The Walking Dead: Get to know Ryan Hurst, aka Beta

Ryan Hurst as Beta - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Ryan Hurst as Beta - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

As soon as The Walking Dead announced that the Whisperers were coming, fans wondered who would play Beta. That distinction goes to Ryan Hurst.

Ryan Hurst has made no secret of his excitement to join the cast of The Walking Dead. From the moment the news hit, the Sons of Anarchy alum has been quick to throw in his two cents on social media whenever Beta was mentioned during the show’s hiatus. Hurst might look familiar to viewers, as he should; Hurst has starred in lots of movies and shows across his impressive career. Let’s get to know the man who brings Beta to life.

Hurst is a big guy. He stands at 6’4”, and at that impressive height he eclipses costar Samantha Morton, who comes in at 5’3”. Size is important because Hurst’s Beta is supposed to be massive compared to Morton’s Alpha, and in true Beta fashion he towers over her in every scene.

That size came in handy during his first appearance onscreen in “Guardians.” During my interview with director Michael Satrazemis, he talked about how the production crew wondered how to film Beta pulling Henry from the ditch, and whether they would need wires to physically lift actor Matt Lintz. Satrazemis, who was already familiar with Hurst’s size, suggested that they should give him a chance to do it on his own:

"When we prepped we talked about using wires, and people talked about using all these things and I thought he’s so enormous. I’d already met him; while prepping he’d come by and I’d also talked to him on the phone and seeing what great shape he’s in I thought ‘I don’t think we need those wires. Let me just ask him.’ [Hurst] grabbed Matt, who plays Henry, and just ripped him out. So easy. For Ryan, he was like ‘Aren’t you going to hook him up to wires?’ and I said, ‘Just pull him out. It’s fine.’ And the cool thing is that the fear is real. Matt didn’t have to do any acting, because Henry had Matt’s true fear on his face."

Hurst, a Santa Monica native, has enjoyed a very productive career dating back to his first role in 1993, but it was his role as Opie in Sons of Anarchy that really launched him into the limelight. The beloved FX series ran from 2008-2012 and spawned a spinoff, Mayans M.C., which premiered in 2018.

He has appeared in quite a few memorable shows and movies including Remember the Titans, the miniseries Taken, Outsider and Bates Motel. But of course he must also be remembered for his first major role as Crunch Grabowski in 1993’s Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

Next. The Walking Dead: Get to know Cassady McClincy as Lydia. dark

“Guardians” is fans’ first chance to see Beta in action, but this is just the beginning as the Whisperers’ second in command continues to wreak havoc for the remainder of The Walking Dead season 9.