Ari Lehman (born May 2, 1965) 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 film icon. As of 2018, Lehman performs in a punk rock/heavy metal band, First Jason.
|Notable work||Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th (1980)|
A native New Yorker, Ari Lehman grew up in Westport, Connecticut, 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.
Lehman heard about an audition being held in Westport for the movie, "Manny's Orphans", 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". This role led to Lehman getting the call to play Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th from Sean S. Cunningham. "For his audition Lehman was asked one key question by the director, ‘Can you swim?’"
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". 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.
Lehman went on to form his own world rock and reggae band Ari Ben Moses Band, and gained acclaim when, upon moving to Chicago in late 2002, he was contacted by horror fans who invited him to attend an East Coast horror convention. Lehman then created First Jason, a punk metal band specifically for horror fans, especially the fans of Jason Voorhees and Friday the 13th.
Film career edit
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 and Alice Hardy's dream – the final scene of the horror film.
Since Friday the 13th, Lehman has appeared in a number of independent films and short films.
Music career edit
In 2004, Lehman formed his punk metal band whose name, First Jason, is based upon his role as Jason Voorhees. 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; and "Heed My Warning,"(2013), described by Uber Rock (UK) as "a brand of thinking man's horror-themed rock." In 2019, he performed vocals for the acoustic version of the song Thank God It's Friday from Ice Nine Kills album The Silver Scream Final Cut
Lehman has also composed, performed and recorded a number of soundtracks for independent films, including Alexia Anastasio's critically acclaimed all-female "Salome", and Vamp Films "Vampire the Movie", "which won the 2007 Rondo Award for Best Independent Feature."
|Manny's Orphans||1978||Roger||Also distributed under the name Kick|
|Friday the 13th||1980||Jason Voorhees||Possibly Alice Hardy's imagination as Jason Voorhees was still a child in that scene.|
|Three Thug Mice||2008||voiceover||Animated short|
|Terror Overload||2009||Ray Rae|
|His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th||2009||Himself||Documentary|
|Night On Has Been Mountain||2010||Invisible Man|
|The Girl||2011||The Man|
|House of Forbidden Secrets||2013||Building Crewman|
|The Wicked One||2014||Count Creepy|
|Pi Day Die Day||2016||Principal Hayward|
|Rock Paper Dead||2017||Jason|
|The Lurker||2019||Dr. Stratton|
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- Kat,"Interview with Ari Lehman (Young Jason Voorhees, Friday The 13th)", Camp Blood, May 20, 2004, http://www.campblood.net/Interviews/ariinterview.htm
- 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
- Norman, Jason, "Welcome to Our Nightmares: Behind the Scene with Today's Horror Actors", 2015 ISBN 978-0-7864-7986-3
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- Majek Fashek & The Prisoners of Conscience- Spirit of Love CD (Interscope Records, 1991) and "Rainmaker" (Tuff Gong, 1997)
- "Oy!Chicago – 8 Questions for Ari Lehman, a Slash from the Past". oychicago.com.
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- "Interview: Ari Lehman (Jason Voorhees, Friday The 13th 1980)". Friday The 13th: The Film Franchise.
- Kawin, Bruce F., Horror and the Horror Film 2012,(Page 145) Anthem Press ISBN 9780857284501
- 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
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- Haidet, Ryan (October 25, 2023). "Actor Ari Lehman, who was first to portray Jason Voorhees in original 'Friday the 13th,' to meet with fans in Northeast Ohio". wkyc.com.
- Michael Reuben. "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com.
- "Friday the 13th Part 4 :The Final Chapter – Main Cast & Crew". realmofhorror.co.uk.
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- Steve Barton."Today (12/11/10) is Vampira’s Birthday; Watch an Exclusive Music Video Premiere,"Dread Central, December 2010, http://www.dreadcentral.com/reviews/21207/today-12-11-10-is-vampira-s-birthday-watch-an-exclusive-music-video-premiere/
- "Vampira: The Movie news archive". vampirathemovie.com.
- Sifu, Scott "2007 Rondo Hatton Award Winners Announced-Best Independent Production: Vampira the Movie", March 14, 2008, Dread Central, http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/6537/2007-rondo-hatton-award-winners-announced/
- "Ari Lehman accepts Rondo Award at WonderFest, July 19, 2008", Vampire the Movie: A Film By Kevin Sean Michaels website, http://www.vampirathemovie.com/gallery.php
- Barton, Steve."Coming This Fall...More Holiday Terror on ThanXgiving", Dread Central, May 7, 2010, http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/17235/coming-this-fall-more-holiday-terror-on-thanxgiving/
- "First Jason actor Ari Lehman cast as lead in new flick The Wicked One". Friday The 13th: The Film Franchise.
- "Year of the Rat", HEEB Magazine, April 15, 2008, http://heebmagazine.com/year-of-the-rat-2/1138
- Harlequin, David."'Hell-ephone' (2008) Review", October 8, 2014, CinemaSlasher, ""Hell-ephone" (2008) Review |". Archived from the original on February 3, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
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- "Night on Has Been Mountain". rottentomatoes.com.
- "House of Forbidden Secrets". bdproductionsllc.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
- "Twisted Central: The House of Forbidden Secrets Begins Premiere Tour Across America". twistedcentral.com.
- "First Jason Ari Lehman Stars In 'Easter Sunday'". Friday The 13th: The Film Franchise.
- "A New Killer Arrives on Easter Sunday". Dread Central. April 9, 2014.
- "Pi Day Die Day Stalking Soon!". Dread Central. January 6, 2016.
- "Original Jason Ari Lehman Cast in Slasher Throwback Camp Killer". Dread Central. June 26, 2015.