Lee Thompson Young, an actor seen currently on TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles,” was found dead Monday, reportedly of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
TMZ.com first reported the story here. The actor’s death and suicide were later confirmed by TNT, “Rizzoli & Isles” creator Janet Tamaro and the actor’s manager, Jonathan Baruch.
“Everyone at ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ is devastated by the news of the passing of Lee Thompson Young,” said a statement issued Monday afternoon by TNT on behalf of the network and the show’s cast and crew.
“We are beyond heartbroken at the loss of this sweet, gentle, good-hearted, intelligent man,” the statement said. “He was truly a member of our family. Lee will be cherished and remembered by all who knew and loved him, both on- and off-screen, for his positive energy, infectious smile and soulful grace. We send our deepest condolences and thoughts to his family, to his friends and, most especially, to his beloved mother.”
Production has reportedly ceased on the set of “Rizzoli & Isles” so that the cast and crew can deal with their grief.
In an earlier statement, Jonathan Baruch confirmed the actor’s suicide. “It is with great sadness that I announce that Lee Thompson Young tragically took his own life this morning,” Baruch is quoted as saying in a statement to Deadline.com. “Lee was more than just a brilliant young actor,” Baruch said. “He was a wonderful and gentle soul who will be truly missed. We ask that you please respect the privacy of his family and friends as this very difficult time.”
The AP reported that Young’s body was discovered at around 8 a.m. Pacific time Monday at his Los Angeles home by a landlord who went to check up on the 29-year-old actor after he failed to show up at work. TMZ quoted unnamed sources as saying “Young’s body was discovered with a gunshot wound that appears to be self-inflicted.”
“We are all without the words to truly express our collective grief and profound sadness at the loss of such a sweet, bright light,” Tamaro wrote on Twitter. “We are broken-hearted. #RIPLeeThompsonYoung.”
Young became a TV star as a teen-ager in the title role of the Disney Channel series “The Famous Jett Jackson” (1998-2001).
On “Rizzoli & Isles,” he played Det. Barry Frost, a colleague of the show’s principal characters played bySasha Alexander and Angie Harmon.
As of 2:30 p.m. eastern time on Monday, there was no word on the possible reasons he may have committed suicide. TNT renewed “Rizzoli & Isles” last week for a fifth season.
Actor James Gandolfini, who rose to fame as crime boss Tony Soprano on the “The Sopranos,” has died of a possible heart attack in Italy, HBO confirmed to Fox News.
There were few immediate details surrounding his death at 51, although he was on vacation in Rome, his managers said.
Gandolfini, a New Jersey native, appeared in films and on the stage before his breakthrough part in 1999 as Mafia boss Tony Soprano in the HBO series, which brought him three Emmys during its six-year run.
“We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family,” said a statement from HBO. “He was special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect.
“He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us. “
His managers Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders said, “It is with immense sorrow that we report our client James Gandolfini passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy. Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him deeply. He and his family were part of our family for many years and we are all grieving.”
Gandolfini, easily recognized with his bear-like frame, turned Tony Soprano into a multi-faceted character who merged mob boss and family man. In addition to his Emmys, the part brought him a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
His film credits included “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Killing Them Softly,” and he appeared in the Broadway production “God of Carnage” in 2009 with Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis and Marcia Gay Harden, earning a Tony nomination for best actor.
Gandolfini’s performance in “The Sopranos” was indelible and career-making, but he refused to be stereotyped as the bulky mobster who was a therapy patient, family man and cold-blooded killer.
After the series concluded with its breathtaking blackout ending, Gandolfini’s varied film work included comedies such as “In the Loop,” a political satire, and the heartwarming drama “Welcome to the Rileys,” which costarred Kristen Stewart. He voiced the Wild Thing Carol in “Where the Wild Things Are.”
In a December 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Gandolfini said he gravitated to acting as a release, a way to get rid of anger. “I don’t know what exactly I was angry about,” he said.
“I try to avoid certain things and certain kinds of violence at this point,” he said last year. “I’m getting older, too. I don’t want to be beating people up as much. I don’t want to be beating women up and those kinds of things that much anymore.”
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