Actor Jason David Frank, best known for his roles in the Power Rangers franchise, died. The news of his passing was announced by people close to Frank, including his personal trainer Mike Bronzoulis and his representative Justine Hunt. The cause of his death has not been officially confirmed. He was 49 years old. [Thanks, TMZ!]
Born in 1973 in Covina, California, Jason David Frank was one of the original cast of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. That is the English-language adaptation of Japan’s Super Sentai tokusatsu series. He played the character Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger. Tommy was initially cast as an antagonist, an evil Ranger working for series villain Rita Repulsa. Freed from Rita’s control by the Power Rangers, he joined the team, becoming the White Ranger. Frank, as Tommy, would take on other Ranger roles in follow-up series, such as Zeo Ranger V Red in 1996’s Power Rangers Zeo, the Red Turbo Ranger in 1997’s Power Rangers Turbo, and the Black Dino Ranger in 2004’s Power Rangers Dino Thunder.
Jason David Frank also appeared in other films and TV series. At the time he was cast for Power Rangers, he also starred in the pilot episode for what would become VR Troopers, an adaptation of Japan’s Metal Hero series. He played AJ in 1996’s Sweet Valley High, and the One Warrior in 2011’s The Dragon Warrior. According to his IMDB page, at the time of his death Frank was working on Legend of the White Dragon, a Power Rangers-inspired feature film. He also voiced Tommy Oliver as Lord Drakkon in Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid.
Power Rangers co-stars Walter Jones (Black Power Ranger in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers) and Blake Foster (Blue Turbo Ranger in Power Rangers Turbo) also paid their respects via their Instagram pages. Jones said “My heart is sad to have lost another member of our special family.” Foster said “Heartbroken yet again. Lost my hero, our leader, my friend and an icon.”