Follow TV Tropes

Following

Creator / Jason David Frank

Go To

https://mediaproxy.tvtropes.org/width/350/https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/6840d5a7ce4d11ba76b3eaea94a8d319.jpg
IT'S MORPHIN' TIME!

Jason David Frank (September 4, 1973 November 19, 2022) was an American actor and martial artist.

His claim to fame was portraying Tommy Oliver, the original Green Ranger of the famed Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers as well as several other colors in numerous Ranger series.

In addition to being an actor, Jason owned his own karate schools and practiced professional Mixed Martial Arts, competing with a record of 5-0. He also held the Guinness World Record for breaking the most pine boards in freefall at seven, before Ernie Torres surpassed it at twelve.

On November 19, 2022, Jason passed away from suicide after struggling with depression, leaving us far too soon at 49 years old. He leaves behind his wife, four children, and a legacy of being not just a hero on television, but a hero to millions around the world.


Notable works he appeared in:


Jason David Frank's works provide examples of:

  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Tended to play this role to his daughter Jenna, due to his somewhat Manchild-like behavior, in videos he posted online.
  • Barbarian Longhair: Was this during most of his time as Tommy in Power Rangers, with his long hair and toned, muscular physique.
  • The Cast Showoff: Tommy had a lot of sparring scenes in the early Power Rangers episodes.
  • Cast the Expert: Frank himself would've told you that he's a martial artist first and an actor second.
  • Catchphrase: Many of Jason's social media posts include the phrase "Live Fearlessly".
  • Dawson Casting: Frank was 20 when he first started playing Tommy on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Not much of a stretch considering the original story had the characters as seniors, but Jason was going on 24 when his character finally graduated.
  • Disowned Adaptation: He stated while he was open to a PG-13 version of Power Rangers, he was not fond of the hard-R fan film/parody Power/Rangers, which was intended as a Take That! to the idea of a darker version of the series. Notably, he even had a cameo appearance in Power Rangers (2017), which is a PG-13 version.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: His MMA opponents had a habit of claiming to be the one that will beat the Green Ranger. Jason's record was still undefeated upon his passing.
  • I Am Not Leonard Nimoy:
    • Jason full-on embraced this trope. He'll always be known as the original Green Ranger, occasionally White or Red, and he was completely fine with that. Take one look at his Facebook and you'd think it was a fan page for the character, not the actor.
    • He also had suits made for the Green and White Rangers, to wear at conventions.
    • Humorously, a defeated MMA opponent said in a post-match interview, "He could have at least morphed before he took me on."
    • When Boom Studios decided to do a voiced trailer for the Power Rangers comics, Jason stepped in to voice Lord Drakkon, a mirror universe version of Tommy and later on suited up as Drakkon for a live-action trailer for the Shattered Grid event.
      • Even more impressive, Frank paid for most of the trailer himself.
  • Irony: He stated in an interview that he was originally contracted to film only a handful of episodes of MMPR and explicitly told it would not become a recurring role or a career. He ended up becoming the face of the franchise.
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: Invoked, not for himself, but for his Christian and martial arts-themed clothing line, "Jesus Didn't Tap".
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: Jason was the main reason that this happened during Power Rangers Turbo. He wanted out, so they sent everyone else but Blake Foster with him.note 
  • No Stunt Double: According to his Power Rangers: Dino Thunder cast mates, there were the stunt doubles, and there was Jason Frank. He also begged to do a rapids stunt in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie to the stunt double's approval.
    • Stunt Double: After the rapids stunt, he became less eager to do his own high-risk stuff, and during his last episode of Power Rangers Turbo, Tommy became magically Asian during wide shots of a car explosion.
      • Also people have asked if he did his own skydiving stunt in the film. He said he didn't because Sky surfing is incredibly dangerous and very few people actually do it, himself not included. He was reportedly looking for someone to teach him though.
    • Talent Double: JDF has specifically called out his snowboarding double from Power Rangers Zeo, who Jason himself picked because the double was worse than he was.
  • The Prankster: Just ask any of his cast mates, he would do things like secretly fill one cast member's trailer with all of the furniture from someone else's to standing off camera and make weird faces to try and get someone to start laughing. Johnny Yong Bosch claimed it got to the point some of the cast started calling him Jason "Prank" instead.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Jason was once into Transformers back in the day, years later he finally got to be part of the franchise in The Transformers: Titans Return as the one character that's known for piloting giant robots; Emissary.
  • Real-Life Relative: Jason's son, Jacob, was cast in a season two episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Two seasons afterward his late brother Eric played David, Tommy's brother, in Power Rangers Zeo.
  • Remake Cameo: He appeared in Power Rangers (2017) as an Angel Grove citizen alongside fellow Mighty Morphin' alum Amy Jo Johnson.note  Later outtakes showed he did an alternate cameo, with the same hairstyle as he'd worn during the series itself.
  • Role Reprise: On top of being the second-longest returning Power Ranger in the series (the first being Johnny Yong Bosch), he also took up the mantle of Green Ranger once more against Ryu in Super Power Beat Down, as well as playing the White Ranger once again against Scorpion in the same show, and he even managed to reprise his role for the Boom Comics Power Rangers comic book, in a trailer released in 2018.
  • Same Character, But Different: The Black Ranger in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder was originally called Dr. Edward Payne, just in case they couldn't get Jason back. Not much was actually changed between the switch from Payne to Tommy, which caused some discrepancies, the primary being that a Ph.D. in paleontology takes 8-11 years to get.
  • So My Kids Can Watch: The main reason Jason returned for Power Rangers: Dino Thunder was because of his daughter. (Apparently, he also did it because of ratings issues, at least according to History of Power Rangers.)
  • Suddenly Ethnicity: After he became Suddenly Native American on Power Rangers, and the fact that he actually looked it, Jason pulled off Suddenly Not Native American in real life.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Jason was originally slated to star in VR Troopers, then titled Cybertron, before popularity brought him back to Power Rangers.
    • One of the producers on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Jonathan Tzachor, wanted Tommy to die just like his counterpart in Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger. He was overruled by his superiors (and presumably Fox Kids broadcast standards and practices).
    • He almost got the part of Len in Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, but the producers ultimately chose Matt Mullins instead, not wanting people to believe that Dragon Knight was connected to the Power Rangers universe. Interestingly enough, had he gotten the part as well as the above part in VR Troopers, this would have made Ultraman the only major Japanese Tokusatsu series he had not starred in an American adaptation of.
    • He was called up to appear in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always, but he turned it down, his first, last and only refusal of the call, partially, according to rumours, due to Saban Entertainment refusing to greenlight one of his projects, and partially due to the spec script they offered being almost identical to Legend Of The White Dragon, his personal pet project at the time.
  • Written-In Absence: Both times Tommy lost his powers on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Jason Frank was more or less just written out of the show until he was written back in. Then on Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, Jason had more time off than his cast mates (to work at his karate school), so his character became invisible, then stuck in his Ranger suit.

Top