Who was Jonathan Brandis and how did he die?

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JONATHAN Brandis was an American actor who started his career as a child model.

He took his own life in 2003 after his acting fortunes started to decline.

Jonathan Brandis became a teen idol with a legion of female fans

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Jonathan Brandis became a teen idol with a legion of female fansCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Who was Jonathan Brandis?

Jonathan Gregory Brandis was born in Danbury, Connecticut, on April 13, 1976 to Mary and Gregory Brandis, their only child.

When he was just two years old he started as a child model for Buster Brown shoes.

He progressed to acting in TV commercials two years later.

Brandis went to Valley Professional School and graduated in 1993.

He landed the role of Kevin Buchanan in the soap opera One Life to Live when he was aged 6.

The family moved to Los Angeles, California, when he was nine and made guest appearances in a number of shows including Murder, She Wrote, The Wonder Years and LA Law.

When Brandis was 14 he was cast in his first starring role as Bastian Bux in The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. 

In the same year he also appeared in Stephen King’s It.

He also won roles in Sidekicks and LadyBugs.

Aged 17 he appeared in one of his best known roles as scientific prodigy Lucas Wolenczak in Steven Spielberg's science fiction series seaQuest DSV. 

The role gained him a legion of teenage fans.

He made his final onscreen appearance in action drama Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, starring Harvey Keitel and Scott Glenn. 

Brandis took his own life, aged 27

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Brandis took his own life, aged 27Credit: Getty Images

How did Jonathan Brandis die?

Brandis was found hanged in the hallway of his Los Angeles apartment on November 11, 2003.

He was rushed to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center but died from his injuries the following day, aged 27.

He did not leave a suicide note.

Friends reported that he was depressed about his waning career.

Reports say he had started to drink heavily and had expressed he wanted to kill himself.

In March 2021, Punky Brewster star Soleil Moon Frye revealed she “cried” while going back and listening to old voicemails from her late friend.

While going back through all of her old recordings and videos, Soleil told People: "I found so many voicemails Jonathan left me when we were kids.

“Some of them were 10 minutes long, his innermost thoughts. It just made me cry listening to them. He was a real friend.”

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She added: "I had some elements of guilt not seeing [the pain].

“How often do we really look at each other and go, 'How are you?' and actually hear what someone is saying? I learned that I just wasn't listening in the way I do now."

Soleil said she still feels him around her and that she’ll always “carry his memories” with her.

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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