Born in Danbury, CT, fresh-faced Jonathan Brandis began acting in commercials before elementary school. His family relocated to Los Angeles when he was nine and he promptly landed guest spots on several TV series, including Blossom and L.A. Law, as well as roles in miniseries and films. After a supporting part in The Stepfather II (1989), Brandis garnered his first starring film role as the boy adventurer in The Neverending Story 2: The Next Chapter (1991). Brandis followed up with starring roles as a ringer for a girls' soccer team in Ladybugs (1992) and a weakling who lives his dream of practicing martial arts with Chuck Norris in Sidekicks (1993). His two seasons on TV's SeaQuest DSV (1993-1994) further helped turn the boyishly handsome Brandis into a teen-magazine idol. With substantial roles in several TV movies, including Good King Wenceslas (1994) and Born Free: A New Adventure (1996), Brandis stuck to TV for several years after SeaQuest. He returned to feature films in the late '90s with a small part in Ang Lee's Civil War drama Ride With the Devil (1999) and a sizable supporting role as Rhode Island teen Shawn Hatosy's best friend in the coming-of-age comedy Outside Providence (1999).
Jonathan Brandis committed suicide at his home in Los Angeles just before midnight on November 11, 2003, though the trades reported that he actually died the following morning, after being transported to nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His final film appearance -- in John T. Kretchmer's low-budget comedy Bad Girls from Valley High -- arrived posthumously, in 2005.