Ari Lehman

Ari Lehman (born May 2, 1965)[1] is an American performing artist, composer, and actor. He is known for playing the child Jason Voorhees in the Paramount horror film Friday the 13th, becoming the first actor to portray the horror icon. Lehman currently performs in a punk rock/heavy metal band, First Jason.[2][3]

Ari Lehman
Born (1965-05-02) May 2, 1965 (age 56)
New York City
OccupationActor, musician
Years active1978–present
Notable work
Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th (1980)


A native New Yorker, Ari Lehman grew up in Westport, Connecticut,[1][4] where he trained in Classical Music and Jazz Piano. Lehman was presented with an All-State Award for Excellence in Jazz Piano and a scholarship to Berklee School of Music by jazz educator, Dr. Billy Taylor.[1][2]

Lehman heard about an audition being held in Westport for the movie, "Manny's Orphans",[5] about a group of inner-city orphans who play soccer, directed by Sean S. Cunningham. Lehman snuck into the audition and landed the role of "Roger".[6] This role led to Lehman getting the call to play Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th from Sean S. Cunningham.[7][8] "For his audition Lehman was asked one key question by the director, ‘Can you swim?’"[1][3][6]

After the release of Friday the 13th, Lehman returned to New York City, where he enrolled at New York University and concentrated on Big Band Orchestration and Jazz Piano, "where he studied with the likes of Vladimir Shafranov".[1] Lehman's career led him to become a keyboardist for artists of Reggae and African music of the time, with whom he toured throughout the US, Europe and West Africa, and recorded with at Tuff Gong Records and Interscope Records.[9]

Lehman went on to form his own world rock and reggae band Ari Ben Moses Band,[10][11] and gained acclaim[1] when, upon moving to Chicago in late 2002, he was contacted by horror fans who invited him to attend an East Coast horror convention.[3][10] Lehman then created First Jason, a punk metal band specifically for horror fans, especially the fans of Jason Voorhees and Friday the 13th.[1][3][12]

Film careerEdit

Lehman made his film debut in Sean S. Cunningham's film Manny's Orphans. He then played the role of a child Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th, appearing in Pamela Voorhees's flashback[13] and Alice Hardy's dream – the final scene of the film.[13][14][15]

Lehman also appears in archive footage, uncredited, in Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984).[16][17]

Since Friday the 13th, Lehman has appeared in a number of independent films and short films.

Music careerEdit

In 2004, Lehman formed his punk metal band whose name, First Jason, is based upon his role as Jason Voorhees.[18] First Jason has independently released two albums: Jason is Watching! (2009), with Chuck Lescewicz "Nefarious" from Chicago death metal band Macabre playing bass, and Amit Shamir "Cleaver" from New York hardcore punk band Cro-Mags on drums;[3][19][20] and "Heed My Warning,"(2013), described by Uber Rock (UK) as "a brand of thinking man's horror-themed rock."[21]

Lehman has also composed, performed and recorded a number of soundtracks for independent films, including Alexia Anastasio's critically acclaimed all-female "Salome",[22][23] and Vamp Films "Vampire the Movie", "which won the 2007 Rondo Award for Best Independent Feature."[24][25][26][27]


Title Year Role Notes Source
Manny's Orphans 1978 Roger Also distributed under the name Kick
Friday the 13th 1980 Jason Voorhees Possibly Alice's imagination as Jason was still a child in the scene.
ThanXgiving[28][29] 2006 Delbert Eaton
Three Thug Mice[30] 2008 voiceover Animated short film
Hell-ephone[31] 2008 Professor Goldman/The Circuit Maker
Terror Overload[29][32] 2009 Ray Rae
His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th[1][33] 2009 Himself Documentary
Night on Has Been Mountain[34] 2010 Invisible Man
The Girl[29] 2011 The Man
House of Forbidden Secrets[35][36] 2013 Building Crewman
Easter Sunday[37][38] 2014 Postman
The Wicked One[29] 2014 Count Creepy
Pi Day Die Day[39] 2016 Principal Hayward
The Barn[39] 2016 Dr. Rock
Camp Killer[40] 2016 Joe
Rock Paper Dead 2017 Jason
The Lurker 2019 Doctor Stratton


