February 9, 2004 by

Jason Raize

242 comments

Categories: Actors

jraize.jpgJason Raize Rothenberg, the entertainer who played Simba in the Broadway musical “The Lion King,” committed suicide on Feb. 3. The 28-year-old actor was in Yass, Australia when he died.

A New York native, Raize decided to become an actor when he was still in middle school. He studied drama at the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York City and the Perry-Mansfield School for Performance Art in Colorado. He performed in numerous stage productions, including “La Cage aux Folles,” “Oklahoma!,” “The King and I,” “West Side Story” and “Twelfth Night” before landing roles in the national tours of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Miss Saigon.” Then in 1997, he took on the part of the adult Simba, a role he played on Broadway for almost three years.

Raize signed a contract with Universal Records and recorded his debut album, “NYC,” with writer/producer Desmond Childs for Deston Records, but it was never released. His cover of the song, “The Sounds of Silence,” was included on the 1998 compilation, “The Paul Simon Album: Broadway Sings the Best of Paul Simon.”

In 2003, Raize provided the voice of Denahi, an Ice Age boy who does battle with a bear in the Disney movie, “Brother Bear.” It was recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. When he wasn’t singing or acting, Raize worked as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program.

242 Responses to Jason Raize

  1. Kostas

    Jason, I hope you find peace and love where you are. I am really sorry you couldn’t find them here. Your gentle soul and kind aura will be remembered by all of us that were lucky enough to meet you. Bon voyage my good friend, you’ll be sorely missed, until we meet again!

  2. Carrie

    It seems that Jason’s death has hit many very hard, and no wonder. You only had to meet him once to know his kindness and sensitivity, and he will be missed by friends, acquaintances, and fans alike.

  3. nozibele

    i am really sadded to hear sucha talented and beautiful man has taken his own life. i cant even begin to imagine why he would do that.. it seemed as if he had the world to look foward to. i enjoyed him as simba and no one will evercompare to his energy and vitality and chrisma s simba in he lion king.

  4. B

    I know many have said “why would he do that?” I have asked myself that millions of times. He probably had something going on that the public is unaware of. To Jason: I miss you and your voice. I really wish I got to meet you sometime…until we meet for the first time. Love you and miss you,
    Jason’s Fan

  5. Alison

    i am very sad to hear he has taken is life… he was so good in the show the lion king and i just went to see it with then new cast march 20th but the adult simba’s voice couldnt even compare to jason’s…he will alway be loved and missed… i hope he has found his happiness wherever he is.
    – Ali <3
    Love you Jason

  6. Joe V

    I wish you could tell me why you committed suicide and how you did it? But you can’t, so I want you to know I am your biggest #1 fan. I loved you as Simba and I wished you were playing Simba in the Broadway Lion King in Chicago, you would’ve done a lot better than the one I saw. I wish I could’ve met you one day. But until we meet for the first time.
    Love you, miss your voice, miss your acting, miss your singing.
    Your biggest fan, Joe V.

  7. Phil Perry

    Tears for Our Lion
    In Memory of Jason Raize, Our King of Broadway.
    —————————————
    You’ve touched so many with your talent and song.
    Everyone thought you were so strong.
    You promised you’d be there.
    Why is life so unfair?
    Fans were behind you right from the start.
    Even before you won the Simba part.
    Why did you have to go?
    Everyone loves you, didn’t you know.
    In our hearts we hear you sing, and feel
    the happiness you would bring.
    Broadway’s lights have begun to fade,
    without the great music that you made.
    The memories of you will last forever.
    Feel the love we give to you forever, and ever.
    Listen to our prayers and praise. You will
    be loved and eternally missed..
    Hold us close in your heart Jason Raize.
    Dark is the Day……..
    Phil K Perry
    Copyright

  8. Michael D Rivera

    I started to listen to his songs, just when I assisted to one of the lion king events i think i was 5 weeks ago.. on NY, Jason really got my atention so I’d buy the CD of The lion king.. his voice really touched my heart..
    With love your fan of Puerto Rico, Michael David.
    sorry about my speech.. i originally talk spanish
    I really felt bad, for what happen… I lost a friend ago…
    Jason Rest in peace…

  9. John

    I will not be able to listen to “Endless Night” without shedding a tear for such a beautiful and talented young person. It is truly a tragedy and he will be missed.
    A fan

  10. Would've loved you

    Why would you take your own life? Were you so far that God couldn’t reach you? Did you need to be loved? If our paths crossed, I would’ve loved you as a friend or beloved. I would’ve loved you.
    God restore our souls that we may have your desire for LIFE.

