American actor and mixed martial artist Jason David Frank has died age 49. Frank is most notable for his tenure portraying Tommy Oliver from the Power Rangers franchise.
A rep for the Power Rangers star confirmed to several outlets that the actor has sadly died. The cause of death has been reported as a suicide.
Jason’s rep told TMZ in a statement:
“Please respect the privacy of his family and friends during this horrible time as we come to terms with the loss of such a wonderful human being. He loved his family, friends and fans very much. He will truly be missed.”
Frank’s trainer and close friend Mike Bronzoulis took to Facebook to share a picture of the two with a statement.
Artist BossLogic also seemingly confirmed the news by tweeting his condolences.
Walter Emanuel Jones one of Frank’s co-stars who played the role of Zack Taylor, the original Black Ranger put out a statement on Instagram.
Blake Foster who played the role of Justin Stewart/ Blue Turbo Ranger in the fifth season of Power Rangers Turbo shared his condolences on his Instagram.
Frank was cast in the role of Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger in the original series of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993). The role was set for 14 episodes. Due to the popularity of the character, he was brought back as the White Ranger and the new leader of the team.
Frank was supposed to be the lead character Adam Steele in VR Troopers (originally called “Cybertron”) and shot a pilot episode before being called back to Power Rangers. According to both Frank and Brad Hawkins, Hawkins’ character was to replace Tommy Oliver originally as the White Ranger on Power Rangers.[
However, due to Tommy Oliver’s popularity with Ranger fans, Frank was brought back, with Tommy Oliver becoming the White Ranger. Hawkins would take over on VR Troopers. The character Adam Steele was renamed Ryan Steele. After three seasons, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers transitioned into Power Rangers Zeo. The transition is part of the annual Ranger suit change to match the annual change of the Super Sentai series. Frank’s character became the Red Zeo Ranger (also called Zeo Ranger V).
The following year in Power Rangers Turbo, his character became the first Red Turbo Ranger. During mid-season, Frank and fellow cast members Johnny Yong Bosch, Nakia Burrise and Catherine Sutherland agreed to leave and were replaced.
After he left the series in 1997, Frank came back to Power Rangers as the Red Zeo Ranger in 2002 for the special 10th-anniversary episode, entitled “Forever Red”, in Power Rangers Wild Force, which brought back ten former Red Rangers, and reunited him with Austin St. John.
He then reprised his role in 2004 in Power Rangers Dino Thunder, as the Black Dino Ranger.
Frank reprised his role as Tommy Oliver (who in turn was the Green Ranger for the episode) in the season finale of Power Rangers Super Megaforce.
Frank was given a cameo role in the 2017 film Power Rangers, as a citizen of Angel Grove, alongside fellow Power Rangers actress, Amy Jo Johnson.
In 2018, he reprised his role as Tommy in episode 10 of Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel for the 25th anniversary of Power Rangers. In 2022, Frank revealed that he retired from the franchise.
With his knowledge of many different styles of martial arts that include Shōtōkan, Wadō-ryū, Taekwondo, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, Jeet Kune Do, and Aikido, Frank collected the most practical applications, modified them with his own philosophies and created his own blend of American Karate, “Toso Kune Do”.
On June 28, 2003, he was inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.