EXCLUSIVE: He was a teen heartthrob who worked with Pamela Anderson and also voiced a Lion King character – and there is a Tom Cruise link… but he became a recluse after attending Harvard. Who is he?

He was a teen heartthrob who young girls went crazy for, constantly trying to guess who he was dating and how he spent his time.

His handsome face was splashed on the cover of teen magazines like Tiger Beat as he displayed a Malibu tan and lush blonde locks. 

His fame came from starring on the top TV show of the 1990s that had many famous faces on it, one being Pamela Anderson.

Other TV shows followed, one with a superhero. He also did plenty of voice work and even had a role in the 1994 hit animated film The Lion King.

His uncle is famous too and even acted with Tom Cruise on a film.

The former child star was brainy, and always got great grades in school which won him entrance to Harvard University. He also studied at prestigious Columbia in New York City.

But this star became a recluse as he stopped acting in 2015. This week, however, he was spotted leaving his apartment building in Southern California.

Can you guess who he is? 

He was a teen heartthrob who young girls went crazy for, constantly trying to guess who he was dating and how he spent his time. His handsome face was splashed on the cover of teen magazines as he displayed a Malibu tan and lush blonde locks

His fame came from starring on the top TV show of the 1990s that had many famous faces on it, one being Pamela Anderson. Who is he?

His fame came from starring on the top TV show of the 1990s that had many famous faces on it, one being Pamela Anderson. Who is he?

He is Jonathan Taylor Thomas, 42.

In the new images he was bundled up in a beige Lacoste sweater over a green shirt with baggy jeans and sneakers as well as a cap and prescription glasses.

The star left his apartment with a beverage as he was seen downing what appeared to be pills. 

He has quite the history in Hollywood before he performed a Houdini act and left the business eight years ago. 

The actor is best known for playing Randy on the hit TV series Home Improvement, which aired from 1991 until 1999.

The lead role belonged to Tim Allen who played Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor, host of the home-improvement show Tool Time. Playboy pinup Anderson played the Tool Time Girl who won raves for her hot looks.

But at home Tim in his Detroit suburb is a different person as he fumbles his way through life alongside his loving wife Jill played by Patricia Richardson.

The comic relief was provided by Thomas’ character Randy, Tim’s son. He was the one who was quick with a line and made funny wisecracks alongside his two brothers played by Zachery Ty Bryan and Taran Noah Smith.

He is Jonathan Taylor Thomas, 42. In the new images he was bundled up in a beige Lacoste sweater over a green shirt with baggy jeans and sneakers as well as a cap and prescription glasses. The star left his apartment with a beverage as he was seen downing what appeared to be aspirin

He is Jonathan Taylor Thomas, 42. In the new images he was bundled up in a beige Lacoste sweater over a green shirt with baggy jeans and sneakers as well as a cap and prescription glasses. The star left his apartment with a beverage as he was seen downing what appeared to be aspirin

He has quite the history in Hollywood before he performed a Houdini act and left the business eight years ago. The actor is best known for playing Randy on the hit TV series Home Improvement, which aired from 1991 until 1999

He has quite the history in Hollywood before he performed a Houdini act and left the business eight years ago. The actor is best known for playing Randy on the hit TV series Home Improvement, which aired from 1991 until 1999

The lead role belonged to Tim Allen who played Tim 'The Toolman' Taylor, host of the home-improvement show Tool Time. Jonathan, far left, and Tim, center, are seen with Zachary Ty Bryan, Patricia Richardson, Taran Noah Smith

The lead role belonged to Tim Allen who played Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor, host of the home-improvement show Tool Time. Jonathan, far left, and Tim, center, are seen with Zachary Ty Bryan, Patricia Richardson, Taran Noah Smith

Playboy pinup Anderson played the Tool Time Girl who won raves for her hot looks. Seen center with Tim left and Richard Karn right

Playboy pinup Anderson played the Tool Time Girl who won raves for her hot looks. Seen center with Tim left and Richard Karn right

The TV series was the most-watched show during the 1990s. 

Jonathan left the show in 1998 to attend Harvard as he wanted a break from Hollywood after he started working at age eight on the new Brady Bunch show called The Bradys.

But he continued to work as a guest star on TV shows.

In early 2004, Thomas had a small part on 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter with Kaley Cuoco.

He also popped up on the WB’s Smallville about Superman in both 2002 and 2004. 

In 2005, he appeared in UPN’s high school detective drama Veronica Mars with Kristen Bell. 

He then worked again with his Home Improvement dad Allen on the sitcom Last Man Standing. He was seen on two episodes in 2013 and then again in 2015.

Thomas also had a thriving film career. 

