Alan Ruck Made So Little Money on ‘Ferris Bueller’ That He Had to Go Work at Sears

Ruck only made $40,000 for the John Hughes classic. Here’s where Cameron goes berserk
Alan Ruck Made So Little Money on ‘Ferris Bueller’ That He Had to Go Work at Sears

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off may have put Alan Ruck on the movie business’ map, but Sears put food on his table. 

Though Ruck would eventually earn his living acting in sitcoms and action blockbusters throughout the 1990s, back in 1986, with a wife, a house and a car payment due, Ruck followed the filming of Ferris Bueller with a brief stint working in the department store’s warehouse. The Succession star recently told Los Angeles Magazine that, for his breakout performance as the catatonic Cameron Frye in the John Hughes classic, Ruck was only paid $40,000 – hardly “don’t quit your day job money” for a man with bills to pay.

Something tells us Cameron didn’t cover the cost of that smashed Ferrari.

“My character was 16, but I was 26,” Ruck began, “It was great to be part of a movie people love, but afterward, it felt like my 15 minutes were up.” Ruck already had a handful of credits by the time he appeared in the most iconic high school movie of the 1980s, so he fully understood the harsh realities of the entertainment industry by the time Ferris Bueller wrapped and it was time to return to the real world. 

Ruck recalled, “I was married, moved to L.A., bought a house. But I’d only made $40,000 for (Ferris Bueller).” The film grossed over $70 million on just a $5 million budget, and that kind of success would logically shortlist its featured players for bigger parts – however, Ruck would have to wait a while for the phone to start ringing. “I got auditions, but I’m a weird type: a character actor, but not ‘character-y,’” Ruck said, “Nobody would cast me as a lawyer or a cop—I wasn’t really castable.”

Without much of a traditional résumé, Ruck took the first job he could find: a warehouse gig at Sears. “I had to make my car payment.” he explained – presumably his own wheels were slightly more practical than a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder with only 125 miles on it. 

Ruck spent three months at Sears before landing a role on the ABC TGIF block of family sitcoms, later taking up bartending when acting work once again slowed down. The 1990s would be more accommodating to his acting career, as Ruck played parts in action blockbusters like Speed and Twister, and even made Captain in the Star Trek universe – Ruck appeared in the film Star Trek Generations in 1994 as Captain Kirk’s successor, only to defer command of the Enterprise back to the big boss.

Now, Ruck is a fan-favorite fringe presidential candidate on one of the most critically acclaimed shows on television. To millions of Ferris Bueller fans, Succession marked Ruck’s welcome return to their screens – however, there’s one key difference between Ruck and his character Connor Roy: Ruck is willing to get a job.

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