Brandis in 1993
|Born||Jonathan Gregory Brandis
April 13, 1976
Danbury, Connecticut, U.S.
|Died||November 12, 2003
Los Angeles, California
|Cause of death||Suicide by hanging|
|Occupation||Actor, director, screenwriter|
|Awards||Young Artist Award (1994) for seaQuest DSV|
Jonathan Gregory Brandis (April 13, 1976 – November 12, 2003) was an American actor, director, and screenwriter.
Beginning his career as a child model, Brandis moved on to acting in commercials and subsequently won television and film roles. Brandis made his acting debut in 1982 with a guest role on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live. Later in 1990, at the age of 14, he became widely known for his leading role on the Stephen King's supernatural horror miniseries IT. Then, at the age of 17, he landed the role of Lucas Wolenczak, a teen prodigy on the NBC series seaQuest DSV. The character was popular among teenage female viewers, and Brandis regularly appeared in teen magazines.
On November 12, 2003, Brandis died after hanging himself at the age of 27.
Brandis was born in Danbury, Connecticut. He was the only child of Mary, a teacher and personal manager, and Gregory Brandis, a food distributor and firefighter. He began his career as a child model at the age of 4, and began acting in television commercials.
At the age of six, Brandis won the role of Kevin Buchanan on the soap opera One Life to Live. He moved to Los Angeles with his family at age nine, and made guest appearances on shows such as L.A. Law, Who's the Boss?, Murder, She Wrote, The Wonder Years, Full House and Kate & Allie.
At the age of fourteen, he received his first starring role, as Bastian Bux in The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. That same year, Brandis played the young "Stuttering Bill" Denbrough, the main protagonist in the 1990 film Stephen King's It, alongside Tim Curry, based on the epic horror novel of the same name. Brandis' performance in the film was lauded by critics and audiences. Brandis then appeared in Sidekicks, costarring Chuck Norris, and in Ladybugs, with actor/comedian Rodney Dangerfield.
Around the age of 17, Brandis landed one of his best-known roles, as scientific prodigy Lucas Wolenczak in Steven Spielberg's futuristic science fiction series seaQuest DSV. The role propelled him into teen idol status. At the height of his popularity, Brandis received approximately 4,000 fan letters a week and had to be escorted onto the set of seaQuest DSV by three studio security guards because of the many female fans present. During his stint on seaQuest DSV, he co-wrote and produced an episode of the series titled "The Siamese Dream". He also voiced Mozenrath, an evil young sorcerer and necromancer, in Disney's animated series Aladdin.
After seaQuest DSV was canceled in 1996, Brandis appeared in the television film Her Last Chance, starring Kellie Martin. His next role was in the television film Born Free: A New Adventure. Shot in South Africa, the film also starred Chris Noth as Brandis's character's father. He continued his career in supporting roles in Outside Providence (1999), and Ride with the Devil (1999). In 2000, he costarred in Bad Girls from Valley High, which, because of distribution problems, was not released until 2005. In 2002, Brandis had a small role in Hart's War (2002). The following year, he was cast in 111 Gramercy Park, a pilot for ABC that was not picked up by the network. He made his final onscreen appearance in Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, starring Harvey Keitel and Scott Glenn. That film was also released after his death.
Shortly before midnight on November 11, 2003, Brandis hanged himself in the hallway of his Los Angeles apartment building. He was discovered by friends who called paramedics who transported the actor to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Brandis died there on the afternoon of November 12 from injuries he sustained from the hanging.
Brandis did not leave a suicide note. After his death, friends said that he was depressed about his waning career, which had continued to decline in the final years of his life. He was also reportedly disappointed when his appearance in the 2002 war drama Hart's War, a role he had hoped would revive his career, was significantly reduced in the film's final cut. One friend admitted to People magazine that Brandis had begun drinking heavily and had said that he intended to kill himself.
Paul Petersen, a former child actor and president of A Minor Consideration—an organization that deals with issues affecting child actors—stated: "Speculations as to the underlying cause of this tragedy are exactly that: speculations. It serves no purpose to leap to conclusions for none of us will really know what led Jonathan to his decision to take his life."
