Twenty-five years after Nala and Simba inspired many a surprising sexual awakening, a new version of The Lion King arrives in theaters this week. Tragically, it does now not characteristic a cameo via the authentic voice of Young Simba: the man, the myth, the M.I.A. Legend that is Jonathan Taylor Thomas. A floppy-haired moppet of a baby actor with a series-smoker’s rasp, JTT reached a stratospheric degree of teenager idoldom typically reserved for pop stars and boy bands.
When painstakingly arranged compositions of Bop and Tiger Beat’s greatest centerfolds papered tween bedrooms across the state, his face commandeered the lion’s percentage of 90s real estate. (The average makeup, based totally only on my own revel in, turned into 80 percent Thomas, 20 percent Devon Sawa and a gratuitous rotating nook for Andrew Keegan or the kid from Free Willy.) And then–in his overdue teens, proper across the time of Y2K—he ends Home Improvement, did more than one indie movie, and vanished absolutely.
Now 37, he hasn’t walked a crimson carpet in 15 years and has made only some on-display screen appearances. He did not run from a big scandal or have a public breakdown, so why did the arena’s essential teen idol disappear?
Let’s take it from the top.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas was born Jonathan Taylor Weiss in the not-so-little city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on September eight, 1981, and raised in Sacramento, California. After his dad and mom break up, he moved along with his brother Joel and mom/supervisor to Los Angeles, where he ultimately broke into Hollywood at the ripe age of eight and followed his brother’s center name as his new closing name.
As Thomas started to book modeling gigs and classified ads, it became clear to everyone that this changed into a septuagenarian trapped in the body of a photogenic baby superstar. He changed into a devout vegetarian into a self-defined seize-and-launch “fly-fishing nut” who, in step with an Angelfire fan page, as soon as stuck an 80-pound halibut. He became small for his age and talked like a cool but global-weary truth seeker, patiently looking forward to everybody to get on his stage. Which, reputedly, was exactly what casting sellers adored.
The tiny expertise landed his first big position in 1989, gambling Greg Brady’s son on a Brady Bunch spin-off series. Three episodes of In Living Color accompanied—along with one demanding “Home Alone Again” cartoon. He performed Macaulay Culkin averting an intruding Michael Jackson—before he scored his profession-making gig as Randy Taylor on Home Improvement in 1991.
In addition to captivating the country as Tim Allen’s sensible-cracking center son, he turned into additionally churning out family-pleasant films at the side: The Lion King, 1995’s Man of the House and Tom and Huck, The Adventures of Pinocchio in 1996, Wild America (a.K.A. Heartthrobs in Nature) in 1997 and I’ll Be Home For Christmas with Jessica Biel and Robbie from 7th Heaven in 1998. But Premiere magazine stated that while Hollywood wanted Thomas to be “the subsequent Macaulay Culkin,” he’d select to sign up for the DGA and be “the following Ron Howard.
How extreme do you’re taking this stuff? I mean, you have to be centered on doing an awesome job, but… Each job has an end,” Thomas told the outlet when he became just 14. “I suppose maximum [fallen child stars] weren’t prepared for the stop. I suggest it’s no longer the stop of your life! You can’t base your existence around one issue.”