  11. Carly

    When I first heard of his death, I was on broadway.com, browsing to see if I could find some news, while drinking a glass of wine at the same time. When I read the story, my wine glass dropped and my sister came rushing in. She asked me what was wrong, and I told her, through tears and sadness, “Simba is dead.” She started crying too and we held each other for what seemed like hours.
    Maybe I should explain more. My sister and I were at Jason’s last performance as Simba in “The Lion King”- August 20, 2000. We got the chance to go backstage and meet him and the rest of the cast. As soon as I walked in to his dressing room, he immediately greeted me with a friendly, “Hi, I’m Jason. You must be Carly! How are you?” We talked for one hour, until he had to pack up some of his things and leave. He gave us pictures, autographs, and many hugs.
    Now, as I look back, I’m so glad I got the chance to be touched by this young man and his wonderful work. I’m just sad his life was cut short. :(
    So I say this to Jason- Rest in peace, dear love, and may you be raised high above on gold chariots adorned with love and peace.
    *~Carly~*

  12. Rebecca

    I new Jason for an entire season when he was at the Bucks County Playhouse when I was 15 and I had a huge crush on him. He was more then happy to flirt with me thus encourging the crush.
    I was there when he celebrated his 18th Birthday during rehersals for “Oliver!”. My brother who was 9 at then time was one of the orphans in the show and he a Jason became very good friends. I’ll never forget when during one performance while singing and dancing to “Consider Yourself” Jason picked my brother up and turned him upside down. This was not in the cherography and you hear my brother yell “Jason, put me down!” whlie everyone else was singing, I was very funny and a nice memory. I saw him play Lun Tah in “King and I” which is where I first hear his wonderful voice apart form a chorus and later that season Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera”. I’ll never forget his performance as Rocky in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” wearing a gold g-string. olied and glitterd-what a body he had on him too. I never got to perform on stage with him but he made it a point to come and see my brother and I in shows that we were in during the season. Always ready with a hug. Even brought me a bag of ice when I was at the theater just days after knee surgery.
    He was a wonderful person and truly talented. In this day of Reality TV real talent is being threatened and loosing Jason is another blow.
    I’ll miss you always

  13. Joey

    I’m just finding out about this now. I worked with Jason very briefly on a project in Summer 2002. I am saddened to hear of his passing, especially having lost a family member to suicide in 1997.
    He will be in my thoughts.

  14. Mike Maples

    My God, I can’t believe it. I don’t think I’ve ever been this affected by an actor’s death. His voice was an inspiration, a gift, a rare & beautiful gift that he gave so freely. This is truly a loss. I pray he finds the love that he couldn’t find here, and I know, even the angels give pause to hear his loving voice.
    “I know that the clouds must clear, and that the sun will rise, and I hear your voice deep inside.” from ENDLESS NIGHT, sung by Jason Raize in THE LION KING.
    You will always be apart of those that heard you.
    Mike Maples

  15. Megan Laface

    When I heard of Jason’s death, I thought IMDb got it wrong as it sometimes does. But when I searched on the internet, It was all over the place. I knew someone who’s university prof. was Jason’s father. As he said, Jason had a problem drinking and knew no way out. Jason may be gone in body, but he lives in spirituality, family, friends and fans hearts, and in any other way known to man kind. I technically will think of this as a joke until I see he grave… Rest in Peace, ‘Denahi’.

  16. Megan

    Oh yeah, I forgot to add that Jason’s CD supposed to come out this year… (If you have the Lion King Platinum Edition on DVD, watch the second disc. It has Jason singing in the backround somewhere, the non CD version. Its very beautiful. go to http://shibu.deviantart.com eventually because I inspired a person to draw Denahi (Brother Bear) dressed as Simba. It’ll be up sometime… Just thought I’d add that, and there are some pictures of Denahi there, too.)

  17. Tatiana

    I might know why Jason commited suicide: he felt that Disney turned his back on him. He did a number of things for Disney: A song on one of their CD’s, his own show with him traveling and meeting different animals, 2 tv movies, the Lion King Broadway, and a voice for Brother Bear. While they were developing the sequel, I think Disney laid him off because they no longer are doing animation. The other actors were laid as well, but Jason took it as the worst. That was the only time I heard him act, and I loved his singing. The same as a title song that he sang, “He Lives in You.” Its true, his spirit will never be forgotten by true fans of his. His album’s coming out this year, so buy it.

  18. Lon

    I just learned of the “lion’s” death. I am very sad to know that Jason is gone from this home but I know he has “found his way home”. May you rest and have endless peace. It makes me cry when I hear him sing Endless Night. I guess you were singing from a deeper place then we all knew.

