Michael Mantenuto Dies; Disney Star Was 35
Michael Mantenuto, the actor best known for his role in the Disney film Miracle, has passed away at the age of 35.
Early reports indicate that Mantenuto took his own life.
A former college hockey player, Mantenuto joined the military after his Hollywood career came to an end.
His death was reported by Col. Guillaume “Will” Beaurpere, the group commander of the U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Group, who issued a statement confirming that Mantenuto was found dead by authorities in Des Moines, Iowa:
“Those of you that knew Mike will remember him for his passionate love for his family and his commitment to the health of the force,” Baurpere wrote in the statement.
There’s been no word on the circumstances that led up to Mantenuto’s tragic decision to take his own life.
A standout on the University of Maine hockey team, after college Mantenuto opted to take up acting rather than attempt to enter the NHL.
His skills on the ice helped him land the role of the free-spirited Jack O’Callahan in Miracle, on of the most beloved sports films of recent years.
The movie tells the tale of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team, who shocked the world by defeating the heavily-favored Russian team.
The American squad went on to take home the gold after defeating Finland in the championship game.
While Mantenuto’s acting career never quite took off, he did land roles in several other films, including 2006’s Dirtbags and the 2009 Matthew McConaughey vehicle Surfer, Dude.
But it’s his role in the cultishly adored Miracle for which Manenuto will be best remembered.
Tributes to Mantenuto began pouring in on social media within minutes of the announcement of his death.
“R.I.P to Michael Mantenuto, Miracle is one of my favorite movies ever and we will always remember you as Jack O’Callahan,” wrote one fan.
A native of Massachusetts, Manenuto is survived by his wife, the former Kati Vienneau; a daughter, Ava; a son, Leo; his father, Ed; and three sisters.
Our condolences go out to his friends and family.