Jason David Frank, aka Dr. Tommy Oliver, passed away on November 19, 2022. He was 49 years old.
JDF has been the face of the Power Rangers franchise since his debut as the Green Ranger in the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in 1993. After temporarily leaving the show, and filming the pilot for the show that would eventually become VR Troopers, he returned as the Green Ranger before eventually becoming the White Ranger, and team leader. Keeping that position going forward, he would then transition to the Red Ranger in Power Rangers Zeo, and keep that color when the show transitioned to Power Rangers Turbo. He would retire from the show after the summer hiatus, where he would focus on his martial arts school, Rising Sun Karate.
After returning as the Red Zeo Ranger during Power Rangers Wild Force for the 10th Anniversary special, Forever Red, he would return to the series as a regular cast member 2 seasons later as the mentor in Power Rangers Dino Thunder, where he would eventually become the Black Dino Thunder Ranger. He would return as both the Green and White Rangers in 2013 for the 20th Anniversary special, Legendary Battle, at the end of Power Rangers Super Megaforce. After a cameo in the 2017 Power Rangers movie, he returned one final time for the 25th Anniversary special, Dimensions in Danger, during Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel, where he managed to morph into all of his previous Power Ranger identities, except Turbo.
More recently, he retired from the Power Rangers franchise, but he was trying to start up a new franchise with Legend of the White Dragon, in which is plays the title character. In addition to continuing to work with his school, he’s also been making appearances at conventions both big and small, as well as touring comic book stores. He has also dabbled in MMA fighting, where he was undefeated.
As of this writing, no official cause of death has been given. In a statement, his manager, Justine Hunt, said, “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 be truly missed.”
Update: Nov 21, 2022 1:52 pm: While there has still been no official word on cause of death, TMZ is reporting that it was suicide, which appears to be supported by comments made as fellow Ranger actors, and friends, make their statements on social media.
If you, or someone you know, are at a point where suicide seems to be a viable option, help is available. Call or text 988, or go to 988lifeline.org in the United States, for help. If you are outside of the U.S., go to https://blog.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines/ to talk to someone in your country.