Actor and MMA athlete David James Frank, known to many 90s television fans as Tommy Oliver, the green Power Ranger in the hit Power Rangers franchise, has died at the age of 49. The news of Frank’s death was confirmed by his manager, Justine Hunt, in a statement to the press.
“Please respect the privacy of his family and friends during this horrible time as we come to terms with the loss of such a wonderful human being. He loved his family, friends and fans very much. He will be truly missed” the statement read. There has been no official cause of death released.
Frank was cast as Tommy Oliver, the Green Power Ranger who despite being brainwashed by the series villain Rita Repulsive, managed to overcome a magic spell and join up with the Power Rangers. Originally, Frank was meant to only star in 12 episodes of the series but such was the popularity of the character, Frank went on to become a mainstay of the show, becoming the White Ranger in the process and appearing in the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers movie in1995.
Frank also made appearances in other Saturday Morning shows including Sweet Valley High, while later in his career, traded his acting profession to combine his martial arts skills to enter the world of Mixed Martial Arts. He made his professional debut in 2010, beating Jose Roberto Vasquez by submission in his only professional fight to date. He was an inductee of the World Karate Union Hall of Fame and held an 8th Degree Black Belt and also owned Rising Sun Karate, a martial arts school.
Tributes from fans and colleagues have poured in after the announcement, with former Power Rangers actor Walter Emanuel Jones, the original Black Ranger, taking to Instagram to remember his former co-star, sharing a picture of the Power Rangers squad on the red carpet.
Frank is survived by his four children, Jenna Frank, Skye Frank, Jacob Frank and Hunter Frank.