Enough time has passed since the series finale to officially dub Sons of Anarchy as a modern-day classic. In a span of just seven seasons and 92 episodes, the show captivated audiences and produced an iconography that was unique enough to spawn into its very own spinoff, called Mayans M.C.
A large reason why the show was such a success is that we fell in love with a colorful cast of characters, including fan-favorite Opie, who was played masterfully by Ryan Hurst. For those unfamiliar with the actor, his personal background is as unique and interesting as the character he played. Here are some things you may not have known about him.
10 He Follows The Sikh Religion
Sikhism refers to the religion based in monotheism, originating in Punjabi cultures. An ancient religion aged nearly 500 years, Sikhism is all about the spirit and the belief that our souls go through multiple cycles of rebirth in our connection with a singular God.
Although this idea of spirituality originated in and is most common in Indian circles, it is the religion which Hurst chooses to follow right now. In his conversion to Sikh, the Sikh name which he gave himself is Gobind Seva Singh.
9 His Net Worth Is Growing
For those who were ever curious as to how much an actor prolific enough to sport a recurring supporting role for several seasons can rack up in the bank, Ryan Hurst sports a net worth of $4 million. Compared to the Dwayne Johnsons and the Scarlett Johanssons of the world, $4 million sounds like chump change, but for us Average Joes especially, that’s a lot of money.
Heck, even in Tinseltown, $4 million is a lot of money. Fun Fact: Hurst shares the exact same net worth with rising rapper Lil Nas X.
8 He Has His Own Production Company
As most actors who afford the money to do so, Ryan Hurst yearned to own his own production company. In addition to just being a wise investment, owning a production company gives actors the freedom to not only choose the roles they actually want but create and release the movies themselves.
Using that aforementioned $4 million net worth that we mentioned earlier, he founded the company Fast Shoes in the early 2010s with his wife, Molly Cookson, an actress who he had previously co-starred with on the show Outsiders.
7 Acting Is In His Blood
By that, we mean that it runs in the family. Born in Santa Monica, practically the heartland of California right next to Hollywood, Ryan Hurst was the offspring of Candace Kaniecki and Rick Hurst.
If those names don’t ring any bells, Rick Hurst is an actor best known for playing Deputy Hogg in the Dukes of Hazard franchise. Meanwhile, Candace Kaniecki is an acting coach who currently runs the Candace Kaniecki (Herman) Acting School in California where her students have gone on to be cast in the likes of Hamilton on Broadway and Fuller House on Netflix.
6 Saved By The Bell Was His First Big Break
You may not think it is given that he is relatively young at age 44 or the fact that he was never introduced to mainstream audiences until Sons of Anarchy just over a decade ago, but Ryan Hurst has been acting for 27 years, ever since 1993. He is a bonafide veteran in the sport of acting, and you’d never guess what his first acting job was.
Yep, he was hanging out with – well, more like being taught by an older version of – ole Screech Powers at Bayside High School as Crunch Grabowski on Saved by the Bell: The New Class. He actually had a recurring role, but you may not have recognized Hurst since he was clean-faced, young, and a little chubby.
5 He Has A Knack For War Movies
Speaking of Hurst being an acting veteran, he has a knack for playing a different type of veteran when it comes to characters in war-driven dramas. If we didn’t know any better, we would say that perhaps the war period piece is his favorite sub-genre of film.
There are multiple movies in his catalog where he’s played a soldier. Most notably, a Vietnam war soldier in the Mel Gibson led We Were Soldiers, and right before that, a paratrooper in the Oscar-winning Saving Private Ryan.
4 He Was A Director In Remember The Titans
Who could forget Remember the Titans? The whole title hinges on us remembering that Denzel Washington football vehicle? Because we didn’t know him by name at the time or because he looks so different with a shaved face, some of us may have forgotten that it was one of Ryan Hurst’s first movies.
Even if you remember his presence in that movie, there is a good chance that you may not have even known he pulled double duty as the director of the l6 mm footage used in the movie, per his IMDB credits.
3 He Does Voice Acting Too
A lot of actors struggle with the transition from live-action acting to going into the booth for voice acting, but Ryan Durst has done so seamlessly. So seamlessly that you may not have even realized it was his voice you were hearing.
Some of his most notable animated pictures are Johnny Depp’s Rango, where he voices a mole named Jedediah, and 2020’s Superman: Man of Tomorrow where he voices a motorcycle riding lunatic, which given his past roles (well, just one obvious one in particular), that’s actually perfect casting.
2 Piney And Opie Weren’t Originally Related
Some of the most heartwrenching scenes over the course of Sons of Anarchy was seeing Ryan Hurst’s Opie develop and shape his relationship with onscreen father, William Lucking’s Piney.
The funniest thing about their father-son dynamic is that as strong as their chemistry consistently was, they were not originally written into the script as father and son. However, creator Kurt Sutter took notice to both actor’s physical appearances (namely, height and facial features) and decided they’d make believable family members. We are happy to say that he was right.
1 His First Acting Job Was A Spam Commercial
Remember when we said that Ryan Hurst’s first acting gig was on the show Saved by the Bell: The New Class? Well, sort of. When it comes to official TV shows and movies, yes, that was his first production. However, he did do a much smaller, minimal piece of work beforehand acting in a spam commercial.
We cannot find any footage of this spam commercial (maybe he’s so embarrassed by it that he scrubbed it from the internet himself), but Hurst revealed it as his very first acting job on an episode of Ron Funches’ podcast, Gettin’ Better. Everybody’s gotta start off somewhere, right?