Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Real Reason These Mighty Ducks Actors Stopped Acting

Nearly 30 years after the first "Mighty Ducks" movie hit theaters, the quack attack is back, Jack. The franchise has been revitalized with "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers," a streaming series from Disney+. The Ducks of old have long gone on to adult life; in fact, the Ducks spirit of old is gone as well, with the team having morphed into an all-encompassing, cutthroat program that only cares about the W. It's that type of hockey mentality that drove Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) away from the game and is now embodied by the Ducks' merciless Coach T (Dylan Playfair). When he cuts young Evan Morrow (Brady Noon) from the team, Evan's mom, Alex Morrow (Elizabeth Graham) decides to form the Don't Bothers, a team based on the mentality that fun is more important than the fundamentals. They assemble a rag-tag group of misfits — sound familiar? — to take on the pee wee elite Ducks, which is now basically a big-budget version of the Hawks from the first film.

Season 1 of "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers" is sitting pretty with an 89% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and is Certified Fresh. The eight-episode first installment even featured cameos from some of the original Ducks: Fulton Reed (Elden Henson), Kenny Wu (Justin Wong), Adam Banks (Vincent Larusso), Guy Germaine (Garette Henson), and Connie Moreau (Marguerite Moreau). While there are plenty of other Mighty Ducks alumni from the three films, some of the actors have moved past life in the movies. Here's the real reason these "Mighty Ducks" actors stopped acting.

Mike Vitar played Luis Mendoza

Actor Mike Vitar took on the role of the speedy Luis Mendoza from Miami, Florida, in the second film, "D2: The Mighty Ducks." When Gordon Bombay is asked to coach Team USA in the Junior Goodwill games, he needs a few new recruits, one of whom is Mendoza. Bombay is immediately impressed with the fiery young player's speed, but, as Mr. Tibbles (Michael Tucker) explains, there's a catch: he can't stop. 

Luis is a part of the contingent of Ducks to attend Eden Hall Academy in the third "Mighty Ducks" movie and he's still having trouble controlling his speed. His libido is getting out of control as well, as he sets his sights on Mindy (Melissa Keller), the beautiful blond head cheerleader and girlfriend to varsity team captain Rick Riley (Christopher Orr). Mendoza gets the girl in the end, after the Ducks beat the varsity team.

Vitar quit acting to become a firefighter, according to L.A. Weekly. In 2003, according to The Los Angeles Firefighter, Vitar was among a contingent of guys from Station 35 in Hollywood Hills to stop by the burn center and check up on some of their fellow firefighters who were injured in a structure fire. Vitar faced some legal troubles in 2015 (via TMZ), having been arrested and charged with assault. He ultimately took a deal, pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault in order to avoid prison (via TMZ); Vitar was suspended six months without pay as a result of the incident.

Justin Wong played Ken Wu

Another "D2" newcomer, Justin Wong took on the role of Olympic figure skater-turned-hockey player Ken Wu. Mr. Tibbles convinced him that hockey had more of a future; "We put a stick in his hands, nobody's been able to touch him." As the smallest member of the team, Kenny gets taught how to talk trash by Russ Tyler's (Kenan Thompson) brother James (Vicellous Shannon) and how to defend himself, eventually becoming the unofficial third Bash Brother.

Ken Wu made the trip to Eden Hall as well, where his size once again puts him at a disadvantage; he gets picked on by the varsity team and the scene in which they steal his lunch is the one that inspires Charlie (Joshua Jackson) to put horse apples in a brown bag in the hopes that they'd try to take his too. It pays off, and varsity enforcer Cole (Michael Cudlitz), plunges his hand right into a fresh batch of equestrian excrement.

In real life, Justin Wong said he struggled with the kind of attention being in a popular movie franchise tends to bring. "It's kind of hard to handle," he told Popternative. "You don't know [what] to do with it, other than you just don't want it to happen anymore." As he revealed to the outlet, Wong became an audio engineer, though he's grown to appreciate the impact the franchise has had on people. "For me, it wasn't until that Anaheim Ducks silver anniversary that I realized how much the movies have affected people and how big the fans are to the movies," he told TooFab.

Aaron Lohr played Dean Portman

Actor Aaron Lohr also signed on for the second "Mighty Ducks" film, taking on the role of tough guy Dean Portman of Chicago, Illinois. As soon as he's introduced, Coach Bombay calls him a goon and makes it clear to Mr. Tibbles that his kids "don't play that kind of hockey." Tibbles clarifies that the proper term is "enforcer" and advises Bombay that he's going to need Portman's toughness when they play the Iceland team. Portman and Fulton Reed dub themselves the Bash Brothers and go on to commit interference, boarding, and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties pretty much every time they're on the ice.

Portman doesn't initially make the trip to Eden Hall Academy in "D3," leaving Fulton to have an existential crisis and ponder if he's now a solo Bash Brother, the Bash Man, or Mr. Bash. But in the rising action of the film's second act, Bombay shows up to handle a legal matter and then mentions he has some business in Chicago; that business is convincing Portman to join his fellow Ducks during the intermission of the climactic game against the varsity team.

Nine years after "D3," Aaron Lohr appeared as minor character Steve in the cinematic adaptation of popular Broadway musical "Rent." He still acts occasionally but hasn't had a credited role in several years. Instead, he's become the clinical director for Avalon Malibu, an addiction treatment center in California, is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and holds a master's degree in psychology from Phillips Graduate University. He also married his "Rent" co-star Idina Menzel in 2017, according to Playbill.

