Actor and mixed martial artist Jason David Frank — best known for his role as Tommy Oliver, the original Green Ranger, in the Power Rangers franchise — has passed away. He was 49 years old.
Following a number of murmurs and reports on social media, Frank’s representative, Justine Hunt, confirmed his passing to TMZ. Sources with “direct knowledge” of the situation cite suicide as the cause of the actor’s death.
Frank was born in Covina, California on Sept. 4, 1973. He joined the cast of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the role of Tommy Oliver/the Green Ranger about a third of the way through the show’s first season in 1993. The Green Ranger was originally portrayed as a villain, with Tommy having been brainwashed by the evil Rita Repulsa into going after the Power Rangers. However, Rita’s spell was ultimately broken, and Tommy subsequently joined the team of heroes.
Originally, Frank was only supposed to appear as Tommy Oliver on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for a limited number of episodes, with the character effectively written out when the Green Ranger’s powers were destroyed. Frank even moved on to the television pilot Cybertron, which would eventually become VR Troopers. However, the character of Tommy proved to be so popular among Power Rangers fans that the powers that be had no choice but to bring Frank back. As such, Tommy Oliver was reborn as the White Ranger.
Even after his time as the Green Ranger and the White Ranger, Frank went on to play Tommy Oliver for many more years, with the character also becoming the Red Zeo Ranger, the Red Turbo Ranger and the Black Dino Ranger. He even played Lord Drakkon — a villainous, alternate-reality version of Tommy Oliver — in a live-action trailer for BOOM! Studios’ Power Rangers: Shattered Grid comic book series.
To that end, Frank holds the record of being the actor with the most appearances across the various incarnations of the Power Rangers television show, having been featured in 257 episodes. In addition to playing Tommy Oliver in all three seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from 1993 to 1996, Frank appeared in Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers, Power Rangers Zeo, Power Rangers Turbo, Power Rangers Wild Force, Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Power Rangers Megaforce and Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel from 1996 to 2018.
Moreover, Frank portrayed Tommy Oliver in two theatrically-released feature films: 1995’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie and 1997’s Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. He also made a cameo as an unnamed resident of Angel Grove — the Power Rangers’ stomping grounds — in the 2017 Power Rangers reboot film. In 2020, Frank began working on a Power Rangers-inspired fan film titled Legend of the White Dragon. He has undoubtedly left a permanent mark for the franchise’s legion of generational fans.
If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.