding of the important developments happening in the late ’60s and early ’70s: the war in Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, and second-wave feminism.

The show was a sitcom, but it was different from other sitcoms of the era. It was a bit more serious: it didn’t have a laugh track, and the characters were forced to develop significantly throughout the seasons. For this reason, the show and its actors were nominated for and won multiple awards, and are still remembered quite fondly today.

Daniel Stern narrated the episodes of ‘The Wonder Years’ as an adult Kevin

Actor Daniel Stern
Actor Daniel Stern | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

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Each episode of The Wonder Years featured the voice of adult Kevin as narrator. The actor Daniel Stern took on this unseen role, though this was far from his biggest role.

Most people probably know Stern best from Home Alone in which he played the Wet Bandit Marv Murchins. Other major roles that Stern starred as were Phil Berquist in City Slickers and Glen Babbit in Manhattan. He also had some voice roles over the years: the eponymous Dilbert of Dilbert, and guest roles on shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy.

However, Stern might not have had his voice role on The Wonder Years.

Arye Gross narrated the pilot of ‘The Wonder Years’

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The first ever episode fo The Wonder Years had adult Kevin narrating, but it wasn’t Stern in this role. Instead, according to Mental Floss, Arye Gross was adult Kevin for the pilot, though this episode was later rerecorded with Stern. Therefore, you probably won’t hear Gross if you watch the first episode, but Gross does have a long-running career like Stern.

Throughout the 80s, Gross had a good number of supporting roles in various films and shows, from Diff’rent Strokes to The Experts. His biggest role, though, was in the mid-1990s on Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom Ellen, where he played Ellen’s roommate Adam Greene.

Since then, he’s continued to act quite regularly, with appearances in shows from The X-Files to Castle to Six Feet Under. It’s unknown why Gross left The Wonder Years after the pilot, but luckily, it didn’t stop him from having a long career, and the show was able to continue with another excellent narrator.