See Adam Banks From "The Mighty Ducks" Now at 44
Vincent LaRusso, who played the Hawk-turned-Duck, left acting behind after the trilogy.
Vincent LaRusso wasn't originally supposed to play Adam Banks, the star player of the titular team in the 1994 Disney sports classic The Mighty Ducks. He had a much smaller, non-speaking role as a random team member, until the actor who was first supposed to play Adam, the former Hawk, was kicked off the film for training too roughly with his onscreen teammates.
LaRusso seemed destined to be forever identified as a "cake-eater" (the taunt thrown Adam's way by his teammates), but his life since has taken him far away from acting. He has never truly left the Ducks behind, however. Keep reading to find out where the former child actor is now, at age 44.
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He mostly stepped away from the spotlight.
LaRusso appeared in all three films in the Mighty Ducks trilogy, but after completing filming on 1996's D3: The Mighty Ducks, he more or less left acting behind, racking up only a handful of credits in the decades since.
Outside of the Disney sports franchise, he had a small role as a bank robber in the 2008 parody film Superhero Movie and appeared as an unnamed character (Buddy #2) in a Season 1 episode of the Joss Whedon-created TV series Dollhouse.
He went to college and got a "regular" job.
LaRusso didn't intentionally step away from acting, but that's how it worked out. The same year D3 came out in theaters, he enrolled in Boston University, eventually graduating in 2000 from the Questrom School of Business with a degree in business administration and management.
The day of his college orientation, he was scheduled to go on a big audition, LaRusso told the fan podcast The Quack Attack. Remembering the advice of Mighty Ducks film producer Jordan Kerner, who advised the young cast to go to college, LaRusso chose school over the potential gig, and his manager at the time decided they should part ways until he was serious about acting again. "That was the definitive moment," LaRusso said of his move away from Hollywood.
In the years since, he's kept busy with a variety of jobs in the hospitality industry, according to his LinkedIn. He has managed several restaurants; held senior positions at Soho House, a "private members club" for people working in film and the media; and currently serves as the director of food and beverage for the Ambassador Theater Group, which owns live theater venues in the U.K., Germany, and New York City, where LaRusso currently resides.
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He's still flying with the Ducks.
Despite leaving acting behind, LaRusso still embraces his history with the beloved team of fictional underdogs (or is that underfowl?), actively participating in fan conventions and cast reunions, including celebrations of the first film's 25th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of D2. He's also remained close friends with former Ducks co-stars Garette Henson (Guy) and Elden Henson (Fulton).
"I never imagined [the series] would have the staying power it did," LaRusso told The Quack Attack podcast in 2021. "I'm fascinated by it, I'm flattered by it."
Yet, leaving the spotlight behind to leave a more typical life hasn't always been easy. "[Acting offers] a level of validation that is real difficult to match going forward in regular careers, with salaries, and paychecks, and bosses, and responsibilities," he said. "The idea of the movie star…is such a giant, juicy chunk of validation, it's difficult to find elsewhere in the world."
He returned for the Disney+ reboot.
About a decade after his last acting role (in the short film George and Sophia), LaRusso got a call from his agent—who he hadn't spoken to in years—letting him know that Disney asked for him to appear in The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, a franchise sequel/reboot being produced for the Disney+ streaming service.
So LaRusso traveled to Vancouver in 2020, amid COVID lockdowns, to shoot a single episode guest appearance, alongside several castmates from the original trilogy, which revealed that Adam Banks had become a lawyer who was working as a public defender.
"It was surreal," he said on the podcast of his return to the Ducks. "In your life you don't really think of things as [being] that far away. All of sudden it was such a smack in the face that it's been long enough…that we have another generation that's doing a similar story. It was the closest thing to a time machine." Appearing on the reboot was "almost like a form of therapy," LaRusso added, allowing him to "revisit [the experience], celebrate it, leave it where it is all at the same time. All the things a therapist would have you do."