Mika posted a Multiply entry mourning the passing of Brad Renfro, who, like so many child/teen stars before him, apparently went the wayward route paved with drugs, alcohol and what-have-you, finally succumbing to it all at a young age of 25. The post was followed by more than a dozen friends’ shocked comments, peppered with teary reminiscing about Renfro and a host of other teen idols of their time – Jonathan Brandis (bless his soul, though I’m still trying to remember who he is), Elijah Wood, Devon Sawa.
Notice – I said teen idols of their time. You see, for me those actors were basically child stars. As I wrote in my comment to the post, I really felt our age gap at that moment, because the equivalent of Brad Renfro or Devon Sawa to my teenage years was – here it is – Johnny Depp.
Yes, this is really a post about Johnny 🙂
Johnny of the 21 Jumpstreet roots (“Your friends will be there when your back is to the waaaalll… You gotta be ready to, be ready to – Jump! 21 Jumpstreet! Hehe, corny), whose face was plastered in my third and fourth year high school notebook and whose poster graced the wall of my college boarding house. It was actually my sister who first liked him and I was just sort of gaya-gaya, but I stuck it out with him even after my sister eventually outgrew Hollywood guys. My behavior was exactly the kind of adulation which he hated, by the way, and for the rest of his career after Jumpstreet it seemed as if he was doing his best not to be mistaken for a matinee idol ever again.
Yes, definitely, Johnny had his rebel-boy days, when he was trying his best to be the opposite of the clean-cut image his 21 Jumpstreet character imposed on him, but fortunately things did not go so bad and he managed to survive long enough for him and Tim Burton to find each other, do a host of wonderfully eccentric roles, meet the love of his life and have a couple of kids and suddenly become all mature, and the rest is history.
Now in his forties (though he hardly looks it), Johnny is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, known for never compromising on his art while still being a great entertainer at the same time. He’s still working on improving his craft, even including singing in the repertoire as Sweeney Todd and picking up an Oscar nomination in the process.
Teen idols are great and fun to have in your teenage years, but the thing about them is that they grow older, and when they do, you may not like them all that much. Or worse, they die young. Johnny Depp was my teen idol, but as I told Mika, I’m glad that he and I get to grow older and quirkier together 🙂
Photo taken from 21 Jumpstreet DVD ad here
Tagged: johnny depp