Late last night, I got a call from a friend who informed me that Jason David Frank, the iconic and most recognized Power Ranger, had committed suicide in a Texas hotel room. At first, I did not know what to make of this news. There was a chance the information could have been inaccurate or a hoax when I received it, especially since there was no official announcement from any major news outlet at the time other than a few whispers on Twitter. But then I noticed that Frank had not posted to his Twitter in some hundred or so days and his Instagram had not seen any new posts for about four days, and as the minutes started to fall off the clock early into the morning, I started to feel it. It was real. My source is one I trust, and suddenly a great sense of dread overtook every emotion I had.
Rangers from various generations began to share the news such as Blake Foster from the Turbo era and others like Boss Logic who received confirmation from a mutual contact. From there, news began to spread but there was still chatter online that the news was a hoax. 2022 has been harsh for many and over the last few years, we have seen titans of the entertainment industry fall, the most recent of which was Kevin Conroy who lost his life after a battle with cancer. But then, this morning, the news began to make its way to headlines from the likes of TMZ and CNN and the truth behind such an incredible loss began to overwhelm me.
988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (now known as the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline), and is now active across the United States.
As it turns out, my contact who informed me of the details was right on the money. According to our source, Frank was found in his hotel room after having allegedly hung himself. The details of which are scarce from news sources but many are claiming that Frank struggled with a battle with depression that he eventually lost. This comes not long after details of his marriage coming to divorce with Jason’s spouse, Tammie Frank.
As of now, the news is still overwhelming. Many of us Millenials, myself included, grew up in the 90s era that was heavily occupied by Saban entertainment, specifically that of which the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers where Frank had made a name for himself as the legendary Ranger, Tommy Oliver. Since then, the actor has gone on to have an incredible career in martial arts and a profound impact on fans. I personally had the chance to meet him once at an event I barely qualified to attend but regardless of his stature that towered over mine, Frank treated me like an equal and spent a few moments with me chatting it up after graciously offering to take a picture with me.
— marc (@marctammer) November 20, 2022
Looking back, much of my childhood was spent alone in my room with nothing more than my imagination and desire to one day become a Power Ranger where I would save people and do good for mankind. As I am older, I know that this was nothing more than a child’s fantasy but it eventually became something that I still daydream about well into my 30s. And I owe it all to Jason David Frank’s portrayal of Tommy Oliver over the years and how he carried himself in the public eye throughout it all.
The pain I feel for the loss of this entertainer is one that I am sure to experience many times as I grow older and watch as those that influenced and shaped my passions pass on into whatever is next after our time on earth. Whatever that looks like, wherever it is, I hope that Frank is at peace and that despite his battle with depression that kept him down for so long, that he is able to see how many lives he impacted with such significance. I wish his family and those close to him peace in this time of mourning and I hope that his passing raises light on the difficulties and struggles of depression and mental illness.