Most Read


'Doogie Howser' Star Max Casella Reveals 'Horror' Of Not Hitting Puberty Until Age 27

The 'Newsies' star, now 55, has been on testosterone and growth hormones for pituitary dwarfism since he turned 25.

Max Casella; Max Casella on "Doogie Howser"
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; Doogie Howser/20th Television

Actor Max Casella opened up about not reaching puberty until his late 20s in an interview with Page Six.

At Wednesday's premiere for his Paramount+ series Tulsa King, Casella said he had pituitary dwarfism and he was 27 when he finally hit puberty.

"I was given testosterone," he recalled, adding:

"I was on growth hormones; I'm still on those things. My body didn't go through the change by itself."

The now 55-year-old explained:

"I have a malfunctioning pituitary gland from birth and basically had to jumpstart my puberty by pumping me full of testosterone and growth hormones to get me to grow because it wasn't happening."
"I was 25, and I hadn't even shaved."

At a time when there wasn't a discussion surrounding his condition he described as "a horror show," Casella said:

"I couldn't talk about it. No one understood it. It's like the trans community today talks about body dysmorphia and feeling like, 'I'm in the wrong body,' absolutely my experience."
"Absolutely. I was a man trapped in a little boy's body throughout most of my 20s until they finally pumped me full of testosterone."

From 1989 to 1993, Casella played Vincent "Vinnie" Delpino in the television series Doogie Howser, M.D. with Neil Patrick Harris in the titular role.

He transitioned into films in 1992 playing Racetrack Higgins in Disney's musical film, Newsies, and then in WindRunner: A Spirited Journey, starring Margot Kidder and Russell Means as Jim Thorpe's ghost.

Moving on to other more mature roles proved to be difficult as his growth hormone deficiency left him cast as younger characters than his actual age.

"Show business can just step all over your heart," he said.

"You go out to L.A., get on [a] TV show, get famous and then you're known for this show for a while. I was in my 20s, I was playing kids, prepubescent characters."
"And then I grew out of that and grew up into manhood, and I had to start all over again, because it wasn't a smooth transition like it is for a lucky few people."
Casella continued his successful screen career with film releases including the George Clooney-directed The Tender Bar and Scenes from an Empty Church.
He also made TV appearances with a recurring role on Ray Donovan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and The Detour.
Tulsa King is a crime drama starring Sylvester Stallone–who makes his scripted television writing debut.

Stallone plays a Mafia capo, Dwight "The General" Manfredi, who got out of prison after 25 years and was exiled by his boss to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he tries to set up a criminal organization.

Here is a trailer for Tulsa King.

Tulsa King | Official Trailer |

Casella plays Armand Truisi, "an ambitious criminal operating under the patronage of the Invernizzi family," according to Deadline.
His co-star Dana Delany plays Margaret, "an affluent and influential equestrian and owner of a sprawling horse farm and animal preserve"
You can watch her and Casella discuss the show, here.

Tulsa King premiered on November 13, 2022 and is streaming on Paramount+.