Jonathan Taylor Thomas: Why He Really Quit Hollywood

By Rick Gonzales | 1 year ago

Jonathan Taylor Thomas

There may be a few of you who don’t even know the name Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Perhaps, though, you may have heard of a TV series he starred in. It was called Home Improvement and he played one of three sons to Tim Allen.

One reason why you may not have heard of Thomas is that after Home Improvement ended in 1999 (he left the series in 1998), Jonathan Taylor Thomas bounced around for a few years, then virtually disappeared from Hollywood.

Before vanishing Jonathan Taylor Thomas was a legitimate child star. He began his career at the young age of six years old on the animated show The Adventures of Spot as the voice of Spot. While the series only lasted one season, the work he got as a voice actor would prepare him for something much bigger a little farther down his career line.

Thomas snagged an episode on ABC TGIF before finding time on a very short-lived series, The Bradys. Yes, as in the Brady Bunch. This was an attempt to resurrect the show from the late ‘60s to the early ‘70s. The series brought back all the original cast that included Robert Reed, Florence Henderson, Barry Williams, Eve Plumb, Christopher Knight, Susan Olsen, Mike Lookinland, and Ann B. Davis. The only cast member from the original show who didn’t make an appearance was Maureen McCormick. The series focused on the kids, who were now grown adults, their lives, and the children they are raising. Jonathan Taylor Thomas played the son of Barry Williams’ Greg Brady. Unfortunately, the series lasted a whole five episodes.

From The Bradys, Jonathan Taylor Thomas found himself starring in a few episodes of the sketch comedy In Living Color before life changed drastically for the young star.


Home Improvement

Tim Allen created the comedy series Home Improvement, basing it on his own stand-up comedy. The series was about Allen and his wife, played by Patricia Richardson, and their three sons played by Zachery Ty Bryan, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and Taran Noah Smith. Seems middle names for child stars was big in the early ‘90s. Allen’s character, Tim Taylor, had a show called Tool Time and many of the series stories revolved around Tool Time as well as his family.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas

Jonathan Taylor Thomas was pretty much an immediate heartthrob. Capitalizing on this, Thomas found the cover of many magazines. Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, 16, Bop, People, Nickelodeon, he did them all. He was on many posters. You name it, Taylor’s face was seen on it.

For seven seasons on Home Improvement, Jonathan Taylor Thomas was a big name. Then in the show’s eighth, and what would be its final season, Thomas suddenly left the series.



Jonathan Taylor Thomas turned his popularity into more than just Home Improvement and magazine covers. He also used it to find Disney. Well, perhaps it was they who reached out to him.

Regardless of who did the reaching, Thomas found himself working on another voice role. This one was for Disney’s massive hit, The Lion King. In it, Thomas voiced the part of young Simba.

He then moved on to live-action features at Disney, Man of the House and Tom and Huck. A few year later, Thomas would find himself on another Disney feature, this one titled I’ll Be Home For Christmas.


Jonathan Taylor Thomas

Jonathan Taylor Thomas felt his time was up at Home Improvement. His reasoning, as he told PEOPLE, “I’d been going nonstop since I was 8 years old. I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break.” So he did.

He went to Harvard, Columbia, and then St. Andrew’s University in Scotland. “To sit in a big library amongst books and students, that was pretty cool,” says Thomas. “It was a novel experience for me.” An experience without a single regret. “I never took the fame too seriously,” he continued on. “It was a great period in my life, but it doesn’t define me. When I think back on the time, I look at it with a wink. I focus on the good moments I had, not that I was on a lot of magazine covers.”

Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Jonathan Taylor Thomas on Home Improvement

His time after Improvement wasn’t all about school for Jonathan Taylor Thomas. He was in a few features (Speedway Junkie, and Common Ground) and he also found himself guest starring on a few TV shows such as Ally McBeal, The Wild Thornberrys, Smallville, 8 Simple Rules, and even Veronica Mars.

But Jonathan Taylor Thomas heart wasn’t in it, and he walked away from acting for good in 2006. In 2010 he graduated from Columbia University with a degree in General Studies.


Jonathan Taylor Thomas

After a seven-year hiatus from show business, Jonathan Taylor Thomas made a bit of a re-emergence. This was on former TV father Tim Allen’s new hit comedy Last Man Standing. It was a recurring role in which he was last seen in 2015.

Since that time, Thomas has once again kept himself out of the spotlight. Not that he isn’t still trying to make a little noise in Hollywood. His former TV mom, Patricia Richardson, told Reddit, “I do stay in touch with Zach and Jonathan who in fact have written a really wonderful pilot that is sort of R rated and are shopping it around town. Jonathan also directs Last Man Standing [which stars her Home Improvement husband, Tim Allen] and I got to see him there.”

Last Man Standing
Jonathan Taylor Thomas on Last Man Standing

Her response was from a few years back, so it seems the pair may still be shopping their script. Not much else has come out from Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ camp, which might be just the way he likes it. Sometimes Hollywood can be overrated.