Jason Lee

  • Born: April 25, 1970
  • Best Show: My Name Is Earl

Actor Jason Lee has accomplished a lot in his professional career. From Kevin Smith’s Mallrats to My Name is Earl to the Chipmunks, Lee has forged a fun Hollywood career that would make you think he was ready for more. Unfortunately, you would be wrong as Lee has pretty much abandoned Hollywood for a different lifestyle.

While we say “pretty much abandoned,” it doesn’t mean he has left Hollywood altogether. Jason Lee reprised his role as Brodie Bruce in the 2019 Kevin Smith film Jay and Silent Bob Reboot and had voice roles in We Bare Bears: The Movie and the TV series The Harper House. He also appeared in the 2020 TV movie Valley Trash.

So, what happened to Jason Lee? What caused him to take his leave of Tinsel Town and what is he up to now?



The first time folks really laid eyes on Jason Lee on the big screen was in Kevin Smith’s movie Mallrats which starred Lee as Brodie Bruce. He was an affected and unhappy guy who loved spending his time reading comic books and complaining with friends at the mall. Now, it looks like he is going to return to that role in Twilight of the Mallrats. Lee played Bruce for the first time way back in 1995, then again in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and most recently in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.

With Kevin Smith on the reboot/ sequel trail after Clerks 3 was released, Twilight of the Mallrats appears to be another in the catalog coming to the screen. What looks to be fun about this upcoming film is that will be reuniting Lee with his My Name is Earl co-star Ethan Suplee, who played Earl’s brother Randy in the sitcom.

For Jason Lee, it’s been a long and very interesting career path over the last few decades.


Jason Lee

Kickflips and tailslides. Backside flips and 360 flips, which were once described as the best in the business. Yes, Jason Lee was a professional skateboarder. He learned his tricks of the trade in Huntington Beach, California, skating into the sport in the late ‘80s. But he wasn’t just a pure skateboarder.

He also became a skateboarding entrepreneur. In the early ‘90s he teamed up with fellow skateboarder Chris Pastras to launch Blue Skateboards and shortly thereafter they turned Blue into Stereo Skateboards.

Jason Lee’s skateboarding was featured in the Spike Jonze skateboard short Video Days. His portion can be seen below.

If you have some time and wish to see more of Jason Lee in skateboarding action, here’s a 23-minute YouTube video of his antics.


jason lee mallrats

Jason Lee went from professional skateboarding to professional acting. While he was still in his skateboarding persona, Lee crossed over into some minor roles. His first major role was in the 1995 Kevin Smith movie Mallrats. It was a lead role for him, one that jump-started his acting career.

It also started a great friendship with Smith which led to Jason Lee starring in many more Kevin Smith films such as Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Clerks II, Cop Out, and even Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.


Jason Lee
Jason Lee as Earl

With Jason Lee’s acting career covering close to 30 years, he has been in some notable productions besides what Kevin Smith had to offer. Perhaps Lee is best known for his role as Earl Hickey in the TV series My Name Is Earl. The funny series ran for four seasons and told the story of Earl, who after winning $100,000 in the lottery, decides to right all his wrongs of the past.

In April 2022, Jason Lee talked about how hard the cancellation of My Name Is Earl was. “It was really devastating,” Lee said speaking on The Nine Club Clips. “There’s probably not 4 days that goes by without somebody messaging me on Instagram, like, ‘Dude, what happened to Earl?’ Or some people thinking it’s my fault, like ‘Dude, you left us stranded, what the hell?’ Like, I’m not NBC, man. I didn’t cancel the show. It was out of my hands.” You can watch the video of the interview below.

The series also starred a wonderful Jaime Pressly as his ex-wife Joy and a just as hilarious Ethan Suplee as his brother Randy. The series brought major recognition to Lee as he received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy and a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series by the Screen Actors Guild.

Of course, there was much more. Jason Lee also portrayed Dave Seville in the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise which included Alvin and the Chipmunks, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.

