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Movies & TV

25th Jul 2023

The Matilda star that quit acting after hit movie to become a doctor

Jack Peat


You would hardly recognise him from the character, these days

The actor famed for tackling a monstrous chocolate cake in front of an assembly full of students in Matilda is now a doctor specialising in osteopathy!

Jimmy Karz played the young student in the Danny DeVito adaptation of Roald Dahl’s famous book, back in 1996, but he’s long since been doing something else with his time other than acting.

After starring in the iconic scene in the movie, Karz landed a role in The Wedding Singer a couple of years later, along with playing a part in an episode of ER. It seems the hospital drama had a lasting effect on him because he went back to school to study medicine shortly after it.

After working as a teacher for struggling communities, where Karz helped them grow their own food, he decided to enrol at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“Through gardening, I learned a little bit about biology and chemistry, enough to realise I wanted to delve more into science,” he said, back in 2015.

“I went back to school to study biochemistry, which led me to medicine. I liked osteopathic medicine’s focus on helping the whole patient, and I was interested in learning manual techniques to help patients.”


That famous Matilda cake scene

As for how they filmed his iconic scene, Matilda director Danny DeVito revealed it took two weeks to complete with Jimmy Karz and ‘Miss Trunchbull’ actress Pam Ferris staying behind after the day’s shooting had wrapped up to film it.

DeVito said it was a disgusting scene to shoot, especially as Karz was not allowed to swallow the cake he was eating and had to spit it all out between takes.

As the director he also had to remind crew members not to wipe the actor’s mouth between takes, while Karz remembered that he had to wear the same outfit for the scenes and it became encrusted with chocolate.

Unsurprisingly, he wanted nothing to do with chocolate for a few weeks after finally finishing the scene.

But they cake did make a reappearance a few years later when the cast reassembled to film this:

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