Justin Charles Pierce was a British actor and a former member of the original Zoo York skateboard team. He was featured in multiple skateboarding videos, including a promotional video for Supreme New York group. He was also featured in the Zoo York ‘mixtape’ video in his short-lived career. Pierce appeared in the popular independent coming-of-age film ‘Kids’ in 1995, for which he received an Independent Spirit Award in the Best Debut Performance category. He had also appeared in other films like ‘A Brother's Kiss’, ‘Next Friday’, and ‘King of the Jungle’. Justin Pierce’s personal life was a troubled one. His parents divorced when he was young and following their breakup, he fell into bad company and took to petty crimes. Even though he eventually managed to venture into the entertainment industry and was on the way to rebuilding his life, he continued to be haunted by his troubled past. He committed suicide when he was just 25 years old.
Justin Pierce started his career as a young talented skateboarder and was featured in the controversial film ‘Kids’ in 1995. He was one of the lead characters in the American independent coming-of-age film alongside Leo Fitzpatrick, Chloë Sevigny, Rosario Dawson, Harold Hunter, and Jon Abrahams. His character, ‘Casper’, was a drug addicted teenager who also indulges in various acts like shoplifting and unsafe sex. Pierce, along with other lead characters, gave very strong performances in the film. As a result, he won the 1995 Independent Spirit Award for the Best Debut Performance. Director Larry Clark received the Best First Feature Award at the same event. The film kindled much controversy and a few critics gave it bad reviews citing that it depicted ‘borderline child pornography.’ However, some popular critics like Roger Ebert explained how this film exposes the dark world of crime which the general population doesn’t want to acknowledge. Ebert, in his review, said that the society needs to accept the bitter truth and talk about this issue. Some other critics like Janet Maslin pointed out that the film served as a wakeup call for the society.
After his debut, Pierce appeared in multiple promotional videos of skateboarding groups. He was part of the promotional video of the Supreme New York group titled ‘Supreme Crew '96’ and later featured in the Zoo York Mix Tape. Meanwhile, he also appeared in the independent drama film ‘A Brother's Kiss’ as ‘Young Lex’.
Justin Pierce appeared in the sequel of the American stoner comedy film ‘Friday’ that was titled ‘Next Friday,’ alongside Ice Cube, Mike Epps, Don "D.C." Curry, and John Witherspoon. He later featured in other films like ‘King of the Jungle’, ‘BlackMale ‘, and ‘Looking for Leonard’ (released posthumously). He also appeared in two episodes of the TV series ‘Malcolm in the Middle’.
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Family & Personal Life
Justin Charles Pierce was born in London, on March 21, 1975, to James Pierce and Meryl Pierce. He married Gina Rizzo in 1999, just a year before his death. Pierce was found hanging in his Bellagio Hotel room by the hotel staff on July 10, 2000. His death was ruled as a suicide and two pieces of suicide notes were also found at the scene. These notes were not released to the public.