Lee Thompson Young
Born on Feb. 1, 1984 and raised in Columbia, SC, actor Lee Thompson Young got his start at age 10 when he played Martin Luther King in a production of "A Night of Stars and Dreams," whetting his appetite for further acting pursuits. A stellar academic, Young was Student of the Year at Irmo Middle School and won the Optimist Oratorical Scholarship prior to moving to New York City with his mother after his parents divorced. He attended the Professional Children's School, a private arts institution, around the time he landed his breakout leading role on the Disney Channel's "The Famous Jett Jackson" (1998-2002). On the teen-themed sitcom, Young played a famous child actor who moves home after longing for a normal life, only to discover that life has gotten much more complicated. Though he starred in "Jett Jackson" for four seasons, Young nonetheless stayed focused on his studies, graduating with honors in 2001 from the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. On full scholarship, Young attended the University of Southern California while maintaining a steady stream of guest spots on series television, including "Philly" (ABC, 2001-02), "Jake 2.0" (UPN, 2003-04) and a four-episode arc on "The Guardian" (CBS, 2001-04). Moving over to features, he landed a supporting role in the football flick, "Friday Night Lights" (2004), playing a determined benchwarmer who gets his shot when he replaces the ailing starting running back (Derek Luke). In 2005, Young graduated magna cum laude from USC with a bachelor's in Film & Television Production. After a leading role in the short-lived primetime soap, "South Beach" (UPN, 2005-06), Young was the dismissive brother of a precocious young girl (Keke Palmer) from South Central L.A. in "Akeelah and the Bee" (2006), then played Cyborg on an episode of "Smallville" (CW, 2001- ) - a role he later revived in early 2007 when several past superheroes reunited to form the beginnings of the famed Justice League. In 2010 Young landed the part of Detective Barry Frost on the police drama, "Rizzoli & Isles" (TNT, 2010- ). Thompson died on August 19, 2013 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 29.