|1987||Fatal Attraction||Party guest|
|1988||The Wrong Guys||Kid Tim|
|1988||Oliver & Company||Additional voice|
|1989||Pet Sematary||Voice-over at beginning of film|
|1989||Stepfather II||Todd Grayland|
|1990||Ghost Dad||Additional voices|
|1990||Stephen King's It||(Young) Bill Denbrough|
|1990||NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, TheThe NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter||Bastian Bux|
|1994||Dumb and Dumber||Nick (Commercial character)||Uncredited|
|1998||Aladdin's Arabian Adventures: Magic Makers||Mozenrath (voice)||Direct-to-video release|
|1999||Ride with the Devil||Cave Wyatt|
|2002||Hart's War||Pvt. Lewis P. Wakely||Scenes deleted|
|2002||The Year That Trembled||Casey Pedersen|
|2003||Between the Sheets||Robert Avocado|
|2004||Puerto Vallarta Squeeze||Neil Weatherford||Filmed in 2002; Released posthumously|
|2004||The Slainesville Boys||Director, producer; filmed in 2001 (released posthumously)|
|2005||Bad Girls From Valley High||Drew||Filmed in 2000; Released posthumously|
|1982||One Life to Live||Young Kevin Riley Buchanan||Unknown episodes|
|1984||Kate & Allie||Chip's Friend||Episode: "Odd Boy Out"|
|1986||Mystery Magical Special||Himself||Special|
|1986||Sledge Hammer!||Young Sledge||Episode: "They Shoot Hammers, Don't They?"|
|1987||Good Morning, Miss Bliss||Michael Thompson||Pilot|
|1987||Buck James||Episode: "Sin of the Father"|
|1987||L.A. Law||Kevin Talbot||2 episodes|
|1987||Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story||Lance Reventlow (Age 11)||TV movie|
|1988||Mars: Base One||Movie|
|1988||Webster||Bobby||Episode: "Take My Cousin, Please"|
|1989||Full House||Michael Monford||Episode: "A Little Romance"|
|1989||Who's the Boss?||Paul||Episode: "Your Grandmother's a Bimbo"|
|1990||It||Bill Denbrough (Age 12)||Miniseries|
|1990||Murder, She Wrote||Kevin Bryce||Episode: "If the Shoe Fits"|
|1990||Alien Nation||Andron||Episode: "The Touch"|
|1990||The Munsters Today||Matt Glover||Episode: "The Silver Bullet"|
|1990||The Flash||Terry Cohan||Episode: "Child's Play"|
|1990||The Earth Day Special||Himself|
|1991||Our Shining Moment||Michael 'Scooter' McGuire|
|1991||Gabriel's Fire||Matthew Fixx||Episode: "Truth and Consequences"|
|1991||The Wonder Years||Steve||Episode: "The Yearbook"|
|1991||Blossom||Stevie||Episode: "To Tell the Truth"|
|1991||Pros and Cons||Danny||Episode: "Once a Kid"|
|1992||Do Not Bring That Python in the House||Gabriel Miller||Movie|
|1992||Crossroads||Michael Stahl||Episode: "Freedom of the Road"|
|1993–96||seaQuest DSV||Lucas Wolenczak||57 episodes|
|1993||Saved By The Bell: The College Years||Himself||Episode: "A Thanksgiving Story"|
|1994||Good King Wenceslas||Prince Wenceslas||Television movie|
|1994–95||Aladdin||Mozenrath (voice)||8 episodes|
|1996||Her Last Chance||Preston Altherton||Movie|
|1996||Born Free: A New Adventure||Randolph "Rand" Thompson||Movie|
|1996||Fall into Darkness||Chad||Movie|
|1997||Two Came Back||Jason||Movie|
|2003||111 Gramercy Park||Will Karnegian||Unsold pilot|
Awards and nominations
|Year||Association||Category||Title of work||Result|
|1990||Young Artist Awards||Best Young Actor Guest Starring in a Television Series||The Flash||Nominated|
|1991||Young Artist Awards||Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture||The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter||Nominated|
|1992||Saturn Awards||Best Performance by a Younger Actor||NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, TheThe NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter||Nominated|
|1993||Young Artist Awards||Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture||Lady Bugs (shared with cast)||Nominated|
|1993||Young Artist Awards||Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture||Lady Bugs||Nominated|
|1994||Young Artist Awards||Best Youth Actor Leading Role in a Television Series||seaQuest DSV||Won|
|1995||Young Artist Awards||Best Performance by a Youth Actor in a TV Mini-Series or Special||Good King Wenceslas||Nominated|
- McLellan, Dennis (November 22, 2003). "Jonathan Brandis, Actor, Teen Idol". Sun-Sentinel. Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- Gould, Joe (January 18, 2004). "Fans Weep For Danbury Star Whose Suicide Ended Career". Danbury News-Times.[page needed]
- "'SeaQuest DSV' actor Brandis dead at 27". CNN. November 23, 2003. Archived from the original on December 11, 2003. Retrieved May 24, 2003.
- Benton, Nicholas F. (December 4, 2003). "From Heartthrob to Heartache: The Suicide of a Former Teen Idol". Falls Church News-Press.[page needed]
- The Siamese Dream at the Internet Movie Database
- Ortega, Albert (November 24, 2003). "Teen idol Jonathan Brandis dies at 27". USAToday. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
- Mangan, Jennifer (April 28, 1996). "Act Two Scene One". The Item. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
- Heldenfels, R.D. (April 25, 1996). "Jonathan Brandis Acting His Age". The Free Lance-Star. p. D6. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
- The Slainville Boys at the Internet Movie Database
- "Actor Jonathan Brandis: Suicide Investigation" (Press release). Los Angeles Police Department. November 20, 2003.
- "Ten actors who died in their 20s". Sydney Morning Herald. January 23, 2008. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
- "Teen idol Jonathan Brandis dies at 27". USA Today. November 21, 2003.
- "A Teen Heartthrob Takes His Life". People. December 6, 2003. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
- "Jonathan Brandis's Death a Suicide". E! Online. November 20, 2003. Retrieved May 24, 2008.