Who was Jonathan Brandis?
Jonathan Brandis was an American actor and a very popular face on television owing to his appearances in several television shows and commercials. He was best known for his famous portrayal of ‘Bill Denbrough’ in ‘It’, an American supernatural horror drama based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. He began his career as a child model working in several commercials and soon ventured into acting as well. After making his debut in the show business playing the character of ‘Kevin Buchanan’ in ABC’s soap opera ‘One Life to Live’, he went on to play other important roles like ‘Bastian Bux’ in the German-American fantasy film ‘The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter’. In the ensuing years he acted in several television shows, telefilms, and movies. However, his career started failing in the late 1990s following which he became depressed and killed himself. He was just 27 at the time of his untimely death.
Jonathan Brandis started his career at a very young age working in several commercials of top brands. After becoming a familiar face, he bagged the role of ‘Young Kevin Riley Buchanan’ in ‘One Life to Live’, an American soap opera broadcast on the ABC television network. After the successful launch of his acting career, he moved to Los Angeles with his family at the age of nine. Thereafter, he made several guest appearances in shows like ‘Kate & Allie’, ‘Buck James’, ‘L.A. Law’, ‘Webster’, and ‘Who's the Boss?’
He appeared in the 1990 American supernatural horror drama ‘It’, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. Brandis portrayed the character of 12-year-old ‘Bill Denbrough’ in that miniseries that also featured popular artists like Richard Thomas, John Ritter, Dennis Christopher, Annette O'Toole, Harry Anderson, Tim Reid and Richard Masur. The same year, he was picked for the role of ‘Bastian Bux’ in the German-American fantasy film ‘The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter’ (the sequel to ‘The NeverEnding Story’). Later in 1992, he appeared in films like ‘Ladybugs’ and ‘Sidekicks’, acting alongside iconic actors like Rodney Dangerfield and Chuck Norris respectively.
It was at the age of seventeen that Brandis got his biggest break and played the most important role of his acting career. He was chosen for the role of ‘Lucas Wolenczak’ in ‘SeaQuest DSV’. The American science fiction television series was created by Rockne S. O'Bannon and was co-produced by Steven Spielberg for the first two seasons. Brandis was part of the show for its entire duration, playing the scientific prodigy ‘Lucas Wolenczak’ in 57 episodes and winning many hearts among the audiences.
In the next decade Brandis appeared in several films and televisions shows, including ‘Her Last Chance’ as ‘Preston Atherton’, ‘Born Free: A New Adventure’ as ‘Randolph "Rand" Thompson’, ‘Outside Providence’ as ‘Mousy’, ‘Ride with the Devil’ as ‘’ Cave Wyatt’, and ‘Puerto Vallarta Squeeze’ as ‘Neil Weatherford’ (released posthumously). He was also known for writing scripts and directing several independent films during his career.
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Jonathan Gregory Brandis was born in Danbury, Connecticut, on April 13, 1976 to Mary Brandis, a school teacher by profession, and Gregory Brandis, a food distributor and firefighter. Brandis went to Valley Professional School, from where he graduated in 1993 and started working on television. He dated actress and singer Tatyana Ali for a period of three years between 1995 and 1998. The couple was also featured in an article in ‘People’ magazine.
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Brandis’ career started to decline and despite his best efforts, he was unable to bring it back on track. This resulted in his descent into chronic depression and on November 11, 2003, he hanged himself in the hallway of his Los Angeles apartment. The police did not find any suicide note when they discovered him hanging. The paramedics took him to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he died in the early hours of November 12.