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Alan Ruck: A Look at His Long and Quirky Career, From ‘Ferris Bueller’ to ‘Succession’

Learn why 'Succession' was his dream project

Alan Ruck may not have the same level of name recognition as other actors who starred in the John Hughes teen movies of the ’80s, but his role as Ferris Bueller’s quirky best friend in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will forever be known as one of the best parts of the classic 1986 teen comedy.

Decades later, Cameron remains Ruck’s signature role, but he’s been in many movies and shows ever since then, and in recent years he made a major comeback (a Ruck-issance, if you will) with his role as Connor Roy on the juicy drama Succession.

The show, which ended in 2023 and centered on the trials and tribulations of a wealthy and backstabbing family in the media industry, earned the veteran actor a new wave of attention and countless fans were delighted upon realizing that yes, the bumbling eldest Roy son was, in fact, an ’80s teen star (who wasn’t actually a teen — more on that in a minute!)

Here are some fun facts you might not have known about Alan Ruck.

Alan Ruck in 1986
Alan Ruck in 1986Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Alan Ruck was 29 when he played Cameron

While he may be known for playing a high schooler, Ruck was actually 29 when he was cast as Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Ruck admitted that he had some reservations about taking on the much younger role at first but ultimately got over them, telling the Chicago Tribune, “I was worried that I’d be 10 years out of step, and I wouldn’t know anything about what was cool, what was hip, all that junk. But when I was going to high school, I didn’t know any of that stuff then, either. So I just thought, well, hell — I’ll just be me. The character, he’s such a loner that he really wouldn’t give a damn about that stuff anyway. He’d feel guilty that he didn’t know it, but that’s it.”

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Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, and Alan Ruck publicity portrait for the film 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off', 1986
Left to right: Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara and Alan Ruck in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)Paramount/Getty

He felt pigeonholed by his Ferris Bueller role

With over 100 credits to his name and a starring role on another popular TV show, Spin City, before Succession, Ruck has an impressive resume, but in a 2023 New York Times interview, he admitted that being known as Cameron wasn’t necessarily beneficial to his career.

As he described it, “There were a lot of spotty years where I was just, like, basically making just enough money to stay alive. When people would come up during that period and say something about Ferris Bueller it would kind of really irritate me because I felt, well, that was it. That was my shot.”

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Alan Ruck in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' 1986
Alan Ruck in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Succession was his dream project

Long after Ferris Bueller, Ruck couldn’t have been more pleased to be a part of Succession. He said, “I dreamed about a show like this for years,” and called the series “a gift.” The show earned him his first-ever Emmy nomination, and he said, “it’s really sweet that I’ve been recognized at this kind of late point in my career.”

The actor in 'Succession' 2023
Alan Ruck in Succession (2023)HBO/MovieStillsDB

He had small parts in two ’90s blockbusters

Ruck was something of a character actor for much of his career, and took on small parts in two of the biggest thrillers of the ’90s. He played a tourist on the fast-moving bus in the intense 1994 blockbuster Speed, and a storm chaser in the 1996 disaster movie Twister.

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The actor in 'Speed' 1994
Alan Ruck in Speed (1994)20th Century Fox/MovieStillsDB

He appeared on Broadway

In 2005, Ruck played Leo Bloom in the popular Broadway musical adaptation of The Producers. The role had previously been played by Matthew Broderick, his onscreen best friend in Ferris Bueller.

Left to right: Richard Kind, Alan Ruck and Angie Schworer in 'The Producers' 2005
Left to right: Richard Kind, Alan Ruck and Angie Schworer in The Producers (2005)Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic/Getty

Alan Ruck was part of the Star Trek universe

In 1994, Ruck joined the Star Trek universe when he played Captain Jonathan Harriman in the movie Star Trek: Generations. Captain Harriman was inexperienced and thought to be response for the beloved Captain Kirk’s death, leading Ruck to say, with characteristic humility, “half the people in the Star Trek world love me for killing Kirk, and half the people hate me for killing Kirk. And I can live with that.”

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