|Famous For: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Independence Day and Little Rascals||Currently Known For: Gnome Alone|
Currently Known For Gnome Alone
“As seen in The Little Rascals, Fresh Prince and the original Independence Day. Huge music head, die-hard Laker fan and from another breed representor!” Taking to Twitter to sum up his career in 140 characters or less, the 28-year-old Ross Bagley is ready to step back into the spotlight after pursuing his degree in cinema and television arts from California State University. Years before joining the ranks of CSU graduates, however, Bagley was known for his performance as the adorable Nicky Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and as the pickle-loving Buckwheat on The Little Rascals. Otay! So, what are his plans for the future and how does he plan on topping his early career especially after taking home three Young Artist Awards before his eighth birthday? We thought you’d never ask!
The eldest of three children born and raised in the Golden State, Ross Elliot Bagley came into this world on December 5, 1988 in Los Angeles, California. He was only six years old when he got his start as an actor and snagged the part of Buckwheat in the 1994 remake of The Little Rascals where his love of pickles and singing “I got a dollar hey, hey, hey, hey” made him a fan favorite alongside Spanky, Alfalfa and the rest of the He-Man Woman Haters Club. Then, after wrapping up filming for The Little Rascals and taking home a Young Artist Award for Best Performance by a Youth Ensemble, Bagley caught an even bigger break when producers from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air were looking for a “saving grace” in the form of a new cast member to boost the show’s falling ratings. In what’s known in Hollywood as “jumping the shark,” Bagley joined the cast opposite Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro and others to play the adorable Nicky Banks from 1994 to 1996.
“It was a huge blessing, Fresh Prince was and still is one of my favorite shows as a child, even way before I was on it. I remember when it used to come on Monday nights and I would watch it with my babysitter when I was a little tyke, so to be on it was surreal to say the least,” Bagley later said.
Earning two Young Artist Awards for his performance on The Fresh Prince, Bagley voiced the puppy in the 1995 comedy drama Babe and went on to join the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, in Independence Day in 1996. Cast as Dylan Dubrow, Bagley was only eight years old and didn’t think twice about Smith’s star power, which he later attributed to being so young. “My mom was always in my corner and seeing her in the background really helped to make me feel comfortable and confident when doing my scenes,” he said. “Plus, I was a little guy so I didn’t know much better.”
Earning a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance in Independence Day, Bagley appeared in an episode of Profiler and Providence before voicing Hutu in an episode of The Wild Thornberrys in 1999. Adding in a cameo on Judging Amy in 2004, Bagley was 16 years old and ready to focus on life outside of Hollywood as he stepped down from acting to finish his junior and senior years of high school. Graduating in 2005, he studied cinematic and television arts at California State University and was thrilled with the opportunity to live somewhat of a normal life as a college student.
“It’s been great, I can’t complain at all!” he said of taking a break from acting. “Luckily, I don’t validate myself by the amount of attention I get so I can’t say that there’s any void or empty space in my life since I haven’t been on television. I’ve got a wonderful girlfriend of a few years who holds me down and a team of family and friends who support me like none other, so I’m in a great place right now.”
Finishing up his time at California State and planning to use his degree to pursue his interests in producing, Bagley hasn’t ruled anything out and even returned to the silver screen in Gnome Alone in 2015. He also hopes to try his hands at comedy again especially now that he’s older “I’d love to be a part of a comedic ensemble. That is always a lot of fun and the environment on set is way more laid back and lighthearted, which always makes me feel extremely comfortable,” he says. And, while he’s grateful for the opportunity to work with stars like Will Smith, Ed Harris and Vivica A. Fox, he would love to work with Zach Galifinakis, Todd Phillips, Kevin Hart, Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino and Denzel Washington, to name a few.
Apart from his grand ambitions to collaborate with some of Hollywood’s finest, Bagley remains humble and focused on his career goals, which fans saw firsthand in 2016 when he turned down the chance to reprise his role as Dylan Dubrow in Independence Day: Resurgence to focus on his interests in producing. “The only way I can truly prepare for my future is by remembering to maintain the core values and principles that my family has instilled in me thus far,” he said. “I made a promise to myself a long time ago to never change my personality regardless of successes or lack thereof. My heavenly father has gotten me this far and I have no reason to expect him to stop now.”
Pushing forward, the former Little Rascals star embraces the good fortune he found in his early career as he continues to search for his next big project whether it takes him in front of or behind the camera. “I have a far greater appreciation for acting now,” he says. “It truly is an art form. It’s more about the subtleties of one’s expressions and inflections. There has to be a great balance of energy to make a good actor or actress, one step too over the top or one step shy of the energy needed can be the difference between a good actor and a bad one.” Certainly not a bad actor, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the 28-year-old Bagley!