The news of Michael Mantenuto’s tragic suicide has left sports fans reeling. Michael was the star of the classic Disney hockey film ‘Miracle’, a proud member of the Special Forces, and so much more. Learn more about his life here.
1. He was the star of the Disney movie Miracle
Michael Mantenuto starred in the 2004 film Miracle, a Disney movie about the champion US Olympic hockey team that defied the odds in the 1980s to beat the Soviet Union. Michael played Jack O’Callahan, the defenseman on the US Olympic team. Jack injures his knee in an exhibition game, one of the most dramatic moments of the movie, but comes back in the finals to crush the Soviets. The film is beloved by sports fans, and he’s a big reason why.
He was cast in the film after getting in a fight on the ice with another player during the film’s audition. He apologized to the director, Gavin O’Connor, but he said that it was exactly what he was looking for to play the character.
2. He starred in two more films after Miracle
Michael’s turn in Miracle was his first role ever, and he starred in two other projects after that. He played Shafe in the TV movie Dirtbags, and was a House Poser in Surfer, Dude. He was also featured in From Hockey to Hollywood: Actors’ Journeys after Miracle came out.
3. He was a member of the Special Forces
After acting, Michael decided to join the military. It was sadly the commander of his army unit, Col. Guillaume Beaurpere, who announced his death at 35 years-old.
4. He was really a hockey player
Michael played hockey his entire life, including at the University of Maine. His father was his high school’s hockey coach, and he spent three years playing for the Eastern Junior Hockey League before being recruited for college. Boston University and the University of New Hampshire wanted him, too.
5. He worked on a fishing boat before going into acting
“I was working on this fishing boat trapping eels before I got cast in this movie, so I felt like I was stepping off a boat and into a dream,” Michael said when he started filming Miracle.
HollywoodLifers, our thoughts are with Michael’s loved ones during this difficult time.