Born Jonathan Taylor Weiss on 8 September 1981, Jonathan Taylor Thomas is an American actor and director known mostly for portraying Randy Taylor in the American television sitcom “Home Improvement” (1991 – 1999). He is also famous for voicing young Simba in Disney’s 1994 film “The Lion King” and Pinocchio in New Line Cinema’s 1996 film “The Adventures of Pinocchio”. Jonathan was literally the ideal “teen idol” in the 1990s.
Not every child or teen actor go on to be the superstars they are expected to be, and there are many reasons responsible for this. Some simply fall off along the line while others fail to meet up with the demands of the mainstream industry, and for some, it is just character issues. For Jonathan Taylor, all looked set for him to become the next big thing as he grew into adulthood, there were no doubts that he will make a good adult actor, but he had other plans.
Jonathan had decried the pressure and scrutinised life of Hollywood stars at different times in his budding career. When the time came for him to move up the acting career ladder, he decided to pursue a different life. Rather than continue acting, he opted to further his education, travel, and experience life outside of acting. In fact, it is said that there was never a time when Thomas felt that he would remain in the acting career forever. Safe to say that he always wanted more, and that exactly is what he went for.
This article will look closely at Thomas’ career as a teen sensation, his achievements, life off the screen, and what he has been up to since he quit acting. For starters, see these ten facts about him.
10 facts about Jonathan Taylor Thomas
- Jonathan was a cast member of “The Brady Bunch”, and his first on-screen television role was as Kevin Brady on the show’s spinoff “The Bradys”.
- His childhood passion for working behind the screens was fulfilled between 2013 and 2016 when he directed three episodes of “Last Man Standing”.
- Jonathan’s last name isn’t really Thomas as he was born Jonathan Taylor Weiss, as stated above, but he came up with the stage name Jonathan Taylor Thomas by combining his first and middle name and his brother’s middle name, Thomas.
- He received a lifetime achievement award at the age of 18 after Nickelodeon awarded him the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 1999.
- He was once interested in being a politician, as his former TV mom Patricia Richardson revealed to fans on Reddit during a query thread about Thomas.
- Thomas was a part of WrestleMania XI in 1995 as a timekeeper for the match between Shawn Michaels and Diesel.
- After walking away from Hollywood, he enrolled at Harvard University in 2000 to study philosophy and history.
- Thomas got engaged in 2007 to Natalie Wright and they were due to be married before the relationship ended that same year.
- He attended the University of St. Andrews in Scotland for one semester as an exchange student at the same time that Prince William was there.
- According to several sources, Jonathan Taylor Thomas has an estimated net worth of $16 million in 2021.
Early life and education
Thomas was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to Claudine Weiss, a personal manager and social worker, and Stephen Weiss, an industrial sales manager. His parents got divorced in 1991 when he was ten years old. Not too much is known about his childhood and upbringing.
In 2000, he graduated with honours from Chaminade College Preparatory School in West Hills, California. Thomas then enrolled at Harvard University, where he studied philosophy and history and spent his third year abroad at St Andrews University in Scotland. He also holds a degree from the Columbia University School of General Studies after finishing a course in 2010.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas career – movies and TV shows
Jonathan’s career is unusually impressive and loaded, considering that he only acted till his early 20s. He accomplished so much in his time before quitting acting altogether, both in film and television.
Across television and film, Thomas appeared in over thirty projects in the space of his active 18 years in the industry. From his first role as the voice of Spot in the 1987 series “The Adventures of Spot” to his last known major roles in 2005, he has a body of work that is more than impressive. He also won notable laurels in his active years, as we will now highlight some of his most famous works.
Thomas started his television career in 1990, portraying Kevin Brady, the son of Greg Brady, on the “The Bradys” sitcom, a spin-off of the 1970s TV show “The Brady Bunch”. The series followed the Brady children as adults with their own kids. Thomas was still known by his birth name of Jonathan Taylor Weiss at the time, and he appeared in two episodes.
In 1991, at the age of 10, Thomas got what became his biggest role in television and arguably in his teenage career. He got cast as Randy Taylor, the middle child of Tim and Jill Taylor, on ABC sitcom “Home Improvement”. The character is described as the smartest of their three boys and frequently the most mischievous and sarcastic troublemaker. The series was one of the most-watched sitcoms in the United States, and it won many awards.
Thomas remained a “Home Improvement” cast member well into his teenage years, but left the show in 1998 just before its finale to focus on academics.
Which animated character was voiced by the star of “Home Improvement”, Jonathan Taylor Thomas? Here are some of them below.
