If you were a kid or a teen between the years of 2000 and 2006, then you almost definitely, 100 percent watched Malcolm in the Middle.
Centered, of course, around Frankie Muniz’s titular character as he navigated life as the one brilliant child among his parents’ brood of four boys (which eventually became five towards the end of the series), Malcolm was a family-friendly hit that won a Peabody Award, seven Emmys, one Grammy, and seven Golden Globe nominations throughout its run. It also famously featured Bryan Cranston, future megastar, as Malcom’s long-suffering, slightly manic father Hal, while powerhouse Jane Kaczmarek, who played Malcom’s mother Lois, was nominated for an Emmy every single year she appeared on the show.
So basically, when people tend to think back on Malcom, it’s Cranston, Kaczmarek, and Muniz who immediately come to mind.
But for us, the greatest (and most underrated) member of the family (whose last name was never revealed, btw) was always Reese, the dim-witted, but somehow brilliant in carrying out maniacal schemes, second oldest brother played by Justin Berfield.
Reese was the King Joffrey of the [insert last name here] family, and even though he made Malcolm’s life a living hell, Malcolm did the same thing to Dewey…and Francis to Reese, of course, since those brothers were pretty damn good at perpetuating cycles of physical and psychological torture within their own family.
He ended the series as a janitor, living in a bachelor pad with Craig…but we haven’t seen too much of Berfield since then. Did he go on to become a race car driver, like Muniz? A deejay, like older TV-brother Chris Masterson? Or did he disappear off the face of the earth like Dewey actor Erik per Sullivan, who has not been seen publicly since 2010?
The answer is somewhere in between all that — because Berfield has a very successful career, just not in the field you would probably expect.
After Malcolm went off the air in 2006, Berfield’s only listed role is a guest spot on Sons of Tuscon in 2010.
That’s because that same year, he went into production, and is now the Chief Creative Officer of Virgin Produced — the film and television development, packaging and production arm of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Films they’ve worked on include That Awkward Moment, Limitless, and Machine Gun Preacher, with Berfield attending the premiere of the latter back in 2011.
“As Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Virgin, Berfield oversees a full service development team responsible for the packaging and production of commercial quality film, television and digital short form content that is reflective of the Virgin brand,” his bio on the company’s website reads. “Also overseen by Berfield, Virgin Produced launched the Virgin Produced Channel which is seen on board Virgin America, Virgin Australia and in Virgin Hotels.”
So in case you were wondering, yes — Berfield was somehow involved in creating that earworm safety video that plays before Virgin America flights then never, ever leaves your brain without years of intensive therapy. You know the one.
Anyway, the site also mentions that Berfield resides in Los Angeles, and spends his free time doing philanthropic work with the Ronald McDonald House, among other charities. He also has public Twitter and Facebook pages and a now-private Instagram account, primarily using the first to tweet about sports.
It’s also important to note that, a little over a year ago, Berfield caught a very big fish.
On Facebook, Justin primarily posts travel photos.
It looks like he’s genuinely having a good time and enjoying his jet-setting life.
Leaving the TV biz behind — at least in front of the camera — has certainly paid off.
Maybe life ain’t so unfair after all, huh?