Miracle Star Michael Mantenuto Is Dead At 35

michael mantenuto suicide

Michael Mantenuto was never a household name in Hollywood. You may have known him for the movie Miracle, in which he played an injured defenseman who win on to help the team win gold at the 1980 Olympics. Mantenuto went on to take two more roles in Tinseltown before signing on with the Army. Sadly, the former actor is now dead at the age of 35.

Earlier this week, Michael Mantenuto was found at Saltwater State Park in Des Moines, Iowa. Police found him in his car on Monday, and his body was taken to the King County Medical Examiner's Office, who reported the death was a suicide. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, leaving behind his wife and two children. Michael Mantenuto's commander, Colonel Guillaume Beaurpere was the first to announce the actor's death. He shared the following message on Facebook about Mantenuto.

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... The Group is standing by to support the family in any way possible and we will professionally execute those wishes. Our deepest condolences go out to SSG Mantenuto's family, friends and teammates. We are committed to supporting them through this difficult time of loss and grief.

Disney's Miracle was Michael Mantenuto's signature role. The 2004 movie follows the famous story of Herb Brooks, who capably led a team of underdogs to beat the Soviet Union at hockey during the Cold War. The Soviet team was heavily favored at the Olympics that year and in an exhibition game, the U.S. team had been completely dominated. But when push came to shove, the Americans were able to push hard and declare victory, earning the gold medal. Michael Mantenuto had a hero moment in the third act of the movie. Coming back from an injury, his character Jack O'Callahan joined the team on the ice and immediately had a big moment when he checked a Soviet player.

Prior to appearing in Miracle, Michael Mantenuto was a hockey player for the University of Maine, so he was a good fit for the role in Miracle. Mantenuto briefly continued acting after Miracle, appearing in Dirtbags, a made for TV movie and Surfer, Dude, which actually starred Matthew McConaughey. Eventually Michael Mantenuto quick acting and joined the Special Forces unit of the Army, where he was known as SSG Michael J. Mantenuto, 18E, HHC, 1st SFG(A). He leaves behind his wife, Katie Vienneau and his two children, Ava and Leo. Our hearts go out to his immediate family and his parents as they deal with a tragic loss.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please get help. The National Suicide Hotline is always available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.