He Played Gerry in "Remember the Titans." See Ryan Hurst Now at 46.
The actor went on to some major TV roles.
Remember the Titans, which premiered in theaters in 2000, is easily one of the most beloved football movies of all time. The period film, which is based on a true story, follows a newly integrated Virginia high school football team and their determined coach, played by Denzel Washington. The young cast is full of future stars, including Ryan Gosling and Hayden Panettiere. And one of the football players—Gerry Bertier, a real person who went on to be a Paralympian—was played by Ryan Hurst, who would follow the football movie up with several big performances. The real Bertier tragically died in 1981, and his funeral frames the rest of the movie. Hurst is now 46 and has been on a handful of hit TV shows in the 22 years since he played the emotional role. Read on to find out more about him.
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He's been in some gritty shows.
Hurst had already appeared in some big-budget movies prior to Remember the Titans. His earlier credits include The Postman and Saving Private Ryan. He'd also done a lot of TV, playing teen characters in shows like Saved by the Bell: The New Class and Beverly Hills, 90210. Post-Titans, he stayed active on both the big and small screens. You can watch Hurst in movies including The Ladykillers, We Were Soldiers, and A Million Little Pieces, though he's done a lot more work in TV. He's been in episodes of House, Medium, Everwood, Bates Motel, and S.W.A.T. But his biggest claims to fame are his roles in Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead, in which he played Opie Winston and Beta, respectively.
He's angry about Opie's fate too.
Hurst played his fan-favorite Sons of Anarchy character from 2008 to 2012, until (spoiler alert!) Opie was brutally murdered by a prison gang in Season 5. Viewers were devastated, and the actor was too, telling Entertainment Weekly that he argued against being killed off. "I couldn't stop crying," he said. "I tried to talk [showrunner Kurt Sutter] out of it. I went through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' stages of grief. He wasn't sure of the particulars yet, just that it was gonna be bloody and gonna be noble… I didn't see the way that it served the story. But then again, it's not necessarily my position to comment on that. It's Kurt's show that he created, and whether it's the right decision or the wrong decision, remains to be seen."
He may look totally different, but Remember the Titans fans still recognize him.
While it may seem that Hurst wouldn't be easily recognized now as his clean-cut Remember the Titans character today, the movie made such an impact on fans that they still clock him as Gerry. The actor told GQ in 2021 that he knows why it resonates—and why people still repeat famous lines to him when he's out in public.
"[Fans] take with them a message of peace and unity," he explained. "All it takes is you're walking down the street in New York and you hear somebody yell, 'Left side!' And you're like, 'I did my job.' I'll never get over that. I'm just so honored to have been a part of it."
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He's a married dad of two.
In 2005, Hurst married Molly Cookson, who he'd been dating since 1994. The couple have two children, but not much is known about them since they keep their family life private. Hurst and Cookson are also professional partners; they co-founded a production company called Fast Shoes Productions.