UPDATE: Lee Thompson Young’s manager, Jonathan Baruch, has confirmed that the actor took his own life. “It is with great sadness that I announce that Lee Thompson Young tragically took his own life this morning,” Baruch said in a statement. “Lee was more than just a brilliant young actor, he was a wonderful and gentle soul who will be truly missed. We ask that you please respect the privacy of his family and friends at this very difficult time.”
Our original post is as follows:
I can hardly believe it, Bettys, but we’ve lost yet another entertainer in tragic circumstances: Lee Thompson Young, who shot to fame as Jett Jackson on the Disney Channel series The Famous Jett Jackson, was found dead today of apparent suicide. He was 29 years old.
TMZ broke the story, reporting today that his after Lee failed to arrive on set for his current gig, Rizzoli and Isles, staffers called the actor’s landlord. When the landlord went to check up on Lee, he found him dead in his home. The cause of death appears to be a gunshot wound; the story is still developing, but it’s believed to have been self-inflicted.
Lee was born in Columbia, South Carolina on February 1, 1984. At age ten, he appeared in a production of A Night of Stars and Dreams at the Phillis Wheatley Repertory Theatre in Greenville, at which point he decided he wanted to become an actor. He moved to New York in 1996 and secured an agent; a year later, he was cast as the title role in the Disney Channel’s The Famous Jett Jackson, which ran from 1998 to 2001. After the show’s cancellation, he made appearances in films such as Friday Night Lights and Akeelah and the Bee, as well as television series including Scrubs and FlashForward. He’s been a regular on Rizzoli and Isles since the show’s first season in 2010, portraying homicide detective Barold “Barry” Frost.
This is the third untimely celebrity death to have occurred within the past week. The THIRD. The Bachelor’s Gia Allemand and Lisa Robin Kelly, who played Laurie Foreman for the first four seasons of That’ 70s Show, also both lost their lives last week, Gia to suicide and Lisa of an as yet unknown cause at a rehab facility. And this is on top of Cory Monteith’s tragic death by accidental overdose last month. If this is what the star system is doing to those who get involved, something is clearly, CLEARLY wrong with it.
I don’t know if there’s a solution to the problem, short of totally breaking the system down and starting again—which, let’s face it, is about as likely to happen as Jurassic Park becoming a reality. More than ever, I find myself hoping that Lindsay Lohan really HAS managed to turn her life around this time, because something like this is the other alternative.
I can only say again what I said when news of Gia Allemand broke last week: Be kind to one another, because sometimes, kindness is all we have. If you or someone you know might be in trouble, please, please, PLEASE seek out help. The International Suicide Prevention Wiki’s worldwide directory of suicide prevention hotlines, online chat, text lines, and other resources is a good place to start.
Be well, Bettys.
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.