Lion King Simba
Jonathan Taylor Thomas starred in Disney’s 1994 animated feature The Lion King, as the voice of protagonist Simba (a cub). Simba was the son of Mufasa and Sarabi, who grew up to become King of the Pride Lands. The film was both a critical and commercial success, bagging several awards and grossing almost $1 billion in the box office against a budget of $45 million.
He starred in the 1996 film adaptation of “The Adventures of Pinocchio”, where he played and voiced the titular character Pinocchio. Per Wikipedia, Pinocchio is an eponymous character who seeks to learn about right and wrong so that one day he will become a real boy. The film, however, did poorly both commercially and critically, unlike its animated counterpart.
The Wild Thornberrys
“The Wild Thornberrys” is an American children’s animated television series that portrays an American family of wildlife documentary filmmakers known as the Thornberrys. The family travels to every continent and wildlife environment in the ComVee, a recreational vehicle equipped with safety mechanisms to handle any terrain or body of water. They document their journeys in detail, with typical episodes involving their young daughter Eliza befriending an animal and subsequently finding herself in peril.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas plays Tyler Tucker, Eliza and Debbie’s cousin. Though a year older than Eliza, Tyler acts even more childish than her, and he has very little understanding of the dangers of living in the wild. Tyler is also a know-it-all but is overall a good kid who really cares about his cousins Debbie, Eliza, and Donnie.
In addition to his film and TV roles, the star of “Home Improvement” Jonathan Taylor Thomas also played a character in two video games. He is the human Pinocchio in the 1996 video game ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio”. Also in 2005, a video game called “Kingdom Hearts II”, based on The Lion King and other Disney projects was released. It combines characters and settings from Disney films with those of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series. Thomas reprises his role as young Simba in the game.
Born Timothy Alan D--k on 13 June 1953, Tim Allen is an American actor and comedian. He is widely known for playing Tim “The Toolman” Taylor on the ABC sitcom “Home Improvement” from 1991 to 1999, and Mike Baxter on the ABC/Fox sitcom “Last Man Standing” from 2011 through 2021.
For over seven years, Tim was the on screen dad of Jonathan Taylor Thomas on “Home Improvement”. The pair later worked together on Tim’s sitcom “Last Man Standing”, where Thomas played the role of John Baker, appearing in four episodes and also directed three episodes of the show between 2013 and 2016. No doubt, Tim Allen played important parts in Thomas’ career.
Other notable works
Thomas has also appeared briefly in other productions like “The Simpsons”, “In Living Colour”, “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “The Oz Kids”, “Smallville”, “Wild America”, “Common Ground”, “Walking Across Egypt”, and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, to mention a few.
List of awards
Jonathan has received several recognitions for his talent and performances in his active years. Here is a list of every award he won back in the day.
1994 – Young Artist Awards for Outstanding Youth Ensemble in a Television Series (Home Improvement)
1996 – ShoWest Convention: ShoWest Award for Young Star of the Year
1997 – Young Artist Awards for Best Performance in a Voiceover – Young Artist (The Adventures of Pinocchio)
1998 – Kids’ Choice Awards: Blimp Award for Favorite Television Actor (Home Improvement)
1999 – Kids’ Choice Awards: Hall of Fame Award
Not much is known about Thomas’ personal life, and he has managed not to appear in the news in all his years away from the film industry. We found out that he got engaged in 2007 to a lady named Natalie Wright. They were working towards getting married, but that never happened as they broke up the same year. Jonathan Taylor Thomas is not married and appears to be single at this time.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas net worth
Jonathan Taylor Thomas has an estimated net worth of about $16 million, according to online sources. That is a decent amount of money for someone who has been away from showbiz for such a long time. It is, however, unclear what his current source of income is/are.
Unlike many others in the showbiz business, Thomas understood from a young age how draining and superficial the job could be. In a 1996 interview with Premiere Magazine, Thomas had quite a few things to say.
“You can’t be trapped in this bubble called the acting industry. The industry is neurotic and weird, and so when I go home and I play basketball with my friends, I’m not Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I’m just Jonathan,” he said. “I don’t like hanging out with other actors and actresses,” he added. It was already evident that he wasn’t the type to dedicate his whole life to Hollywood. He later expressed his happiness about his decision to quit acting and pursue his academics.
Thomas was recently spotted walking his dogs in Hollywood in June 2021 after eight years away from the spotlight. Whether that is a sign of things to come, no one knows, but one thing is clear, he is living his life on his own terms.
JTT as the actor is fondly called will be 40 in 2021. The teen actor is no longer a teen. It is not clear what path he will tow in the coming years, but his fans wish to see him back on their screens. For now, we will have to wait, while wishing him the best in all his endeavours.
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