Jonathan Brandis

Jonathan Gregory Brandis (April 13, 1976 – November 12, 2003) was an American actor. Beginning his career as a child model, Brandis moved on to acting in commercials and subsequently won television and film roles. Brandis made his acting debut in 1982 as Kevin Buchanan on the soap opera One Life to Live. In 1990, he portrayed Bill Denbrough in the television miniseries It. Also in 1990, he starred as Bastian Bux in The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. In 1993, at the age of 17, he was cast in the role of teen prodigy Lucas Wolenczak on the NBC series seaQuest DSV. The character was popular among teenage viewers, and Brandis regularly appeared in teen magazines. Brandis died by suicide in 2003 following a period of heavy drinking and career setbacks.

Jonathan Brandis
Jonathan Brandis Wiki.jpg
Brandis in 1993
Jonathan Gregory Brandis

(1976-04-13)April 13, 1976
DiedNovember 12, 2003(2003-11-12) (aged 27)
EducationSan Fernando Valley Professional School
Years active1978–2003[1]
AwardsYoung Artist Award (1994) for seaQuest DSV

Early lifeEdit

Jonathan Brandis was born in Danbury, Connecticut, the only child of Mary, a teacher and personal manager, and Gregory Brandis, a food distributor and firefighter. At the age of two, he began his career as a child model for Buster Brown shoes.[1] At the age of four, Brandis began acting in television commercials.[2][3] He attended San Fernando Valley Professional School, graduating in 1993.[1]


At age six, Brandis won the role of Kevin Buchanan on the soap opera One Life to Live. He moved to Los Angeles with his family at age nine and made guest appearances on shows such as Blossom; L.A. Law; Who's the Boss?; Murder, She Wrote; The Wonder Years; Full House and Kate & Allie.[4]

At age 13, Brandis was cast in his first starring role as Bastian Bux in The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. He played the young "Stuttering Bill" Denbrough in the 1990 television miniseries Stephen King's It, based on the epic horror novel of the same name. Brandis' performance in the miniseries was lauded by critics and audiences. Brandis was cast as the lead in two movies made close together, first as Barry Gabrewski in Sidekicks and then starring as Matthew/Martha in Ladybugs.

Around age 17, 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] At the height of his popularity, Brandis received approximately 4,000 fan letters a week and had to be escorted onto the set of seaQuest DSV by three studio security guards because of the many female fans present.[2] He voiced Mozenrath, an evil young sorcerer and necromancer, in Disney's animated series Aladdin.[6]

After seaQuest DSV was canceled in 1996, Brandis appeared in the television film Her Last Chance.[7] His next role was in the television film Born Free: A New Adventure, which was shot in South Africa.[8] He continued his career in supporting roles in Outside Providence (1999) and Ride with the Devil (1999). In 2000, he costarred in Bad Girls from Valley High, which, because of distribution problems, was not released until 2005, after his death. Brandis had a small role in Hart's War (2002). In 2003, he was cast in 111 Gramercy Park, a pilot that was not picked up by the network. He made his final onscreen appearance in action drama Puerto Vallarta Squeeze. That film was also released posthumously.

Personal lifeEdit

From 1995 to 1998, Brandis dated actress and singer Tatyana Ali. The then-couple appeared in an article in People magazine in July 1996.[9]


On November 11, 2003, Brandis was found hanged in the hallway of his Los Angeles apartment. He was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center[10] and died the following day of injuries sustained from the hanging. He was 27 years old.[11]

Brandis did not leave a suicide note.[12] After his death, friends reported that he had been depressed about his waning career and was reportedly disappointed when his appearance in the 2002 war drama Hart's War, a role he hoped would revive his career, was significantly reduced in the film's final cut. Brandis began drinking heavily and said that he intended to kill himself.[13]



Year Title Role Notes
1988 Oliver & Company Additional voice
1988 The Wrong Guys Kid Tim
1989 Pet Sematary Voice-over at beginning of film
1989 Stepfather II Todd Grayland
1990 Ghost Dad Additional voices
1990 The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter Bastian Bux
1992 Ladybugs Matthew/Martha
1992 Sidekicks Barry Gabrewski
1994 Dumb and Dumber Nick (commercial character) Uncredited
1996 Born Free: A New Adventure Randolph Thompson
1998 Aladdin's Arabian Adventures: Magic Makers Mozenrath (voice) Direct-to-video release
1999 Outside Providence Mousy
1999 Ride with the Devil Cave Wyatt
2002 Hart's War Lewis P. Wakely Scenes deleted
2002 The Year That Trembled Casey Pedersen
2003 Between the Sheets Robert Avocado
2004 Puerto Vallarta Squeeze Neil Weatherford Released posthumously
2004 The Slainesville Boys Director, producer; released posthumously
2005 Bad Girls from Valley High Drew Filmed in 2000; released posthumously
2021 Kid 90 Himself Documentary; released posthumously


