Jonathan Brandis provided the voice of Mozenrath in the TV series Aladdin. 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 ABC soap opera One Life to Live. In 1990, he portrayed the main protagonist Bill Denbrough in Stephen King's supernatural horror miniseries It. 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 Lucas Wolenczak, a teen prodigy on the NBC series seaQuest DSV. The character was popular among teenage female viewers, and Brandis regularly appeared in teen magazines.
On November 12, 2003, Brandis died after hanging himself at the age of 27.
Brandis was born in Danbury, Connecticut. He was 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. At the age of four, Brandis began acting in television commercials. He attended Valley Professional School, graduating in 1993.
Career and personal life
At the age of 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 L.A. Law, Who's the Boss?, Murder, She Wrote, The Wonder Years, Full House and Kate & Allie.
At the age of fourteen, Brandis was cast his first starring role as Bastian Bux in The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. That same year, Brandis played the young "Stuttering Bill" Denbrough, the main protagonist in the 1990 miniseries Stephen King's It, alongside Tim Curry, based on the epic horror novel of the same name. Brandis' performance in the film was lauded by critics and audiences. Brandis then appeared in Sidekicks, costarring with Chuck Norris, and in Ladybugs, with actor/comedian Rodney Dangerfield.
Around the age of 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. 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. During his stint on seaQuest DSV, he co-wrote and produced an episode of the series titled "The Siamese Dream". He also voiced Mozenrath, an evil young sorcerer and necromancer, in Disney's animated series Aladdin.
After seaQuest DSV was canceled in 1996, Brandis appeared in the television film Her Last Chance, starring Kellie Martin. His next role was in the television film Born Free: A New Adventure. Shot in South Africa, the film also starred Chris Noth as Brandis's character's father. 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. In 2002, Brandis had a small role in Hart's War (2002). The following year, he was cast in 111 Gramercy Park, a pilot for ABC that was not picked up by the network. He made his final onscreen appearance in Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, starring Harvey Keitel and Scott Glenn. That film was also released after his death.
In addition to acting, Brandis directed several independent films and authored screenplays. He also produced and directed the short film The Slainesville Boys shortly before his death.
He dated Tatyana Ali from 1995 to 1998. The couple discussed their relationship in a 1996 interview with People.
"The Ali-Brandis relationship started slowly. At a mutual friend’s Halloween party in 1993, Brandis introduced himself to Ali—but soon left for Orlando, where seaQuest was filming. They occasionally ran into each other when he was at home, and last summer he dropped by her house a few times. She was interested, but kept her distance because, she says, “he was older, probably a lot more experienced. It was uncomfortable.” Finally he told her, “I’m going to stop coming over. And you’re going to miss me.” Looking back, Ali giggles: “I was like, ‘Right.’ ” She pauses and gazes at Brandis, who smiles.. “He was right,” she says, lightly touching his arm. “I called him the next morning.”
At 11:40 pm on November 11, 2003, Brandis hanged himself in the hallway of his Los Angeles apartment building. His body was discovered and paramedics were called to transport the actor to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Brandis died there at 2:44 am on November 12 from injuries he sustained from the hanging.
Brandis did not leave a suicide note. After his death, it was said that he was depressed about his waning career, which had continued to decline in the final years of his life. He was also reportedly disappointed when his appearance in the 2002 war drama Hart's War, a role he had hoped would revive his career, was significantly reduced in the film's final cut. Brandis had begun drinking heavily and had said that he intended to kill himself.
Paul Petersen, a former child actor and president of A Minor Consideration, an organization that deals with issues affecting child actors, stated: "Speculations as to the underlying cause of this tragedy are exactly that: speculations. It serves no purpose to leap to conclusions for none of us will really know what led Jonathan to his decision to take his life."
1987 Fatal Attraction Party guest 1988 The Wrong Guys Kid Tim 1988 Oliver & Company Additional voice 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 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 Pvt. 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
1982 One Life to Live Young Kevin Riley 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 Good Morning, Miss Bliss Michael Thompson Pilot 1987 Buck James Episode: "Sin of the Father" 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 It Bill Denbrough (Age 12) Miniseries 1990 Murder, She Wrote Kevin Bryce Episode: "If the Shoe Fits" 1990 Alien Nation Andron Episode: "The Touch" 1990 The Munsters Today Matt Glover Episode: "The Silver Bullet" 1990 The Flash Terry Cohan Episode: "Child's Play" 1990 The Earth Day Special Himself 1991 Our Shining Moment Michael 'Scooter' McGuire 1991 Gabriel's Fire Matthew Fixx Episode: "Truth and Consequences" 1991 The Wonder Years Steve Episode: "The Yearbook" 1991 Blossom Stevie Episode: "To Tell the Truth" 1991 Pros and Cons Danny Episode: "Once a Kid" 1992 Do Not Bring That Python in the House Gabriel Miller Movie 1992 Crossroads Michael Stahl Episode: "Freedom of the Road" 1993–96 seaQuest DSV Lucas Wolenczak 57 episodes 1993 Saved By The Bell: The College Years Himself Episode: "A Thanksgiving Story" 1994 Good King Wenceslas Prince Wenceslas Television movie 1994–95 Aladdin Mozenrath (voice) 8 episodes 1996 Her Last Chance Preston Altherton Movie 1996 Born Free: A New Adventure Randolph "Rand" Thompson Movie 1996 Fall into Darkness Chad Movie 1997 Two Came Back Jason Movie 2003 111 Gramercy Park Will Karnegian Unsold pilot
Awards and nominations
Title of work
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