Ty O'Neal played Cowboy Dwayne Robertson

Ty O'Neal McClary — credited simply as Ty O'Neal —showed up as another new addition to the Ducks as they became Team USA for the Junior Goodwill Games. He took on the tole of cartoonish Dwayne Robertson, a cowboy-slash-hockey player who's the best puck handler Mr. Tibbles has ever seen. Coach Bombay assumes he means for his age; he means ever seen. Dwayne provides some comic relief in the second and third "Mighty Ducks" movies, including getting two minutes for roping when an Iceland goon is bearing down for a big hit on Connie away from the play. 

He offers more fish-out-of-water laughs in the third film with his confusion as to why he has so many forks at the prestigious and stuffy Minnesota Club — seriously, what's the little bitty one for? While there are plenty of outlandish antics throughout the films, that scene provides the most unrealistic thing about the entire "Mighty Ducks" franchise: the idea that you could feed two hockey teams — 26 people — lobster and prime rib in a fine dining establishment for only $857, even in 1996.

Ty O'Neal went on to appear in Kevin Costner's "The Postman" and in "American Outlaws" with Colin Farrell before hanging up his acting spurs and putting his real spurs back on. As the National High School Rodeo Association's 1994 report about him landing the role of Dwayne reveals, he was actually a cowboy before appearing in the "Mighty Ducks" films. According to the Wylie Bulldogs Educational fund, he raises horses with his wife Christie — with whom he has two children — and is still a part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine played Julie "The Cat" Gaffney

When Gordon Bombay is asked to turn his Ducks into Team USA in the second "Mighty Ducks" movie, he gets a new goaltender in the form of Julie "The Cat" Gaffney, played by Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine. While Bombay says he had his guy in net in the form of Greg Goldberg (Shaun Weiss), he supposes it couldn't hurt to have a backup. Julie "The Cat" is so named for her cat-like reflexes and quick glove and, like a cat, she grows restless not getting to do what comes naturally: play hockey. She's brought in cold for the pivotal shootout at the end of "D2" for that fast glove and she ends up making the save that helps them defeat the squad from Iceland. 

She makes the trip to Eden Hall for "D3" and ends up winning the starting spot in net, to the eternal outrage of Goldberg. Hoping to win his spot between the pipes back, he pretends to offer Julie nutritional advice, but really he's just packing her full of sugary carbs so she'll cough up a hairball when they have to practice later. 

Something about that really must have stuck with her because Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine went on to become a well known chef and culinary influencer. As Sports Illustrated reported, she enrolled in the Natural Gourmet School in New York City and eventually appeared on Season 3 of "The Next Food Network Star," learning a valuable lesson in the process. "In a movie you're there to make each other look good," Jacobsen-Derstine said. "On a reality show you're with a bunch of people whose success depends on your failure."

Vincent Larusso played cake-eater Adam Banks

Actor Vincent Larusso played OG "Mighty Ducks" character Adam Banks — and by OG, we mean the kid who joined the Ducks halfway through the first movie. Initially, Banks was a member of the elite Hawks team and the star for Gordon Bombay's old mentor, Coach Reilly (Lane Smith). But when Bombay takes a district zoning issue to league officials, Banks is given the option to play for the Ducks or not play at all. He just wants to play hockey but receives a rather frosty reception from the Ducks locker room; after all, he's a preppy kid from the other side of the tracks. The treatment he receives from his former teammates is worse, of course, as he leaves the first movie on a stretcher.

Banks takes a nasty slash in "D2" and is sidelined, making room for Russ Tyler and his magical knuckle puck shot. When he's healed up, Charlie offers Russ his spot and joins Bombay behind the bench. Banks is further alienated in the third film when he does so well in practice that he's promoted to the varsity squad, getting thrown back into the old haves-vs-have-nots dynamic with his former teammates.

It should come as no surprise that the guy who played the original cake-eater went on to become a businessman. With his last credited role in 2010, Vincent Larusso attended Boston University's School of Management, according to his LinkedIn profile. He currently works in the hospitality sector in New York, serving as Director Of Food And Beverage for the Ambassador Theatre Group. 

Shaun Weiss played Greg Goldberg

Affable Philly-born goaltender Greg Goldberg, played by actor Shaun Weiss, was a big part of all three "Mighty Ducks" films. At first, he's afraid of staying in his net, seemingly unable to comprehend that, as net-minder, it's his job to have pucks shot at him. Then again, when your team can't afford real hockey gear and you have stacks of newspapers taped to your shins instead of proper goalie pads, maybe that fear is understandable. When Coach Bombay gets the team sponsored by his law firm, however, Goldberg realizes getting hit with the puck doesn't hurt with proper padding and becomes an actual goaltender.

Goldberg gets a little smaller spotlight in the two sequels, though he's still good for a chuckle. Whether it's pretending to be tough but begging his teammates to hold him back against a Team Iceland goon in "D2" or the physical humor of his nearly-fatal skate to Eden Hall Academy at the beginning of "D3," Goldberg was always good for a laugh.

Life hasn't been so lighthearted for actor Shaun Weiss since his time with the "Mighty Ducks" franchise. While his career in Hollywood continued, including credits as recent as 2016, events outside of his professional life include multiple arrests. In July 2017, he was arrested for petty theft and sentenced to 150 days in jail, according to TMZ. The next month, he was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine (via People). Weiss was arrested once more in January 2020 after allegedly breaking into the garage of a Marysville, California, home, according to Fox40. Thankfully, Weiss was sober for 230 days as of September 10, 2020 (via Today).