Jason Lee in Alvin and the Chipmunks

Jason Lee had other accomplishments in film. He was in the TV series’ Up All Night, Raising Hope, and Men at Work. He lent his vocal talents to shows such as American Dad!, We Bare Bears, and also the We Bare Bears: The Movie. So, you can count professional skateboarder and professional actor among Jason Lee’s talents. But it doesn’t stop there. You can now also consider him a professional photographer.


Jason Lee

It began a little over a decade ago, when Jason Lee started taking road trips, bringing along with him a few cameras. He told Vanity Fair in a 2018 interview, “I was just kind of aimlessly roaming California, and then I started exploring Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas.”

He first mentions this because it was finally Texas where Lee settled down with his family, wife Ceren and their five kids, Pilot, Sonny, Casper, Alberta, and Edith. He is truly a family man and when not playing that role, he can typically be found out on the road, capturing life as he sees it, mainly with vintage cameras and lenses.

Again, he told Vanity Fair, “I tend to be sort of nostalgic, very sentimental,” Lee explains. “There is definitely some nostalgia for road-tripping, being out on the road, exploring parts of America that you’ve not seen before, the memories that come to mind from childhood, or even from cinema.” He is always on the hunt for that perfect spot to shoot. No longer does he roll around with skateboards, the camera replacing his once favorite tool. “One hundred percent. The camera has basically just replaced the skateboard.”

His photography has now garnered some attention. It was seen in a solo exhibition at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This happened back in 2018 and was quite a success for the skateboarder-turned-actor-turned-professional photographer. His passion for photography has also rubbed off on his eldest, Pilot Inspektor Lee. So much so that his son even filmed a mini-documentary about his father’s process in photography. “He shoots Super 8 film, 16 millimeter, and digital video. He’s super hooked,” said Lee to Vanity Fair. “That pale blue sky and the cotton clouds. He knew to overexpose his video and get that flatter look. I’m really proud of him.”


Jason Lee

Does Jason Lee ever have intend to return to acting? He’s spoken of how he’d love to give his Earl fans some closure on that series as it ended in a cliff-hanger. He also expressed his desire too get back in front of the camera sooner rather than later.

“Relatively soon, I want to switch that part of my brain back on and get trucking,” he confessed. “It sounds stupid, but I’m just proud to have just been able to do it in general…. I never considered myself to be a tremendous actor, by any means. And so you just try to have fun with it.”

So maybe we will see a little more of Earl in the near future. If not, maybe Jason Lee will find another medium to become professional in.


Just recently, Jason Lee took to The Nine Club in an interview where he spoke of the devastation he and his fellow castmates felt when My Name is Earl was canceled after four successful seasons. As Lee explained, the series creator, Greg Garcia, dropped the news on the cast without any warning.

“Yeah, [it was popular] until it got canceled, abruptly out of the blue,” Lee told The Nine Club. “It [ended on a cliffhanger], yeah. It was really devastating. There’s probably not four days that go by without somebody messaging me on Instagram like, ‘What happened to Earl?’ Or some people thinking it’s my fault, like, ‘Dude, you left us stranded, what the hell?’ I’m like, ‘I’m not NBC, I didn’t cancel the show, man!’ It was out of my hands. Greg Garcia, the creator of the show, he’s still my friend. What he did with that show is incredible. He showed up on set one day and said, ‘Hey, I have bad news, guys. It looks like we’re getting canceled.’ So, like, ‘clean out your lockers’ kind of vibe. ‘We’re out of here.'”

True, My Name is Earl did end on a cliffhanger, but it did get something of a resolution, though definitely not one Lee or fans of the series was happy over. It came on an episode of Garcia’s next creation, Raising Hope, a series that starred Lucas Neff and Martha Plimpton. Garcia wrote it into the episode and in it was a brief TV newscast that says Earl finally completed his list. The news anchor then says, “…and you’ll never guess how it ended,” then the TV is turned off before the anchor could finish.

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