Jonathan Gregory Brandis
April 13, 1976
Danbury, Connecticut, U.S.
|Died||November 12, 2003 (aged 27)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Suicide by hanging|
|Education||San Fernando Valley Professional School|
|Awards||Young Artist Award (1994) for seaQuest DSV|
Jonathan Gregory Brandis (April 13, 1976 – November 12, 2003) was an American actor. 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 as Kevin Buchanan on the soap opera One Life to Live. In 1990, he portrayed Bill Denbrough in the television miniseries It. Also in 1990, he starred as Bastian Bux in The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. In 1993, at the age of 17, he was cast in the role of teen prodigy Lucas Wolenczak on the NBC series seaQuest DSV. The character was popular among teenage viewers, and Brandis regularly appeared in teen magazines. Brandis died by suicide in 2003 following a period of heavy drinking and career setbacks.
Jonathan Brandis was born in Danbury, Connecticut, the only child of Mary, a teacher and personal manager, and Gregory Brandis, a food distributor and firefighter. At the age of two, he began his career as a child model for Buster Brown shoes. At the age of four, Brandis began acting in television commercials. He attended San Fernando Valley Professional School, graduating in 1993.
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 Blossom; L.A. Law; Who's the Boss?; Murder, She Wrote; The Wonder Years; Full House and Kate & Allie.
At the age of 13, Brandis was cast in his first starring role as Bastian Bux in The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. He played the young "Stuttering Bill" Denbrough in the 1990 television miniseries Stephen King's It, based on the epic horror novel of the same name. Brandis' performance in the miniseries was lauded by critics and audiences. Brandis was cast as the lead in two movies made close together, first as Barry Gabrewski in Sidekicks and then starring as Matthew/Martha in Ladybugs.
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. He 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. His next role was in the television film Born Free: A New Adventure, which was shot in South Africa. 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, after his death. Brandis had a small role in Hart's War (2002). In 2003, he was cast in 111 Gramercy Park, a pilot that was not picked up by the network. He made his final onscreen appearance in action drama Puerto Vallarta Squeeze. That film was also released posthumously.
On November 11, 2003, Brandis was found hanged in the hallway of his Los Angeles apartment. He was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and died the following day of injuries sustained from the hanging. He was 27 years old.
Brandis did not leave a suicide note. After his death, friends reported that he had been depressed about his waning career and was reportedly disappointed when his appearance in the 2002 war drama Hart's War, a role he hoped would revive his career, was significantly reduced in the film's final cut. Brandis began drinking heavily and said that he intended to kill himself.
|1988||Oliver & Company||Additional voice|
|1988||The Wrong Guys||Kid Tim|
|1989||Pet Sematary||Voice-over at beginning of film|
|1989||Stepfather II||Todd Grayland|
|1990||Ghost Dad||Additional voices|
|1990||The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter||Bastian Bux|
|1994||Dumb and Dumber||Nick (commercial character)||Uncredited|
|1996||Born Free: A New Adventure||Randolph Thompson|
|1998||Aladdin's Arabian Adventures: Magic Makers||Mozenrath (voice)||Direct-to-video release|
|1999||Ride with the Devil||Cave Wyatt|
|2002||Hart's War||Lewis P. Wakely||Scenes deleted|
|2002||The Year That Trembled||Casey Pedersen|
|2003||Between the Sheets||Robert Avocado|
|2004||Puerto Vallarta Squeeze||Neil Weatherford||Released posthumously|
|2004||The Slainesville Boys||Director, producer; released posthumously|
|2005||Bad Girls from Valley High||Drew||Filmed in 2000; released posthumously|
|2021||Kid 90||Himself||Documentary; released posthumously|
|1982–1983||One Life to Live||Kevin 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||Buck James||Episode: "Sin of the Father"|
|1987||Duet||Danny||Episode: "Jane's Getting Serious"|
|1987||Good Morning, Miss Bliss||Michael Thompson||Pilot|
|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||Alien Nation||Andron||Episode: "The Touch"|
|1990||The Earth Day Special||Himself|
|1990||The Flash||Terry Cohan||Episode: "Child's Play"|
|1990||It||Young Bill Denbrough||Miniseries|
|1990||The Munsters Today||Matt Glover||Episode: "The Silver Bullet"|
|1990||Murder, She Wrote||Kevin Bryce||Episode: "If the Shoe Fits"|
|1991||Blossom||Stevie||Episode: "To Tell the Truth"|
|1991||Gabriel's Fire||Matthew Fixx||Episode: "Truth and Consequences"|
|1991||Our Shining Moment||Michael "Scooter" McGuire||TV film|
|1991||Pros and Cons||Danny||Episode: "Once a Kid"|
|1991||The Wonder Years||Steve||Episode: "The Yearbook"|
|1992||Crossroads||Michael Stahl||Episode: "Freedom of the Road"|
|1992||Do Not Bring That Python in the House||Gabriel Miller||Movie|
|1992||Cap'n Crunch||Himself||TV commercial|
|1993||Saved By The Bell: The College Years||Himself||Episode: "A Thanksgiving Story"|
|1993–1996||seaQuest DSV||Lucas Wolenczak||57 episodes|
|1994||Good King Wenceslas||Prince Wenceslas||Television movie|
|1994||Masters Of Illusion||Himself||documentary|
|1994–1995||Aladdin||Mozenrath (voice)||8 episodes|
|1996||Born Free: A New Adventure||Randolph "Rand" Thompson||Movie|
|1996||Fall into Darkness||Chad||Movie|
|1996||Her Last Chance||Preston Altherton||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||The 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|
- Gliatto, Tom (August 29, 1994). "Jonathan Brandis". People.
- McLellan, Dennis (November 22, 2003). "Jonathan Brandis, Actor, Teen Idol". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved June 19, 2012 – via Sun-Sentinel (sun-sentinel.com).
- Gould, Joe (January 18, 2004). "Fans Weep For Danbury Star Whose Suicide Ended Career". Danbury News-Times.
- "'SeaQuest DSV' actor Brandis dead at 27". CNN. November 23, 2003. Archived from the original on December 11, 2003.
- Benton, Nicholas F. (December 4, 2003). "From Heartthrob to Heartache: The Suicide of a Former Teen Idol". Falls Church News-Press.[page needed]
- 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.
- Jewel, Dan (July 8, 1996). "Young Love". People.
- "Actor Jonathan Brandis: Suicide Investigation". Los Angeles Police Department (Press release). November 20, 2003.
- "Teen idol Jonathan Brandis dies at 27". USA Today. Associated Press. November 21, 2003. Archived from the original on June 30, 2004.
- Haberman, Lia (November 20, 2003). "Jonathan Brandis's Death a Suicide". E! Online. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
- "A Teen Heartthrob Takes His Life". People. December 8, 2003. Archived from the original on June 4, 2009.