Lee Thompson Young (1 February, 1984 – 19 August, 2013) was an American actor best known for his starring title role in the Disney television series The Famous Jett Jackson, from 1998-2001.
He also starred as Detective Barry Frost in the police procedural television series Rizzoli & Isles, from 2010 until his death in 2013.
Young came from a long line of storytellers. Born in Columbia, South Carolina, he first picked up the family craft at the age of 8, telling traditional folk tales of the Carolinas at local festivals and community events.
Young's passion for acting began not long after. At 10 years old, he took on his first role, portraying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Phyllis Wheatley Theater's original production A Night of Stars and Dreams.
The experience of playing Dr. King was deeply transformative and, after that, Young realised his ideal career would be that of the professional actor.
For the next two years, Young studied acting at local theatre schools in South Carolina. In 1996, he and his mother moved to New York City, and he began to audition professionally.
That year he booked several commercials and a co-starring role in the ensemble play House Arrest, written by Anna Deavere Smith and performed at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
The following year, he landed the starring role in a pilot that would become the Disney Channel's first original series, The Famous Jett Jackson. Young starred as Jett Jackson for three seasons and in a made-for-TV movie.
In 2001, at the age of 17, Young was accepted into the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.
While pursuing his undergraduate degree in film production, he continued acting, appearing in the films Friday Night Lights, Akeelah and the Bee and the made-for-TV movie Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story, as well as guest-starring on CBS's The Guardian, ABC's Philly and UPN's Kevin Hill.
In 2005, Young graduated from USC with honours and went on to become a series regular in UPN's primetime drama South Beach.
After, he continued to concentrate on building his body of work, guest-starring on The CW's Smallville, FOX's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and ABC's Scrubs, while also co-starring in the film The Hills Have Eyes 2.
In 2008, Young signed a talent development deal with ABC Studios that culminated in a critically acclaimed seven-episode arc on their drama FlashForward.
On 19 August, 2013, Young failed to show up for filming an episode of Rizzoli & Isles. Police were called to check on him at his Los Angeles apartment, where he was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 29 years old.