Family & Companions
Like many young actors in the 1980s, Alan Ruck received his start in a John Hughes comedy, specifically "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1987), as the title character's hypochondriac pal, Cameron; however, unlike many of his contemporaries from the period, Ruck enjoyed a lengthy career in the years that followed, with comic and dramatic turns in the action megahit "Speed" (1994) and on the series "Spin City" (ABC, 1996-2002). Older than most players on the teen scene during the 1980s, Ruck segued quickly into character parts, where his dry delivery - which could be quickly and easily driven into a flustered state - was put to excellent use on numerous sitcoms and in features. Ruck was versatile enough to find work in nearly every genre, from big-budget action epics like "Twister" (1996) and science fiction like "Star Trek: Generations" (1994) to more thoughtful drama like "The Bronx is Burning" (ESPN, 2007). He aged gracefully into key roles in television shows ranging from Amy Sherman-Palladino's "Bunheads" (ABC Family 2012-13) to a reboot of "The Exorcist" (Fox 2016- ). His turn as the anxiety-ridden Cameron, however, remained his most beloved and recognizable work, assuring him celebrity status as long as kids dreamed of skipping a day of school.
Born July 1, 1956 in Cleveland, OH, he developed an interest in acting while a student at Parma Senior High School in Parma, OH. After earning a degree in drama from the University of Illinois, he made his way to Chicago, where he became an established member of that city's theater community. Small roles in feature films like "Bad Boys" (1983) and "Class" preceded his Broadway debut in Neil Simon's "Biloxi Blues" (1985). His co-star in the production was Matthew Broderick, who would re-team with Ruck a year later for a coming-of-age film that would largely define both of their careers.
As Cameron Frye, Ferris Bueller's (Broderick) anxiety-riddled best friend, Ruck - then 29 but playing a high school student - gave an endearing performance as a young man trapped between giddy adolescence and adult weariness brought on by careless parents. His quirky panic over destroying his father's expensive car elevated the discomfort, already operating at optimum levels in the John Hughes-helmed classic. The blockbuster box office returns for the film launched Ruck's career in features, where he was frequently cast in supporting roles, often as buffoonish or foolhardy friends or associates of the lead. He co-starred with "Bueller" supporting player and future "Spin City" star Charlie Sheen in the comedy "Three for the Road" (1987), then played a farmer who joins Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez) in "Young Guns II" (1990). A frequent face on television, he was top-billed on the short-lived ABC comedy "Going Places" (1990-91) as a former ad man who becomes a writer on a network comedy. "The Edge" (Fox, 1992-93) was a sketch comedy show written by and starring comedienne Julie Brown that enjoyed an equally brief life span. Other dead-end series during this period included "Daddy's Girls" (CBS, 1994) with Dudley Moore and Keri Russell, and "Muscle" (The WB, 1995).
Despite these unfortunate projects, Ruck also enjoyed a lengthy run of successes in the mid-1990s, including supporting roles on "Star Trek: Generations" (1994) as the ill-prepared captain of the "Enterprise-B" and in feature film hits including "Speed" (1994) as an obnoxious tourist trapped aboard the runaway bus, and "Twister" (1996) as a member of an eccentric crew of storm chasers. He also played real-life engineer Tom Dolan, who created the concept of lunar orbit rendezvous - where a spacecraft and a lunar module travel together in orbit before the module descends to the Moon surface - in the HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" (1998). He was most visible during this period on the sitcom "Spin City" as obnoxious New York deputy mayor Stuart Bondek, whose relentlessly lecherous attitude is called into question by his unlikely but close friendship with head of minority affairs chief Carter Heywood (Michael Boatman), who also happens to be gay. Ruck remained with the show for its entire network run, which saw the departure of star Michael J. Fox after going public with his Parkinson's disease diagnosis, and new leading turns from Heather Locklear and Charlie Sheen.
After "Spin City," Ruck worked steadily in television and features, including the remake of "Cheaper By the Dozen" (2003) and the ESPN miniseries "The Bronx is Burning" (2007) as Pulitzer Prize-nominated sports writer Steve Jacobson. There were also notable bit turns in "Ghost Town" (2008), "The Happening" (2008) and a reprise of his "Star Trek Generations" role in "Star Trek: Of Gods and Men" (2007), a fan-driven feature directed by actor Tim Russ. In 2005, he teamed with fellow "Spin City" alum Richard Kind for the Broadway production of "The Producers." Ruck played Leo Bloom, the manic accountant originated by Matthew Broderick in the show's first run. And in 2007, he enjoyed a two-year run as Dean Bowman on the popular ABC Family series, "Greek" (2007-11). The perpetually employable Ruck joined the cast of "Persons Unknown" (2010), an NBC sci-fi thriller, and Amy Sherman-Palladino's comedy-drama "Bunheads" (ABC Family 2012-13), and took on supporting roles in romantic comedy "Shanghai Calling" (2012) and crime drama "Carnage Park" (2016). Following a recurring role on TV drama "The Whispers" (ABC 2015), Ruck returned to television full time opposite Geena Davis in a reworking of "The Exorcist" (Fox 2016- ).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Moved to Chicago after college
Stage debut, "Album" at Chicago's Apollo Theater
Worked regularly in Chicago's off-Loop theater
Feature acting debut, "Class", a teen comedy starring Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy and Jacqueline Bisset
TV-movie debut, "Hard Knox", an unsold pilot for a Robert Conrad military academy series
Broadway debut in the original production of Neil Simon's "Biloxi Blues"
First film lead, John Hughes' "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
Played Lenny, a dull opthamologist, on "Daddy's Girls", a short-lived sitcom
Played a regular role on "Muscle", a serialized sitcom on The WB TV Network
Cast in regular role on the ABC sitcom "Spin City"
Appeared in the HBO mini series "From the Earth to the Moon"
Acted in the comedy "Cheaper by the Dozen," which starred Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt
Was a supporting character in the HBO baseball mini-series "The Bronx Is Burning"
Nabbed a supporting role in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening"
Was a cast-member on the series "Persons Unknown"
Played a psychiatrist on Showtime's "Masters of Sex"
Nabbed a recurring role on the horror series "The Whispers"
Joined the cast of the horror series "The Exorcist"