Year Title Role Notes
1982–1983 One Life to Live Kevin Buchanan Unknown episodes
1984 Kate & Allie Chip's friend Episode: "Odd Boy Out"
1986 Mystery Magical Special Himself Special
1986 Sledge Hammer! Young Sledge Episode: "They Shoot Hammers, Don't They?"
1987 Buck James Episode: "Sin of the Father"
1987 Duet Danny Episode: "Jane's Getting Serious"
1987 Good Morning, Miss Bliss Michael Thompson Pilot
1987 L.A. Law Kevin Talbot 2 episodes
1987 Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story Lance Reventlow (Age 11) TV movie
1988 Mars: Base One Movie
1988 Webster Bobby Episode: "Take My Cousin, Please"
1989 Full House Michael Monford Episode: "A Little Romance"
1989 Who's the Boss? Paul Episode: "Your Grandmother's a Bimbo"
1990 Alien Nation Andron Episode: "The Touch"
1990 The Earth Day Special Himself
1990 The Flash Terry Cohan Episode: "Child's Play"
1990 It Young Bill Denbrough Miniseries
1990 The Munsters Today Matt Glover Episode: "The Silver Bullet"
1990 Murder, She Wrote Kevin Bryce Episode: "If the Shoe Fits"
1991 Blossom Stevie Episode: "To Tell the Truth"
1991 Gabriel's Fire Matthew Fixx Episode: "Truth and Consequences"
1991 Our Shining Moment Michael "Scooter" McGuire TV film
1991 Pros and Cons Danny Episode: "Once a Kid"
1991 The Wonder Years Steve Episode: "The Yearbook"
1992 Crossroads Michael Stahl Episode: "Freedom of the Road"
1992 Do Not Bring That Python in the House Gabriel Miller Movie
1992 Cap'n Crunch Himself TV commercial
1993 Saved By The Bell: The College Years Himself Episode: "A Thanksgiving Story"
1993–1996 seaQuest DSV Lucas Wolenczak 57 episodes
1994 Good King Wenceslas Prince Wenceslas Television movie
1994 Masters Of Illusion Himself documentary
1994–1995 Aladdin Mozenrath (voice) 8 episodes
1996 Born Free: A New Adventure Randolph "Rand" Thompson Movie
1996 Fall into Darkness Chad Movie
1996 Her Last Chance Preston Altherton Movie
1997 Two Came Back Jason Movie
2003 111 Gramercy Park Will Karnegian Unsold pilot

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Title of work Result
1990 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor Guest Starring in a Television Series The Flash Nominated
1991 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter Nominated
1992 Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter Nominated
1993 Young Artist Awards Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture Lady Bugs (shared with cast) Nominated
1993 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture Lady Bugs Nominated
1994 Young Artist Awards Best Youth Actor Leading Role in a Television Series seaQuest DSV Won
1995 Young Artist Awards Best Performance by a Youth Actor in a TV Mini-Series or Special Good King Wenceslas Nominated


  1. ^ a b c Gliatto, Tom (August 29, 1994). "Jonathan Brandis". People.
  2. ^ a b McLellan, Dennis (November 22, 2003). "Jonathan Brandis, Actor, Teen Idol". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved June 19, 2012 – via Sun-Sentinel (
  3. ^ Gould, Joe (January 18, 2004). "Fans Weep For Danbury Star Whose Suicide Ended Career". Danbury News-Times.
  4. ^ "'SeaQuest DSV' actor Brandis dead at 27". CNN. November 23, 2003. Archived from the original on December 11, 2003.
  5. ^ Benton, Nicholas F. (December 4, 2003). "From Heartthrob to Heartache: The Suicide of a Former Teen Idol". Falls Church News-Press.[page needed]
  6. ^ Ortega, Albert (November 24, 2003). "Teen idol Jonathan Brandis dies at 27". USAToday. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  7. ^ Mangan, Jennifer (April 28, 1996). "Act Two Scene One". The Item. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  8. ^ Heldenfels, R.D. (April 25, 1996). "Jonathan Brandis Acting His Age". The Free Lance-Star. p. D6. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  9. ^ Jewel, Dan (July 8, 1996). "Young Love". People. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  10. ^ "Actor Jonathan Brandis: Suicide Investigation". Los Angeles Police Department (Press release). November 20, 2003.
  11. ^ "Teen idol Jonathan Brandis dies at 27". USA Today. Associated Press. November 21, 2003. Archived from the original on June 30, 2004.
  12. ^ Haberman, Lia (November 20, 2003). "Jonathan Brandis's Death a Suicide". E! Online. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  13. ^ "A Teen Heartthrob Takes His Life". People. December 8, 2003. Archived from the original on June 4, 2009.

External linksEdit