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Lee Thompson Young

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Lee Thompson Young
Born(1984-02-01)February 1, 1984
DiedAugust 19, 2013(2013-08-19) (aged 29)
Resting placeLakeview Memorial Gardens, York, South Carolina
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
Years active1998–2013

Lee Thompson Young (February 1, 1984 – August 19, 2013) was an American actor who began his career as a teenager, playing the titular character on the Disney Channel television series The Famous Jett Jackson (1998–2001). As an adult, major roles included playing Chris Comer in the movie Friday Night Lights (2004) and Boston police detective Barry Frost on the TNT police drama series Rizzoli & Isles (2010–14).

Early life

Young was born in Columbia, South Carolina, the son of Velma Elaine (née Love) and Tommy Scott Young.[1][2] He was in the second grade when his parents' marriage ended, and he went to live with his mother. At age ten, he portrayed Martin Luther King Jr. in a play called A Night of Stars and Dreams by Dwight Woods at the Phillis Wheatley Repertory Theater of Greenville, South Carolina.[3] It was then that Young decided he wanted to become an actor.


Young moved to New York City in June 1996, but it was not until the next year that he auditioned for the part of Jett Jackson in The Famous Jett Jackson. He filmed the pilot and found out in June 1998 that the Disney Channel had picked up the show; it would go on to become a Disney Channel Original Movie in June 2001. Young also starred in Johnny Tsunami (1999), another Disney Channel Original Movie, as Sam Sterling. Although the movie was successful, he did not reprise the role in the sequel, Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board (2007).

After the cancellation of The Famous Jett Jackson, Young had guest spots in the CBS series The Guardian. He also had a part in the movie Friday Night Lights (2004), portraying Chris Comer, and a part in the Jamie Foxx movie Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story (2004). Lee appeared on UPN's TV drama series South Beach, and he portrayed Victor Stone (known in DC Comics as Cyborg) in a fifth-season episode of the television series Smallville, in 2006; he reprised the character in the Season Six episode "Justice" (airdate January 18, 2007), and in the Season Nine finale "Salvation" (airdate May 14, 2010).

Young appeared in the feature film Akeelah and the Bee (2006), playing Akeelah's brother Devon. He played National Guard rookie Delmar in The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007). In 2009, Young played a cocky surgical intern in the hit comedy show Scrubs. It is revealed that his character had been overweight during childhood. The character becomes involved in a romance with one of the medical interns.

Young played the role of Al Gough, an FBI agent, in the ABC television drama FlashForward. He was written off the show in episode 7, when his character committed suicide to prevent the death of an innocent civilian.

He made an appearance on the Fox drama The Good Guys as the brother and business partner of an arms dealer. His last acting role was playing Barry Frost, partner of Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) on the TNT drama Rizzoli & Isles.

Personal life

Young graduated with honors from the University of Southern California, where he majored in cinematic arts and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. Young enjoyed writing and wrote the screenplay for the 2007 short film Mano.[4]


On August 19, 2013, Young failed to show up to film an episode of Rizzoli & Isles.[5] Police were called to do a wellbeing check on him at his Los Angeles apartment, where he was found dead.[1] His manager stated that the actor died by suicide.[6][7] Police confirmed the cause of death as a self-inflicted gunshot wound.[8] Young had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, for which he had been taking medication, and had been suffering from depression before his death.[9]

After funeral services at Inglewood Park Cemetery, Young was interred at Lakeview Memorial Garden, York, South Carolina.[10] A memorial service was held on the Paramount Studios lot.[11]

Young's family launched the Lee Thompson Young Foundation in an effort to help remove the stigma surrounding mental illness.[12]


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Friday Night Lights Chris Comer
2006 Akeelah and the Bee Devon Anderson
2007 The Hills Have Eyes 2 Delmar
2007 Mano Machito Short film
2010 Bastard Passenger 1 Short film
2012 Just an American Curtiss Jackson final role
Year Title Role Notes
1998–2001 The Famous Jett Jackson Jett Jackson / Silverstone Lead role (65 episodes)
1999 Johnny Tsunami Sam Sterling Movie
2001 Jett Jackson: The Movie Jett Jackson / Silverstone Movie
2002 Philly Steven Hicks Episode: "There's No Business Like No Business"
2002 The Guardian Levi Mooney 5 episodes
2003 Jake 2.0 Prince Malik Namir Episode: "The Prince and the Revolution"
2003 The Jersey Himself Episode: "Origins: Part 2"
2004 Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story Charles Becnel Movie
2004 The Proud Family Teen Bebe (voice) Episode: "Twins to Tweens"
2004–2005 Xiaolin Showdown Jermaine (voice) 2 episodes
2005 Kevin Hill Levi Episode: "Homeland Insecurity"
2006 South Beach Alex Bauer 5 episodes
Smallville Victor Stone/Cyborg 3 episodes
2008 Five Year Plan Mutabi Movie
2008 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Agent Stewart Episode: "Heavy Metal"
2009 Scrubs Derek 3 episodes
2009 Lincoln Heights Julian Episode: "Bully for You"
2009–2010 FlashForward Al Gough 8 episodes
2010 The Good Guys Eric Williams Episode: "Small Rooms"
2010–2014 Rizzoli & Isles Det. Barry Frost Main role (56 episodes)
2010 The Event Corporal Bell 2 episodes
2012 CSI: NY Kelvin Moore Episode: "Unwrapped"


Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1999 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Drama or Comedy Series – Leading Young Actor The Famous Jett Jackson Nominated
2000 Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series – Leading Young Actor Nominated
2001 Best Performance in a TV Drama Series – Leading Young Actor Nominated
Gemini Awards Best Performance in a Children's or Youth Program or Series Nominated


  1. ^ a b Holleman, Joey (August 19, 2013). "Columbia native turned TV star takes own life". The State. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  2. ^ "Lee Thompson Young Biography (1984-)". Film Reference. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  3. ^ "Lee Thompson Young: Brilliant young actor and a gentle soul". The Sydney Morning Herald. August 20, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  4. ^ "Mano (2008), a film by Brad Tiemann". Cinema.theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  5. ^ Elber, Lynn (August 19, 2013). "Actor Lee Thompson Young found dead at age 29". The Las Vegas Sun.
  6. ^ "Lee Thompson Young Ex-Disney Superstar Dead". TMZ. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  7. ^ Freydkin, Donna (August 19, 2013). "Lee Thompson Young found dead". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  8. ^ Woo, Kelly (August 19, 2013). "Former Disney Channel Star Lee Thompson Young Found Dead". Yahoo!. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  9. ^ Nancy Dillon (October 8, 2013). "Lee Thompson Young suffered from bipolar disorder before suicide: coroner's report". The New York Daily News.
  10. ^ Johnson, Zach (September 4, 2013). "Lee Thompson Young's Death Certificate Released, Suicide Confirmed". E!.
  11. ^ "Angie Harmon in Tears at Lee Thompson Young Memorial". August 24, 2013.
  12. ^ "Family breaks silence on actor Lee Thompson Young's suicide". wistv.com. Franklin Media and WISTV. February 2, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2016.