The story behind Marvin Berry, his late cousin Chuck and 'Back to the Future'

Published March 19, 2017

Give Back to the Future all the credit in the world. When the world heard on Saturday night that the great Chuck Berry had passed away at age 90, all the messages from '80s fans on Facebook read: "Marvin Berry's cousin just died."

And why not? It was Marvin Berry and the Starlighters played the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance on Nov. 12, 1955. And with the help of some kid named after underwear, they helped invent rock 'n' roll. Well, with the help of his cousin Chuck.

Harry Waters Jr. played the part of Marvin Berry in Back to the Future. (The role also appears in Back to the Future Part II.) Prior to the movie, Waters had played bit roles in Laverne & Shirley, Matt Houston and Cagney & Lacey. He would go on to play roles in Death Warrant and TV's Adventures in Wonderland.

Michael J. Fox, of course, didn't do the actual singing on Johnny B. Goode. That was handled by Mark Campbell, who also appears in the 1985 movie Tuff Turf as a member of Jack Mack and the Heart Attack.

On the "date in question" - Nov. 12, 1955 - when Marvin calls Berry on the phone to tell him about the "new sound you're looking for," Berry was already being hailed as an up-and-coming star by Billboard, according to

BTW, the rest of the Starlighters were played by Tommy Thomas (saxophone), Granville 'Danny' Young (double bass), David Harold Brown (drums) and Lloyd L. Tolbert (piano).

Though Whittier High School (famous alum: Richard Nixon) served as Hill Valley High for Back to the Future, the Enchantment Under the Sea dance scene was filmed at Hollywood United Methodist Church. On Nov. 12, 2010, the church was opened for fans and cast members to relive the scene and mingle.