Early Saturday morning, police officers arrested three men wandering around a closed business complex in Oroville, California—about an hour north of Sacramento. The men were behaving erratically with flashlights, and officers suspected that they were either drunk or high. The officers took them back to the station, and they were released after a few hours when they’d sobered up. One of the men amused officers with his sense of humor; they called him “witty.”
The “witty” man police arrested and later released was none other than Shaun Weiss, former child star and actor famous for his roles in The Mighty Ducks and Heavyweights. Born in 1978 in Montvale, New Jersey, Weiss got his start in show business in 1986 with a small part on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse; Weiss, along with his young co-stars Natasha Lyonne and Diane Yang, formed the Playhouse gang, an adorable human counterpart to the show’s puppet characters.
After his stint on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Weiss had a series of bit parts in other TV shows, including a one-episode appearance on The Cosby Show in 1989. It was in 1992, however, that Weiss would get his big break, starring as lovable, wise-cracking goalie Greg Goldberg in Disney’s The Mighty Ducks. The feel-good film about a down-and-out hockey team being coached to greatness by Emilio Estevez was a surprise hit for Disney at the box office and spawned two sequels.
In between Mighty Ducks films, Weiss kept busy with small roles on TV shows like Here And Now and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He also starred as a chubby kid sent to a grueling fat camp in 1995’s Judd Apatow-penned Heavyweights, opposite a few Mighty Ducks costars and Ben Stiller as the fanatical fitness freak running the camp. In a 1995 interview with New Jersey’s The Record, the rotund Weiss said of Heavyweights: “Of course it all touched a nerve for me. The movie is not about skinny or fat. The movie is about being yourself and accepting what you are.” Weiss said in the same interview that the film even inspired him to attend a “real life” fat camp.
Once the Mighty Ducks brouhaha died down, Weiss had short-lived stints on sitcoms like Saved by The Bell and The Tony Danza Show, even landing a recurring role on the cult favorite Freaks and Geeks.
But the new millennium found Weiss resorting to background parts in films and TV shows. Gone were his days of playing chubby-cheeked hockey goalies; Weiss’ most high-profile appearance since the '90s was as a bus driver in 2008’s Drillbit Taylor. Weiss’ last on-screen appearance was in 2016, in a short entitled Netflix & Chill. Until recently Weiss was definitely still acting—just not in anything as major as, say, The Mighty Ducks. In a 2010 interview, he revealed that he was focusing more on his stand-up comedy career and “studying the screenwriting craft,” mentioning he’d been focused on that for a decade.
Recent years have seen Weiss engaging in some decidedly less wholesome behavior. Last July, he was arrested for petty theft and sentenced to 150 days in L.A. county jail after he stole $151 in merchandise from an electronics store. TMZ reported that this wasn’t his first theft offense, hence the hefty sentence; his manager Don Gibble told the outlet at the time, “[Shaun] hopes jail will help him, and maybe while he is in jail he will write something,” citing Weiss’ interest in comedy and screenwriting.
Weiss only had 12 days to pen anything while behind bars for his 2017 theft charge; his sentence was shortened due to overcrowding. A few days after he was released, however, he was arrested again, this time near Burbank for possession of a controlled substance. According to TMZ, the substance in question was meth. Weiss was later sentenced to 90 days in August 2017 for his possession charge.
Weiss’s former Mighty Ducks co-stars have had varying degrees of success following the film. Emilio Estevez, who played coach Gordon Bombay, went on to star in a slew of other films, most recently The Public in early 2018, which he also wrote and directed. Jussie Smollett, who played Terry Hall, is currently starring as Jamal Lyon in Empire. But Ducks actor Brock Pierce, who played a young Gordon, was featured in the 2015 documentary An Open Secret, which took a scathing look at now-defunct TV company Digital Entertainment Network (DEN). Pierce was an integral part of DEN, the documentary reveals, which was allegedly helmed by a ring of accused and convicted child molesters and sex offenders who would prey on ambitious youngsters eager for a taste of Hollywood stardom.
Weiss wasn’t charged in his most recent run-in with the law, TMZ reports. His mugshot from the encounter shows a haggard, somber 38-year-old—a far cry from the jovial Goldberg of yore, who would lead the Ducks to victory in the third Mighty Ducks film and save the day, against all odds.