Jonathan Brandis

Jonathan Gregory Brandis (April 13, 1976 – November 12, 2003) was an American actor, director, and screenwriter.

Early life and career

Brandis was born in Danbury, Connecticut, the only child of Mary, a teacher and personal manager, and Gregory Brandis, a food distributor and firefighter.[1] He began his career as a child model and began acting in television commercials.[2][3] Brandis landed a recurring role on One Life to Live when he was six years old. 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, Full House and Kate & Allie.[4]

At the age of fourteen, he received his first starring role in The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter as Bastian Bux, a young boy who returns to a world of wonder on the wings of his imagination. That same year, Brandis played the young "Stuttering Bill" Denbrough, the main character in the 1990 miniseries Stephen King's It, based on the epic horror novel by Stephen King. Following this, Brandis appeared in Sidekicks co-starring Chuck Norris and Ladybugs with actor/comedian Rodney Dangerfield. Around the age of seventeen, 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.[5] During the run of seaQuest DSV, he also voiced Mozenrath, a young evil sorcerer and necromancer in Disney's animated series Aladdin.[6]

In addition to acting, Brandis also directed several independent films and authored screenplays.[3] During his stint on seaQuest DSV, he co-wrote an episode of the series entitled "The Siamese Dream".[7] He also produced and directed the short film The Slainville Boys, shortly before his death.[8]

Personal life

Brandis dated actress/singer Tatyana Ali from 1995[9] until 1998.[10]


On November 11, 2003, Brandis died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from injuries he suffered after he hanged himself.[11] He was 27 years old. The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement regarding his death:

On November 11, 2003, at about 11:40 p.m., a friend of Jonathan Brandis called police to report that the actor had attempted suicide at his apartment, located in the 600 block of Detroit Avenue. Paramedics from the Los Angeles Fire department responded and transported Brandis to Cedars Sinai Medical Center where he eventually died from his injuries. Brandis's death was announced by hospital staff on November 12, 2003, at about 2:45 p.m.[12]

Brandis did not leave a suicide note, although friends were quoted as saying he was depressed about his career, which had slowly declined in recent years. One friend admitted that Brandis drank heavily, and had even mentioned that he might commit suicide. He was also said to be upset when his appearance in Hart's War, a role he hoped would be his comeback, was cut from the film.[13]

Following Brandis's death, Paul Petersen, 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."[14]

Film and television credits

Year Title Role Notes
1987 Fatal Attraction Party Guest
1988 Wrong Guys, TheThe Wrong Guys Kid Tim
1988 Oliver & Company Additional voices
1989 Stepfather II Todd Grayland
1990 Ghost Dad Additional voices
1990 NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, TheThe NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter Bastian Bux
1990 It Young Bill Denbrough
1992 Ladybugs Matthew/Martha
1992 Sidekicks Barry Gabrewski
1998 Between the Sheets Robert Avacado
1998 Aladdin's Arabian Adventures: Magic Makers Mozenrath Voice
1999 Outside Providence Mousy
1999 Ride with the Devil Cave Wyatt
2002 Hart's War Pvt. Lewis P. Wakely Scenes deleted
2002 Year That Trembled, TheThe Year That Trembled Casey Pedersen
2004 Puerto Vallarta Squeeze Neil Weatherford Released posthumously
2004 Slainesville Boys, TheThe Slainesville Boys Director/Producer
Released posthumously
2005 Bad Girls From Valley High Drew Alternative title: A Fate Totally Worse Than Death
Released posthumously
Year Title Role Notes
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 Jonathan Television special
1986 Sledge Hammer! Young Sledge Episode: "They Shoot Hammers, Don't They?"
1987 Good Morning, Miss Bliss Michael Thompson Pilot
1987 L.A. Law Kevin Talbot Episodes: "The Wizard of Odds"
"Cannon of Ethics"
1987 Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story Lance Reventlow (Age 11) Television movie
1988 Mars: Base One Television movie
1988 Webster Bobby Episode: "Take My Cousin, Please"
1989 Full House Michael Montfort Episode: "A Little Romance"
1989 Who's the Boss? Paul Episode: "Your Grandmother's a Bimbo"
1990 Murder, She Wrote Kevin Bryce Episode: "If the Shoe Fits"
1990 Alien Nation Andron Episode: "The Touch"
1990 Munsters Today, TheThe Munsters Today Matt Glover Episode: "The Silver Bullet"
1990 Flash, TheThe Flash Terry Cohan Episode: "Child's Play"
1990 It Bill Denbrough (Age 12) Miniseries
1991 Gabriel's Fire Matthew Fixx Episode: "Truth and Consequences"
1991 Wonder Years, TheThe Wonder Years Steve Episode: "The Yearbook"
1991 Our Shining Moment Michael "Scooter" McGuire Television movie
1991 Blossom Stevie Episode: "To Tell the Truth"
1991 Pros and Cons Danny Episode: "Once a Kid"
1992 Crossroads Michael Stahl Episode: "Freedom of the Road"
1993 Saved by the Bell: The College Years Himself Episode: "A Thanksgiving Story"
seaQuest DSV Lucas Wolenczak 57 episodes
1994 Good King Wenceslas Prince Wenceslas Television movie
Aladdin Mozenrath (Voice) 8 episodes
1996 Her Last Chance Preston Altherton Television movie
1996 Born Free: A New Adventure Randal "Rand" Everett Thompson Television movie
1996 Fall Into Darkness Chad Television movie
1997 Two Came Back Jason Television movie
2003 111 Gramercy Park Will Karnegian Unsold pilot

Awards and nominations

Awards and nominations
Year Award Category Title of work Result
1991 Young Artist Award Best Young Actor Guest Starring in a Television Series Flash, TheThe Flash Nominated
1992 Young Artist Award Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, TheThe NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter Nominated
1993 Young Artist Award Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture Lady Bugs (Shared with cast) Nominated
1993 Young Artist Award Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture Lady Bugs Nominated
1994 Young Artist Award Best Youth Actor Leading Role in a Television Series seaQuest DSV Won
1995 Young Artist Award Best Performance by a Youth Actor in a TV Mini-Series or Special Good King Wenceslas Nominated
1992 Saturn Award Best Performance by a Younger Actor NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, TheThe NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter Nominated


  1. "Jonathan Brandis Biography (1976–)". 1976-04-13. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  2. McLellan, Dennis (2003-11-21). "Actor Jonathan Brandis dies at 27". Los Angeles Times.  |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  3. 3.03.1 Gould, Joe (2004-01-18). "Fans Weep For Danbury Star Whose Suicide Ended Career". Danbury News-Times.  |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. "'SeaQuest DSV' actor Brandis dead at 21". 2003-11-23. Archived from the original on December 11, 2003. Retrieved 2003-05-24. 
  5. Benton, Nicholas F. (2003-12-04). "From Heartthrob to Heartache: The Suicide of a Former Teen Idol". Falls Church News-Press.  |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  6. Ortega, Albert (2003-11-24). "Teen idol Jonathan Brandis dies at 27". Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  7. The Siamese Dream at the Internet Movie Database
  8. The Slainville Boys at the Internet Movie Database
  9. Jewel, Dan (1996-07-08). "Young Love". People. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  10. "Tatyana Ali Biography". Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  11. "Ten actors who died in their 20s". 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  12. "Los Angeles Police Department: News Release". 2003-11-20. 
  13. "A Teen Heartthrob Takes His Life". People. 2003-12-06.  |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  14. "Jonathan Brandis' Death a Suicide". 2003-11-20. 
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