Back in the 90s, people didn’t know it at the time but they were actually in the golden age of sitcoms. And one of the most popular sitcoms to come out of that era was Home Improvement. The sitcom served as Tim Allen’s breakthrough role in a show that depicted the life of a home improvement show host and his family. At its peak, the sitcom was actually sitting atop the ratings for most of the 90s. And it took Allen’s career into greater heights. But it wasn’t just Allen whose star shown brighter as a result of the show. There was another budding star…
Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the actor who played Allen’s onscreen son “Randy,” also became one of the biggest teen heartthrobs of the 90s. His face was plastered on the covers of so many teen magazines. And he was also depicted on many posters that hung on the walls of so many teenage girls all over the world.
During his time on Home Improvement, Thomas’s talents didn’t go unnoticed by the big boys over at Disney. The actor was tapped to voice the role of Simba in the studio’s latest blockbuster animated feature The Lion King. Based on his career’s trajectory at the time, he seemed destined to have his star shine just as bright as Allen’s did on Home Improvement. However, as the 90s drew to a close, Thomas seemed to shy away from the spotlight until his star stopped shining altogether.
Before the series came to its end in 1999, Thomas had already left the show. And according to an interview that he gave with People back in 2013, the actor claimed that he strayed away from the spotlights of Hollywood in order to pursue his education.
“I’d been going nonstop since I was 8 years old,” said Thomas in an interview with People, “I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break.” The people article also pointed out that Thomas wasn’t just bumming around with his academics either. As he stepped away from his Hollywood career, “he attended Harvard, Columbia, and St. Andrew’s University in Scotland.”
But the actor didn’t completely abandon the show business industry at the time. According to a report by the Huffington Post, he has made several sporadic television appearances in the 2000s. He had small guest appearances on popular television shows such as Veronica Mars, Smallville, and Ally McBeal.
In recent news, Thomas actually reunited with his former onscreen dad and Home Improvement co-star Tim Allen. He made a few guest appearances on Allen’s show Last Man Standing. In fact, he made a total of 4 guest appearances overall from 2013 to 2015. He also went behind the camera and directed 3 episodes throughout that 3-year stretch as well.
In 2015, Taylor played a character named “Randy” – a tribute to the character he portrayed on Home Improvement. And he also appeared alongside another fellow Home Improvement alum Patricia Richardson. Patricia had played Taylor’s mother on Home Improvement and it served as a small reunion for the three of them.
There have been recent talks about a real Home Improvement reboot but it seems like Thomas has retreated from the spotlight yet again. The former child star doesn’t seem to regret his decision to not chase after fame and he’s really in no hurry or under no pressure to jump back into the game that he was once a big player in.
When he was questioned about it in the interview he did with People in 2013, Thomas said, “I never took fame too seriously…When I look back at that 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.”