It’s been nearly 10 years since Lee Thompson Young, who starred in the kids show “The Famous Jett Jackson” and had a recurring role on the popular television program “Rizzoli & Isles,” was found dead at the age of 29 from an apparent suicide.
In 2013, the young actor took his own life and died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“Lee was more than just a brilliant young actor, he was a wonderful and gentle soul who will be truly missed,” said Young’s long-time manager Jonathan Baruch in a statement.
Lee’s mother, Velma Love, remembers her son well.
“He would just kind of seek out where ever he could get an audience,” Love said. “And he would perform – he would tell stories. He would do poetry. He would do speeches.”
It might have been a phase for any other child, but Young took his passion for performance into his own hands.
“The next thing he asked was if he could have some business cards made,” Love remembered. “And I said ‘what will they say?’ And he said, ‘Lee Thompson Young, actor, poems, stories, and speeches.’ And I had the cards made and he would just hand them out to whomever, where ever, we’d go to church, at school, where ever.”
Born in Columbia, Young persuaded his mother to move to New York at the age of 12. There, he was quickly signed by a talent agent.
“I remember being in a meeting when I got the phone call about the Big Mac and I jumped up,” Love said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God! This is it! This is it!'”
Young would earn roles in prime time television shows, movies, and commercials. He would eventually land the starring role in ‘The Famous Jett Jackson,’ but there were some things he could not predict or control.
“In his late teenage years, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I noticed some periods of sadness and that stabilized quickly,” said Love. “Some of a person’s inner life, you really don’t know.”
His mother, however, wasn’t the only one who noticed.
“He would sometimes call me and say he was feeling a little sad again,” Lewis said. “It was always a quick recovery and I, too, feel that he was always concerned about us. He was always protective of us.”
With medication and therapy, Young continued on his road to success and the roles got bigger. By the age of 29, he was