90s kids everywhere received horrible news over the weekend with the discovery that actor Jason David Frank, eighth degree black belt in karate and star of the original Power Rangers series, had passed. He was 49.
Out of all the hundreds of Rangers that have ever been, Frank’s character was perhaps the most iconic. Introduced as the Green Ranger and originally in a villainous role, Tommy Oliver reformed at the end of his arc and eventually turned into the White Ranger, leading the team from that point. While there were some young actors who had higher aspirations and couldn’t run away from Power Rangers fast enough, Frank LOVED the show and its fans, and stuck around as long as he possibly could.
Because of this, Tommy Oliver is the one constant in the rotating, nearly 30-year history of the series. He was the lead in both the original Mighty Morphin’ series and its follow-up Zeo. He guest-starred in Power Rangers Turbo, reappeared during the tenth anniversary, and came back for a role in nearly every episode of Power Rangers Dino Thunder. More recently he had cameo appearances in the Ranger shows Super Megaforce, Ninja Steel, and the forgettable 2017 “reboot” feature film. His last appearance was in 2018.
Co-star Amy Jo Johnson said in an Instagram message “Jase, you were beautiful and truly unique. My life just won’t be the same without your frenetic, hilarious, caring, driven and creative ball of energy. I will always love you, dear friend. Please Rest now In Peace.” The cause of his death has not been confirmed, but we hope rumors of a suicide aren’t true.