He briefly strove to become a lighting engineer for the Shakespeare Festival in Washington, D.C. This led him to perform with Bob Gunton in a production at the Second Stage Theatre.
He also appeared in City Slickers and Diner, and narrated TV's The Wonder Years.
His brother is David M. Stern, a television writer. His father worked as a social worker and his mother was the manager of a day care. He married Laure Mattos in 1980 and has three children.
He was in the Home Alone movies with Macaulay Culkin.