We have sad news today, as Deadline reports actor Lee Thompson Young, co-star of “Rizzoli & Isles,” took his own life this morning. He was 29 years old.
Young got his start playing the title character on the Disney Channel’s first original series “The Famous Jett Jackson” before appearing in shows like “Smallville,” “FlashForward,” and “Scrubs” as well as films like Friday Night Lights, Akeelah and the Bee, and The Hills Have Eyes II.
Production on TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles” took place on the Paramount lot. I used to work at the studio, and on one occasion, Young had a couple of friends come in town to visit, so I ended up giving the three of them a private tour of the studio. He was very soft-spoken and kind; he had no clue I was a fan of his, but he went out of his way to ask me if I liked working at Paramount, what my interests were, where I was from – nothing major, but there are plenty of actors who would have completely ignored me. As the tour ended, I revealed that I was a big fan of his work on “Jett Jackson” and that his show was one of my favorite things to watch when I was growing up. I got the impression not that many people talked to him about that series anymore, but when I mentioned it, he immediately perked up, said thanks, and shook my hand. I’m so sad the world will never get to see anything more from him.
Before Shawn Levy started directed Hollywood films like Real Steel and Night at the Museum, he cut his teeth working on kids shows like “The Secret World of Alex Mack,” “Animorphs,” and “Jett Jackson.” Levy had this to say when he found out about Young’s passing this morning:
“I am stunned and truly saddened by the news of Lee’s passing,” Levy said. “I met Lee when he was 13 years old. He came in and auditioned for the pilot of Disney Channel’s The Famous Jett Jackson. I can still vividly recall the dynamism and presence of this golden kid, who came in so full of talent and confidence and light. I spent several years working with Lee on our series, during which time we collaborated closely and began our careers. Lee was an amazing actor, an incredible, driven athlete, a voracious student, both in school and out, a loving and loyal son and a great and treasured friend to me and the many other people whose lives he entered. There’s no telling what great things he would have accomplished, onscreen and off, and it’s heartbreaking that now we will never know.”
Rest in Peace, Lee. It was an honor to meet you.
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