Archive for November, 2009

Jonathan Brandis

Posted in Entertainment, Jonathan Brandis, Science Fiction on 11/15/2009 by milkywayfarer

Jonathan Brandis, We Hardly Knew Ye

(I dedicate this series of articles to my recently departed and much-loved, much-missed niece, Suzanne Waterhouse, gone much too soon.)

Blond. Blue-Eyed. Teen Idol. All three phrases describe the late and much-lamented Jonathan Brandis accurately – but they do not, and never did, summarize him. Best known as the whiz-kid star of Seaquest, he also gained notice as the star of Neverending Story Part 2, Ladybugs (with the late Rodney Dangerfield), and Sidekicks (with Chuck Norris).

During his astounding success on Seaquest, Jon received hundreds of fan mail letters per day. I first discovered Jon on Seaquest, as both my husband and I have been lifetime sci-fi fans. Jon also caught my eye because he bore a resemblance to my blond, blue-eyed husband when he was young. When Seaquest was canceled after only three years, Jon went on to college and starred in a few made-for-TV movies.

During his stint on Seaquest, Jon wrote one episode, Siamese Dreams. He expressed an interest in directing also. He possessed talent in acting, writing and directing, as well as being a genuinely nice guy. All of his fans commented on the fact that Jon always stopped to talk with them when asked for autographs and never seemed irritated by the intrusion. When fans included their phone numbers in their fan letters, he often called them up and chatted!

I managed to keep up with Jon through the “InterWebs” until about 2001, when he seemed to fade away. I saw he had a role in Hart’s War and watched the movie for the sole purpose of seeing Jon’s portrayal. However, his role wound up on the cutting-room floor; he was reduced to a couple of passing glimpses that I nearly missed. Much disappointed, I still occasionally checked up on him on the Web with little result.

In August of 2003 my husband and I vacationed in LA, San Diego and Ensenada. I joked to my husband that I’d be on the lookout for Jonathan Brandis! After our trip I discovered Jon had a listed phone number. I could have called him while we were there but I didn’t even realize it!

The only child of Greg and Mary Brandis, Jon began his career at the age of 3 as a child model in commercials. He lived nearly his entire life in the spotlight – until he was well past childhood and got passed over for roles. Well after our trip (about 3 years later), I thought of Jon again and googled him. The first page that appeared carried the title In Memory of Jonathan Brandis! He had committed suicide only three months after my vacation to LA!! Thunderstruck, I read every article I could find on him. I learned of his career’s downslope slide, his subsequent disappointment and depression, and his despair-driven death by hanging himself in his apartment building. I learned how surprised and devastated his parents were to lose their only child.

I also discovered many phenomenal fan sites dedicated to Jon’s memory and many virtuoso video dedications. My next few articles will cover my favorites of these sites. Below is a site hosted by “Mr. Garcia” or “Gar,” as he is called by his friends. Gar had been Jon’s teacher and friend. Devastated by Jon’s suicide, Gar created several touching videos of Jon, accompanied by lovely music. Though it was bittersweet, I watched all Mr. Garcia’s videos and wrote him to thank him for them. Recently, my 41-yr-old niece died suddenly; her death rocked my family as Jon’s death rocked his parents, friends and fans. Reminded once again of how fragile and fleeting life is, I dedicate this series of articles to Jonathan Brandis and to my niece Suzanne Waterhouse. May you both rest in peace!