Jason David Frank made a name for himself, first appearing as a temporary character in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in 1993. His character became a pop-culture phenomenon, becoming a permanent fixture and one of the Power Rangers franchise’s most popular characters in history. Let’s take a look back at Jason David Frank’s most iconic roles in movies and TV shows.
One of the traits that helped Jason David Frank land his roles in action series like Power Rangers was that he was an avid practitioner of martial arts, specifically Mixed Martial Arts. He was ranked in six different types of martial arts, such as his 8th dan black belt in Shotokan Karate. He also competed in a few mixed martial arts bouts in 2009 and 2010. In addition, he used his real-world athletic talents in his career as an athlete and performer, taking on stunt- and combat-heavy roles.
TMZ recently confirmed some reports that the legendary Power Rangers actor passed away at 49. Frank’s manager, Justine Hunt, stood as a representative of him and his family to confirm the news to the media in a statement Sunday. “Please respect the privacy of his family and friends during this horrible time as we come to terms with the loss of such a wonderful human being. He loved his family, friends, and fans very much. He will truly be missed.”
Several of his co-stars and friends took to social media to give their condolences to his family and express their heartbreak in losing such a legendary actor. Walter Emmanuel Jones, his co-star on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers back in 1993, expressed his grief and disbelief, saying he couldn’t believe it. “My heart is so sad to have lost another member of our special family,” he stated, referring to the car accident that claimed Thuy Trang, their original Yellow Power Ranger co-star, in 2001 at age 27.
Another co-star from Power Ranger Turbo, Blake Foster, said he was utterly stunned. “[I] cried all night. Heartbroken yet again. Lost my hero, our leader, my friend and an icon.”
In light of the recent tragedy, we wanted to immortalize some of Jason David Frank’s outstanding contributions to pop culture by listing some of his best movies & TV shows, all carrying his legacy.
Jason David Frank’s Best Movies & TV Shows
Family Matters (1989-1998)
Family Matter was a TV show that started in the late 1980s, telling the story of the Winslow family dealing with life as a family and the misadventures of their strange young neighbour, Steve Urkel. Both a genius and a klutz, he makes some bizarre inventions, driving the Winslows up the wall and, of course, having a crush on the Winslows’ middle child, Laura.
Jason David Frank appeared as Skull, a member of a gang called Puranas that tormented Urkel in 1996, where he got to show off his stunt and martial arts prowess. He seemed to have fond memories of the show as he stated on Instagram, “Yes, I got beat up by Urkel, lol.” – Jason David Frank (@jdfffn)
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993-1996)
Jason David Frank’s appearance in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show became one of his most iconic roles, which spawned a legacy of appearances throughout the rest of the 1990s children’s series. He appeared during the show’s first season as Tommy Oliver, the brainwashed Green Ranger. Turned evil by the antagonist, evil Rita Repulsa, he instantly shot to stardom as a fan-favourite villain. Once his brainwashing had worn off, he became one of the most iconic heroic warriors in the series’ history. After season one concluded, he even returned as the White Ranger for the second two seasons, where he became the leader of the team.
“Four athletically able teenagers, along with their brainy friend Billy are selected by Zordon to fight the evil of Rita Repulsa, her monsters and her minions after the witch is accidentally released from imprisonment in an intergalactic dumpster on the moon. Later in the series, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are joined by Tommy, the once evil Green Ranger designed for Rita’s evil, but later was deprogrammed and spent two portions of the series briefly as the Green Ranger. Over time, some rangers had to pass their powers to others.”
Sweet Valley High (1994-1998)
Sweet Valley High marks one of Jason David Frank’s non-Ranger TV show appearances. The series was based on an original book series that revolved around twins’ lives growing up at Sweet Valley High in California. The show followed “the lives of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, beautiful blonde twins who live in the fictitious Sweet Valley, California, and their gang of friends. Elizabeth is warm, friendly and sincere, while her twin sister Jessica is flirty, mischievous, and irresponsible.”
Frank played the role of A.J. Morgan, Jessica’s second serious boyfriend in the series.