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "F13 Hall of Fame: Ari Lehman – Friday the 13th: The Website". Archived from the original on September 18, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "FIRSTJASON. – Monster Metal from Ari Lehman, the First Jason Voorhees".
  3. ^ a b c d e Gaz E. "Ari Lehman – FIRSTJASON". Über Röck-Kick Ass Rock N Roll.
  4. ^ "Exit 18 – Westport CT 06880 :: Staples High School Class of 1980".
  5. ^ Kat,"Interview with Ari Lehman (Young Jason Voorhees, Friday The 13th)", Camp Blood, May 20, 2004,
  6. ^ a b Sean S. Cunningham (Foreword), Peter M. Bracke(Author),"Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of "Friday the 13th" Hardcover" Titan Books Ltd; 1st Titan Ed edition (Oct 20, 2006), ISBN 1845763432
  7. ^ Norman, Jason, "Welcome to Our Nightmares: Behind the Scene with Today's Horror Actors", 2015 ISBN 978-0-7864-7986-3
  8. ^ "The Men Who Were Jason Voorhees". Archived from the original on February 8, 2015.
  9. ^ Majek Fashek & The Prisoners of Conscience- Spirit of Love CD (Interscope Records, 1991) and "Rainmaker" (Tuff Gong, 1997)
  10. ^ a b "Oy!Chicago – 8 Questions for Ari Lehman, a Slash from the Past".
  11. ^ Kat, "Interview with Ari Lehman (Young Jason Voorhees, Friday The 13th)", Camp Blood, May 20, 2004,
  12. ^ "Interview: Ari Lehman (Jason Voorhees, Friday The 13th 1980)". Friday The 13th: The Film Franchise.
  13. ^ a b Kawin, Bruce F., Horror and the Horror Film 2012,(Page 145) Anthem Press ISBN 9780857284501
  14. ^ Hanisch, Julian, "Disrupted Relief" (p. 139) "Cinematic Emotion in Horror Films and Thrillers: The Aesthetic Paradox of Pleasurable Fear (Routledge Advances in Film Studies)" Routledge; Reprint edition (April 23, 2012), ISBN 978-0415516570
  15. ^ "Friday the 13th—Frightful Facts".
  16. ^ Michael Reuben. "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Blu-ray".
  17. ^ "Friday the 13th Part 4 :The Final Chapter – Main Cast & Crew".
  18. ^ "Interview with Ari Lehman".
  19. ^ "The Original Jason Voorhees and Friends Ready to Hit the Road".
  20. ^ "Walter Garces :: Los Angeles Drum Guru". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  21. ^ Gaz E. "First Jason – 'Heed My Warning' (Self Released)". Über Röck-Kick Ass Rock N Roll.
  22. ^ "2009 WIFF".
  23. ^ "Underground Comes to VOD".
  24. ^ Steve Barton."Today (12/11/10) is Vampira’s Birthday; Watch an Exclusive Music Video Premiere,"Dread Central, December 2010,
  25. ^ "Vampira: The Movie news archive".
  26. ^ Sifu, Scott "2007 Rondo Hatton Award Winners Announced-Best Independent Production: Vampira the Movie", March 14, 2008, Dread Central,
  27. ^ "Ari Lehman accepts Rondo Award at WonderFest, July 19, 2008", Vampire the Movie: A Film By Kevin Sean Michaels website,
  28. ^ Barton, Steve."Coming This Fall...More Holiday Terror on ThanXgiving", Dread Central, May 7, 2010,
  29. ^ a b c d "First Jason actor Ari Lehman cast as lead in new flick The Wicked One". Friday The 13th: The Film Franchise.
  30. ^ "Year of the Rat", HEEB Magazine, April 15, 2008,
  31. ^ Harlequin, David."'Hell-ephone' (2008) Review", October 8, 2014, CinemaSlasher, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 3, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Horror Spotlight: Jason Stephenson and NFTS Productions". AnythingHorror Central.
  33. ^ "» Search Results » his name was jason".
  34. ^ "Night on Has Been Mountain".
  35. ^ "House of Forbidden Secrets". Archived from the original on February 3, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  36. ^ "Twisted Central: The House of Forbidden Secrets Begins Premiere Tour Across America".
  37. ^ "First Jason Ari Lehman Stars In 'Easter Sunday'". Friday The 13th: The Film Franchise.
  38. ^ "A New Killer Arrives on Easter Sunday". Dread Central. April 9, 2014.
  39. ^ a b "Pi Day Die Day Stalking Soon!". Dread Central. January 6, 2016.
  40. ^ "Original Jason Ari Lehman Cast in Slasher Throwback Camp Killer". Dread Central. June 26, 2015.

External linksEdit