Jake Lloyd was once at the top. He became a household name (for better or worse) when he starred in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace as a young Anakin Skywalker. But like many stories of actors and actress’ starting big at a young age, they soon fade into a story of tragic consequences. Sadly, Jake Lloyd’s story fits that mold.
JAKE LLOYD BEFORE STAR WARS
Jake Lloyd was 7-years old when he made his acting debut in 1996 on the TV show ER. Lloyd appeared in a handful of episodes.
That year he also went on to star in the TV movie Apollo 11 as well as feature films Unhook the Stars and the Arnold Schwarzenegger Christmas hit, Jingle All The Way. In it, he played Arnie’s son, who wants only one thing for Christmas, Turbo Man. Hijinx ensue.
Lloyd was also seen in the TV series The Pretender in a recurring role that ended in 1999, which just so happened to be the year The Phantom Menace premiered.
THE PHANTOM MENACE
Jake Lloyd won the role of young Anakin Skywalker over hundreds of kids who auditioned for the part. Writer, creator, director George Lucas had three requirements for a potential young Anakin, those being: “a good actor, enthusiastic, and very energetic.” Lloyd hit those marks in Lucas’ eyes, as well as the other producers of the movie.
The movie was highly anticipated but failed to live up to the hype. Sadly, Jake Lloyd’s performance was one of the most panned aspects of the movie (along with fan-loathed Jar Jar Binks). The fact that Lloyd’s performance was hated by many didn’t stop him from taking home the Young Artist Award for Best Supporting Actor.
For Jake Lloyd, The Phantom Menace was the beginning of the end for his acting career, leading to a downward spiral that may not be of his own doing.
THAT DIDN’T LAST LONG
Jake Lloyd’s time in the spotlight was not a lengthy one. He followed up The Phantom Menace with the feature film Madison and that was that.
Jake did reprise his role as Anakin Skywalker in various Star Wars video games, all during 2001-02. He voiced Anakin in Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode I – Jedi Power Battles, Star Wars: Early Learning Activity Center, Star Wars: Episode I – Racer, Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, and Star Wars: Racer Revenge. This last game would be the last thing Lloyd would do as an actor on a professional level.
JAKE LLOYD’S TRAGIC PERSONAL LIFE
Jake Lloyd officially retired from acting in 2001 and only later would claim the intense bullying he received at school from his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker was exact reason he quit. Life for Lloyd was fairly unremarkable until 2015 when police were called to his mother’s home. When they arrived, Jake Lloyd’s mother claimed he had arrived to first verbally assault her and then it became physical. It was at this time that his mother revealed that Lloyd had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and he was off his medications at the time. She did not press charges against her son.
Later that year, Jake Lloyd found more trouble when he was arrested in South Carolina for reckless driving, driving without a license, and resisting arrest after he ran a red-light and led cops on a high-speed car chase. The chase ended with Jake losing control of his vehicle and crashing into some trees. For some unknown reason, Jake Lloyd was then held in jail for ten-months before he was finally transferred to a psychiatric facility based on his schizophrenia diagnosis.
Things did not ease up for Jake Lloyd, or his family, as in 2018 Lloyd’s sister died unexpectedly in her sleep at the age of 26. Since the tragedy of her death, Jake Lloyd seems to be somewhat on the mend.
JAKE LLOYD NOW
These days Jake Lloyd seems to be doing better. He’s 31-years-old and he has stayed out of trouble. His family even recently released a statement concerning his well-being.
The statement says: “We would like to thank everyone for their kind words, their support, and goodwill. Jake has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but unfortunately he also has a symptom called anosognosia which causes a lack of insight into his illness. This only adds to the struggle he faces, which has been very difficult after the tragic loss of his younger sister, Madison. He has moved closer to his family and we are all working hard to help him with this. He is still a kind and caring person and we hope to have him back to his fun and entertaining self as soon as possible. Jake will continue to make progress with the love and support you continue to show.”
Here is the entire statement per Geek News Now.
We can only hope that young Anakin has found a way to come to terms with his difficult past. It seems likely that Jake Lloyd will never return to acting., and that’s probably for the best.