For today’s tweens I have no doubt that if Justin Bieber turned his back on Hollywood tomorrow, he would forever remain in the hearts of the young girls who worship him today. I know this to be true because that is exactly how it is for me and my first love, Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas, or JTT to those of us who worshiped him in the 90s, is the 90s equivalent to what Justin Bieber is today. He had hair that girls inexplicably loved, a charming yet mischievous smile that could not be resisted, and an onscreen personality that melted hearts.
Unlike Bieber’s musical rise to fame, Thomas’s rise came as a result of his successful television and movie career in the 90s. As the middle son, Randy Taylor, on Home Improvement, he evolved from clever and cunning young boy, to intelligent and impassioned young man who wasn’t afraid to stand up for what he believed. Between seasons of Home Improvement, Thomas also had success in movies with starring roles in Man of the House and Tom and Huck, and providing the voice of Young Simba on Disney’s The Lion King.
On top of it all, his face graced the covers of just about every SuperTeen, BOP, and Tiger Beat magazine in the mid 90s. Unfortunately, in 1998 Thomas prematurely left Home Improvement after 7 seasons to pursue an education, and his departure all but marked his exit from show business. Since then, his work in Hollywood has steadily declined with just a handful of guest appearances in shows like Smallville, Veronica Mars, and 8 Simple Rules. His activity in Hollywood ended in 2005 according to his IMDb page resume.
So, what is Jonathan Taylor Thomas doing today?
The now 30-year-old (when did that happen?) Thomas enrolled at Harvard University in 2000 but it was at Columbia University in 2010 that he graduated. In the summer of 2011 he resurfaced in Hollywood when his television family, the Taylor’s, reunited for a cast reunion issue at Entertainment Weekly. It was the first time that Thomas rejoined his cast members since his 1998 departure from the show. After the reunion Thomas’s TV mom, Patricia Richardson, assured eager fans via Twitter that “Jonathan is acting, also wants to direct!”
In the October reunion issue, Entertainment Weekly quoted Thomas as saying that he’d prefer to get behind the camera, but that acting is not out of the question.
“I think at this point, I’d eventually like to work behind the camera…That’s not to say I would never act again, I’m not quite sure to be honest. I still have a passion for TV and film [and] could see myself working in it.”
No official updates have surfaced since then, so in the meantime I get my gossip from fellow 90s star, Danielle Fishel of Boy Meets World. Fishel and Thomas remain great friends, and she even posts occasional updates on twitter about Thomas since, sadly, he has not yet succumb to the power of social media. This week she cleared up any rumors of a marriage between the two: “neither of us are married but he’s one of my bf’s for life.” You hear that ladies, he’s still available!
Check out some then-and-now photos of Jonathan in the gallery, including a recent photo of Fishel, Thomas, and Christine Lakin (Step by Step).