Justin Pierce

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Justin Pierce
Born(1975-03-21)March 21, 1975
London, England
DiedJuly 10, 2000(2000-07-10) (aged 25)
NationalityAmerican-British
OccupationActor, skateboarder
Years active1995–2000
Known forKids, Next Friday
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Spouse(s)
Gina Rizzo
(m. 1999)

Justin Charles Pierce (March 21, 1975 – July 10, 2000) was an American-British actor and skateboarder who grew up in the U.S. He is best known for his roles as Casper in the 1995 film Kids and Roach in the 2000 film Next Friday. On July 10, 2000, Pierce died by suicide in Paradise, Nevada.[1]

Early life[edit]

Pierce was born in London, England to a Welsh mother and an American father and was brought up in the Marble Hill and Kingsbridge sections of New York City. Pierce's mother divorced his father when he was 15.[2]

After his parents' divorce, he began stealing cigarettes and food, and frequently missed school in favor of skateboarding. Pierce soon quit school and moved out, staying in a "warren of rooms" in a basement of a building on 176th Street, that was "teeming" with fellow skaters. Pierce was later arrested for possession of marijuana and heroin.[2][3]

Career[edit]

Pierce was a member of the original Zoo York skateboard team, and is featured in the Zoo York 'Mixtape' video (1998), magazines and adverts for the company.[4][5] He was also a member of the original Supreme Crew with fellow Zoo York team riders and close friends Harold Hunter and Peter Bici.

He appeared in the 1997 film A Brother's Kiss as the young Lex, played as an adult by Nick Chinlund. Pierce also appeared in television movies, including 1997's First Time Felon. He also starred alongside Ice Cube and Mike Epps in the film Next Friday as Roach. Pierce's last on-screen appearance was in the 2002 film Looking for Leonard, released after his death. The film was dedicated to his memory.

In his memory, Supreme have released featured images of his skateboarding (taken by photographer Ari Marcopoulos) in its clothing lines and publications. Promotional footage of Pierce and the Supreme Crew skateboarding has surfaced on the Supreme New York website [6] While skateboarding in Washington Square Park, Pierce was discovered by film director Larry Clark, who cast him in his controversial 1995 film Kids.[2] After the success of Kids, Pierce won an Independent Spirit Award for his portrayal of Casper, the profane and drug-addicted skateboarder friend of Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick), and relocated to Los Angeles.[2]

Personal life[edit]

In July 1999, Pierce married stylist Gina Rizzo in Las Vegas.[2]

Death[edit]

On July 10, 2000, Pierce was found hanging in his room at the Bellagio Hotel by hotel security. His death was determined to be a suicide.[1][7][8] Two suicide notes were reported to be found, which have not been released to the public.[9] The following day, a Catholic memorial service for Pierce was held at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral in Manhattan.[2] He is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Kids Casper
1996 Supreme Crew '96 Justin Pierce Skateboarding Video - Promo for Supreme New York
1997 A Brother's Kiss Young Lex
First Time Felon Eddie Television film
1998 Wild Horses Rookie Alternative title: Lunch Time Special
Myth America Toby
Freak Weather Pizza Guy
Zoo York Mix Tape Justin Pierce Skateboarding Video
1999 Too Pure Leo
Out in Fifty Freddy
Pigeonholed Devon
The Big Tease Skateboard Kid
2000 LA County Justin Pierce Skateboarding Video
This Is How the World Ends Zombie Television pilot
Next Friday Roach
Malcolm in the Middle Justin 2 episodes
King of the Jungle Lil' Mafia
BlackMale Luther Wright Alternative title: Blackmail
2002 Looking for Leonard Chevy filmed in 1997; Released posthumously

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Title of work Result
1996 Independent Spirit Awards Best Debut Performance Kids Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Justin Pierce, 25; Starred in 'Kids'". The New York Times. 13 July 2000.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Davis, Peter (1 October 2000). "Justin Pierce: The Lost Boy". papermag.com. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  3. ^ "'Kids,' Then and Now". New York Times. 21 July 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Zoo York - Mix Tape (1998) < Skately Library". skately.com. Archived from the original on 3 August 2019. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Zoo York Team Riders". Zoo York. Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Supreme Crew '96". www.supremenewyork.com. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Justin Pierce". Yahoo!. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  8. ^ "Where Are They Now? The Cast of Kids". Unreality Magazine. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  9. ^ Marie, Amy (26 August 2014). "The Life & Death of Justin Pierce".

External links[edit]