Mighty Morphin Power Ranger: The Movie (1995)
Continuing the story that started in the series, the Rangers get to work when a giant egg is unearthed at a construction site near Angel Grove. When the egg is disturbed, it reveals the terrible Ivan Ooze, a formidable villain Zordon had imprisoned millennia ago.
“Six teenagers, Tommy, Kimberly, Adam, Billy, Rocky and Aisha, have discovered the power to fight the forces of evil. A giant egg is unearthed in Angel Grove. Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa investigate the egg and release the creature inside – Ivan Ooze, whom Zordon had trapped inside the egg six thousand years ago. Once released, Ooze left to seek revenge on Zordon. And now Zordon, on his crystalline deathbed, is dying because he has no power; without the power, then Zordon of Eltar would never have existed. Now the fate of the universe is in their hands. But this time, the Power Rangers head for a distant planet to meet up with a bikini-clad warrior babe named Dulcea, who imparts ancient wisdom and power. But now that they have their powers back and become Power Rangers, they will get back to business and defeat Ivan Ooze at all costs.”
Jason David Frank, of course, reprises his role from the series as the beloved Green Power Ranger Tommy Oliver.
Power Rangers Zeo (1996-1997)
In Power Rangers Zeo, Tommy, Billy, Adam, Rocky, Kat, and Tanya return as they are changed back to their teenage forms with the power of the Zeo Crystal. Without the Command Center, the teens must find a new energy source, and thankfully the Zeo Crystal leads them to the new Power Chamber. All the Rangers except for Billy take on new Zeo forms, and Tommy (played by Frank) becomes the Red Zeo Ranger.
Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997)
The Rangers (and Jason David Frank’s Tommy) return to action in this 1997 movie, where a space alien threatens to destroy Earth. But, enhanced with turbo powers, the Rangers need to foil his plan.
“The legendary Power Rangers must stop the evil space pirate Divatox from releasing the powerful Maligore from his volcanic imprisonment on the island of Muranthias, where only the kindly wizard Lerigot has the key to release him. The hope of victory lies in the Ranger’s incredible new Turbo powers and powerful Turbo Zords.”
This instalment is how Frank’s Tommy Oliver becomes the Red Turbo Ranger.
Power Rangers Turbo (1997-1998)
Similar to the tale told in the movie, the series picks up as the Rangers have traded their Zeo Crystal powers for Turbo Technology powers to combat Divatox’s invasion on Earth. Frank reprised his role as Tommy Oliver in the Red Turbo Ranger’s suit. It was said that he retired as a Power Ranger after this role, but he returned for many more Power Ranger appearances, some of their cameos, and others complete parts.
Power Rangers Wild Force (2002-2003)
Taking on a bit of a different stance than we have seen before, the five teenagers are chosen by five Power Animals to become the Wild Force Rangers to fight the evil Jinderax and Toxica and their army of evil Orgs.
“Power Rangers Wild Force takes place in a city known as Turtle Lake, where evil creatures of the past called The Orgs have returned from their long slumbers to cause havoc on Earth! As the Orgs return, Princess Shayla of the floating sky island, Animarium, summons forth a group of young adults to call forth the powers of – Power Rangers Wild Force! Together, the Rangers and their Zords must save the planet from Master Org and his minions.”
In the show, Frank’s Tommy Oliver returned as Red Zeo Ranger.
Power Rangers Dino Thunder (2004)
The Rangers return again as a team of unlikely personalities that join forces to help save the Earth from the scheming Mesogog, a dinosaur-like villain who wishes to destroy humankind.
“An eccentric scientist and his partner, veteran Power Ranger Dr Tommy Oliver, have created Dinosaur robots called Bio Zords. After their laboratory is attacked by the evil Mesogog, Tommy narrowly escapes and retreats to the nearby city of Reefside, where he lives a quiet life as a high school science teacher. But when Mesogog returns and starts causing havoc, Tommy recruits an athlete, a computer nerd and a musician to become the Dino Thunder Power Rangers to combat Mesogog and his monster armies.
Frank steps in this rendition as Tommy Oliver, the Black Dino Ranger.
