The Mighty Ducks
A working actor since age three, Elden Henson, who sometimes credited as Elden Ratliff and Elden Ryan Ratlif, spent much of his life in the glare of publicity. Starting out as a baby model, Henson’s career skyrocketed by the time he entered high school, thanks to his role as enforcer Fulton Reed in the Mighty Ducks trilogy (1992, 1994 and 1996). The Rockville, Maryland native actor was singled out by critics for his moving turn as physically oversized but emotionally underdeveloped Max in The Mighty (1998), opposite Kieran Culkin.
Henson is also known for having roles in such films as Turner & Hooch (1989), She’s All That (1999), Idle Hands (1999), O (2001), Cheats (2002), The Battle of Shaker Heights (2003), The Butterfly Effect (2004) and The Moguls (2005). Recently costarring in the Denzel Washington action Déjà vu (2006), he is set to play a role in the upcoming comedy Plastic (2007), helmed by Dominic Greco.
Aside from acting, Henson has developed a passion for directing and writing. He has worked on numerous amateur short movies and penned several scripts. Along with Josh Hartnett, the 5’ 9” player founded a production company called “Roulette Entertainment.”
Childhood and Family:
Elden Henson was born Elden Ryan Ratliff on August 30, 1977, in Rockville, Maryland, but raised in New York City. His mother is a professional photographer and he has two brothers, Erick Henson (older) and Garette Ratliff Henson (younger, born January 5, 1980). Garette was a talented child actor whose film credits include the three Mighty Ducks films, Arachnophobia (1990), Radio Flyer (1992) and Casper (1995). Elden began a career in showbiz as a baby model at age two and by age six had starred in many commercials. By the time he was ten, he was on his way to becoming a victorious child actor.
Elden was educated at John Burrough’s High School in Burbank, California until he left to do filming on the Mighty Duck. He studied filmmaking at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, but dropped out in 1997, after the fall semester.
Signed by Eileen Ford, Elden Henson got his start working as a model when he was only two years old. He soon progressed into film, making his debut as a ring bearer in the 1981 romantic comedy A Little Sex and going on to appear in two Sidney Lumet films, The Verdict (1982) and Daniel (1983). Already a film veteran, six-year-old Henson tried his hand in television for a regular role in the CBS daytime drama “As The World Turns.” This was followed by guest spots on the anthology series “Amazing Stories” (1985) and NBC’s family drama “Highway to Heaven” (1987). A role, as 10-year-old Don Beaulieu, a character his older brother Erick portrayed at age 13, in the ABC miniseries “Elvis and Me” (1988) followed.
Henson got his first major film role in 1989, when he appeared with Tom Hanks in the cop/dog buddy fare Turner & Hooch, and followed with a bit part opposite his younger brother Garette in the Richard Donner-directed drama Radio Flyer in 1992. The round-faced, blondish and slightly chubby actor, however, did not receive his big break until he was cast as enforcer Fulton Reed in Disney’s The Mighty Ducks (1992), a family film starring Emilio Estevez, in which he again worked with his younger brother. He reprised this role for the successful sequels The Mighty Ducks 2 (1994) and D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996). The three movies won Henson both appreciation and fans, and helped to open doors for bigger roles.
The young actor continued to receive positive reviews two years later with his portrayal of physically jumbo but emotionally undersized Max in Miramax’s The Mighty, along side Kieran Culkin’s thoughtful and disabled Kevin. Their performance was touching, and Henson, offering a perceptive and convincing presentation, demonstrated that years of experience in the industry had shaped him into an excellent actor. Henson rounded out the decade with roles in the comedy/horror Idle Hands (1999), opposite Devon Sawa and Seth Green, the Freddie Prinze Jr.- Rachael Leigh Cook romance She’s All That (1999) as well as the Showtime A Gift of Love: The Daniel Huffman Story (1999), with Debbie Reynolds and Ed Marinaro.
Following appearances in Robert Zemeckis’ Cast Away (2000) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s starring vehicle Manic (2001), Henson was cast opposite Mekhi Phifer as the lead Odin and Josh Hartnett as his friend and arch-rival Hugo in Tim Blake Nelson’s O (2001), a modern retelling of Othello, portrayed one of the crafty quartet attempting to cheat their way through high school in the comedy Cheats (2002) and had a small part in the comedy prequel Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003). Still in 2003, he scored a main part as Bart, the best friend of Kelly (Shia LaBeouf) who discovers their affiliation overwrought when Kelly’s goes after Bart’s sister (Amy Smart) in the sophomore “Project Greenlight” movie The Battle of Shaker Heights, and appeared as an author in the delightful romance Under the Tuscan Sun, starring Diane Lane.
2004-2005 found roles in the thriller The Butterfly Effect (2004, starred Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart, the musical Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School (2005), the Jeff Bridges comedy The Moguls (2005) and Lords of Dogtown (2005). The latter project, in which Henson portrayed the co-owner of the Zephyr surf shop, follows the surf and skateboarding trends that originated in Venice, California during the 1970’s.
Recently, in 2006, Henson had a supporting role, as Gunnars, in the film Déjà vu, directed by Tony Scott and starring Oscar darling Denzel Washington. The action movie also featured Paula Patton, Val Kilmer, James Caviezel and Adam Goldberg. He also played Marley in three episodes of television series “Smith,” a drama about the lives of a group of professional criminals.
Henson is scheduled to have a role in the forthcoming Plastic, a comedy/crime by Dominic Greco for 2007 release.