Jonathan left the show in 1998 to attend Harvard as he wanted a break from Hollywood after he started working at age eight on the new Brady Bunch show called The Bradys. But he continued to work as a guest star on TV shows

Jonathan left the show in 1998 to attend Harvard as he wanted a break from Hollywood after he started working at age eight on the new Brady Bunch show called The Bradys. But he continued to work as a guest star on TV shows

Here he put what appeared to be perhaps aspirin in his mouth

Then he drank from his bottle

He held onto a cup then took what appeared to be aspirin before taking a swig

He has not been seen since 2021, and before that he had not been pictured since 2015

He has not been seen since 2021, and before that he had not been pictured since 2015

In March 2013, Jonathan revealed why he walked away from fame and admitted that he doesn't regret his decision as he told People magazine at the time

'I'd been going nonstop since I was eight years old. I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break,' he shared

In March 2013, Jonathan revealed why he walked away from fame and admitted that he doesn’t regret his decision as he told People magazine at the time. ‘I’d been going nonstop since I was eight years old. I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break,’ he shared

He voiced Simba as a cub in the Disney’s animated feature The Lion King in 1994.

He also appeared in live-action films. 

Thomas was in Man Of The House with Chevy Chase, Tom And Huck with Brad Renfro, and the classic holiday movie I’ll Be Home for Christmas. 

Other live-action films starring Thomas are an adaptation of The Adventures of Pinocchio (in which he played and voiced the titular character), Wild America, Speedway Junky, and Walking Across Egypt.

The last time he acted was on that 2015 episode of Last Man Standing. 

He likely is very comfortable in his retirement from acting. His net worth is an estimated $16million according to Celebrity Net Worth with much to do with residual payments from projects like Home Improvement and The Lion King.

He reportedly made an estimated $8,000 per episode of Home Improvement and also earned $600,000 for Tom And Huck.

In March 2013, Jonathan revealed why he walked away from fame and admitted that he doesn’t regret his decision as he told People magazine at the time.

In the 1994 film The Lion King he voiced the cub version of Simba

In the 1994 film The Lion King he voiced the cub version of Simba

Also in 1994 he costarred with Chevy Chase in Man Of The House

Also in 1994 he costarred with Chevy Chase in Man Of The House 

In 1995 Thomas worked with Brad Renfro, right, in Tom And Huck

In 1995 Thomas worked with Brad Renfro, right, in Tom And Huck

In 1997 he starred with Scott Bairstow, left, and Devon Sawa, right, in Wild America

In 1997 he starred with Scott Bairstow, left, and Devon Sawa, right, in Wild America

In 1998 he had the lead role in the classic I'll Be Home For Christmas

In 1998 he had the lead role in the classic I’ll Be Home For Christmas

‘I’d been going nonstop since I was eight years old. I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break,’ he shared.

He continued: ‘To sit in a big library amongst books and students, that was pretty cool. It was a novel experience for me.’ 

In 2016 he shared: ‘You can’t be trapped in this bubble called the acting industry,’ he told Premiere magazine. ‘The industry is neurotic and weird, and so when I go home and I play basketball with my friends, I’m not Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I’m just Jonathan. I don’t like hanging out with other actors and actresses.’

In the same interview, he said he would rather be the next Ron Howard – the Happy Days star turned acclaimed director- than the next Macaulay Culkin, star of Home Alone.

‘You should be focused on doing a good job, but… every job has an end. I think most [fallen child stars] weren’t prepared for the end. I mean, it’s not the end of your life! You can’t base your life around one thing. So that’s why I focus on school, I play sports, I learn the technical side of [filmmaking]. Because sometime it’ll change, and I’ll have my education to fall back on.’

He also popped up on the WB's Smallville about Superman in both 2002 and 2004

 He also popped up on the WB’s Smallville about Superman in both 2002 and 2004

He then worked again with his Home Improvement dad Allen on the sitcom Last Man Standing. He was seen on two episodes in 2013 and then again in 2015

He then worked again with his Home Improvement dad Allen on the sitcom Last Man Standing. He was seen on two episodes in 2013 and then again in 2015

And in 1997 he addressed the pressure of fame: ‘It’s sometimes distracting to look over and see a whole group of girls staring and giggling,’ he told The New York Times at the time.

‘You are a part of their life, and there is a lot that is owed them. But it’s difficult because you want to make everyone happy, but if you try to do that, you’re setting yourself up for failure.’   

Thomas also has a famous uncle: Jeff Weiss who died at the age of 82 in 2022.

He was a playwright and actor on stage, TV and movies, and even worked with Tom Cruise.

He got his start in New York City and worked with members of The Wooster Group, including Willem Dafoe, Kate Valk, and Ron Vawter.

He appeared as the Ghost/The Player King/Osric in Hamlet, opposite Kevin Kline and was in The Front Page with John Lithgow and Richard Thomas, Macbeth with Glenda Jackson and Christopher Plummer, and The Iceman Cometh with Kevin Spacey.

Weiss was also lauded for his performances in regional productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the world premiere of Arthur Miller’s Reservation Blues.

Weiss appeared in television episodes of Law & Order and The Equalizer, as well as in films Interstate 84, Mr. Destiny, and Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise.

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