Fall Guy: The John Stewart Story (2007)
Another one of his few non-Ranger appearances, Fall Guy: The John Stewart Story, “tells the true story of one of Hollywood’s top stuntmen, as well as some of the most spectacular stunts ever filmed.” Frank steps into the role of John Stewart, telling the life and times of the legendary stuntman and director.
Power Rangers Megaforce (2013-2014)
Jason David Frank returns as the Green Ranger again as “An evil galactic armada has come to destroy the planet Earth, and the newest Power Rangers team must harness powers from Rangers of the past to stop them as the Power Rangers Megaforce.” An evil Warstar alien attacks Earth, and the faithful supernatural guardian Gosei and his faithful robot assistant Tensou must recruit five teenagers to again combat the invading forces. “Equipped with powers that grant them mastery over martial arts and other forms of combat, the teenagers transform into the latest champions of good: The Power Rangers Megaforce!”
My Morphin Life (2017-present)
My Morphin Life holds a special place in many fans’ hearts as it was more of a spinoff TV series and a reality show that told the story of the original Green Power Ranger and what Frank’s journey was like as part of the team. Unfortunately, it’s still being determined what will happen with this title after the passing of Jason David Frank.
Power Rangers HyperForce (2017-2018)
Power Rangers HyperForce saw Frank returning again as the Black Dino Ranger, this time well into the future.
“Set in the year 3016 at Time Force Academy, a team of Time Force cadets and a beat Time Force Officer must band together when their mentor, Jen Scott (The Pink Time Force Ranger), and the Time Force Academy come under attack. They soon gain Morphers to become the Hyper Force Power Rangers to defeat an Alliance of evil set on unravelling the very fabric of the universe. With the show’s Game Master, Malika Lim, the Hyper Force Rangers will cross both time and space in their state-of-the-art Time Ship to complete their mission. The stakes have never been higher as the players learn what it means to be a Ranger in a live, tabletop RPG environment where anything can happen.”
Power Rangers Ninja Steel (2017-2018)
Reappearing to cameo as the Black Dino Ranger once more, Franks starred in Power Rangers Ninja Steel when “A new team of superhuman power rangers must work together and use their new ninja powers to prevent evil from dominating the human race and from destroying the planet earth and the universe.”
Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe (2018-present)
Yet another non-Ranger appearance where Frank starred as one of the most badass characters in comic book history, Bloodshot.
“Colin King is Ninjak, MI-6’s deadliest intelligence operative and weapons expert. When the ruthless assassin Roku exploits his greatest weakness, Ninjak will be forced to betray his closest allies. Now, on the run, he must face off against the most powerful heroes known to man for a high-octane, take-no-prisoners trial by fire more perilous and unpredictable than any he’s faced before. In 2017, the world’s most dangerous super-spy went to war with the Valiant Universe…”
Frank’s epic character was the nanite-enhanced super soldier we all know and love, with powers of regeneration and super strength thanks to his nanites, excellent swordsmanship, and proficiency in firearms. It remains to be seen if the role will be recast.
Legend of the White Dragon (2023)
This title is still in development but was made by the producer of Ninjak, Aaron Schoenke. The projected release date for the title was set for sometime in 2023, but this may change. If Frank hadn’t completed his work on the project at the time of his passing, extra editing would have been needed. Frank was set to play the show project’s leading character, Erik Reed, The White Dragon.
“The White Dragon, Erik Reed, has returned home to Virtuo City 3 years after being defeated in a colossal battle against the ancient overlord, Ashtagor. The crystal he used to become the White Dragon was broken in two due to the epic battle. Both pieces were subsequently lost. In the Aftermath, the city was left decimated. A past reminder of the great battle and fall of heroes. The heroes were blamed, stripped of their titles and hunted.”
Hopefully, we will still see his legacy in the upcoming title.
The loss that Jason David Frank’s family is experiencing is immeasurable, and both the franchise and fans are heartbroken by the news. However, Frank’s contribution to pop culture will forever stay in the hearts of all who love Power Rangers.
Megan Oosthuizen is a talented writer hailing from East London, South Africa. With a passion for literature, video games, movies, and TV shows, Megan brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to her work as an entertainment journalist.
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