  19. Nala

    “And then the sun will shine, and then the sun will shine,
    I know that the clouds must clear,
    And then the sun will shine, and then the sun will shine…”
    I REALLY love TLKoB and Jason did great as Simba. I will miss him and so do others. “He lives” in us! My friend’s mom had cancer and she died awhile ago. Brother Bear was so touching to him because his mom and he was literely crying when he heard this. R.I.P. Jason Raize : )

  20. don welch

    i am literally stunned! i work in this business and am usually up on all the news. i just finished rehearsal with the cast of one of my shows and was listening to some cds, and i have a cd single of jason”taste the tears” from somewhere, and i thought i’d go on google to see what he was up to these day ………and……i’m just stunned!!! God bless his soul….what in the world happened my beautiful friend??? jesus!!!

  21. Janet

    I am truely sadned to hear about Jason’s death. He had a promising future and he was going to do so much….I am so shocked to hear of his death.

  22. BJT15

    I Pray Your at Peace I saw Jason on Broadway in the Lion King Aug 20 2000, I still listen to his songs.Its crazy I just typed his name in yahoo to learn a little more about him, and I just found out of his passing. I am very sad to read this. What a Talent MAY HE BE WITH GOD AND AT PEACE

  23. Beatriz

    I learnt a few days ago about Jason’s death and I still cannot get it off my mind, what can make someone to do something like that? I’m very sorry and I hope he’s found a better place to be now. I’ll never forget him.

  24. Carole

    The song “Endless Night” just keeps playing in my head…again and again and I keep asking why…Whatever the reason, The Lion King lives on. RIP.

  25. Tim Watanabe

    Nobody will ever compare to your voice and talent as the original Simba in TLK on Broadway. Your song Endless Night inspires me to overcome and obstacles life throws at me. I only wish I got to see you perform in person. When I see The Lion King on Broadway for the first time on December 9, 2004 you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Long Live the King.
    Tim
    Kirkland, WA

  26. Diddy

    I can’t believe it. I only knew him because he filmed a Disney Concert special with Jessica Simpson. I hope his family is okay. And my thoughts go out to anyone who has worked with him and knew him personally.

  27. Colin

    It is now November and I have just heard of Jasons death. I am so upset. I knew Jason. I loved his performance as Simba and somehow or other ( funny – I can’t remember how ) we became friends. We spent some good time together which I can never forget in 1998 and 1999 when my work in the music business took me to New York. I never worked with Jason myself but he was always a delight to be with. If he had issues with drinking or anything else I never saw the slightest sign of it. He talked to me often about his career and his hopes for the future, playing me his work in progress Desmond Child recordings. I visited him in his apartment in New York. When he came to London in July 1998 he visited me at home. In Los Angeles we had a memorable night together at the Grammy Awards in 1998. I have not been to America since 1999, so we became out of touch, even though we talked on the phone late 1999 and I knew Simba in New York was coming to an end………..he had such bright hopes for the future. I have often thought the world is a brighter place because Jason was somewhere in it. My heart is sad tonight. So much loss.

  28. Amy Bruce

    I am sorry that worlds lion king star has died in feb 9 04 I send my repects to jason’s family and I did enjoy his proformence in the lion king broad way in LA, and I just found out today also I am crying while I’m typeing this tribute.
    Ps. I am a new fan
    Love You Always, Little Amy.

  29. Talia

    You are in our memories Jason. I pray for your family as they mourn your death. We love and miss you. You have touched many lives even the people who have only seen you in your preformances are sad you left.
    God Bless!

  30. Maria

    I just found out that this wonderful, handsome and extraordinarly talented young man has left us. The circle of life has drawn to a close, but he will live on in the hearts of everyone whose life he touched, whom he made smile with his own loving, bright and wonderful smile or whose heart was touched by hearing him sing. The silencing of his voice is deafening.

  31. Joe Velazquez

    Jason Raize, I will always miss you even though I never met you. Why’d you have to die, why’d you have to take your life? I love you as Simba, you were perfect for the role. You were a little better than Matthew Broderick. Why were your arm movements for “Endless Night” different from in the Chicago version. Yours were much better. I will always remember you. I will miss you…so much. (Sobs) Goodbye, my Simba.
    Your friend, from Aurora Illinois, Joe Velazquez

  32. Chris

    I can’t imagine why such a talented, young man would take his life. It certainly can’t be because he might have been gay, as another post here asks. The theater community is full of gay people, so it wouldn’t have mattered as fas as a stage career goes. Maybe he felt depressed about his career; maybe he had a drinking problem, as another poster indicates. Whatever his problems were, I wish he had reached out to others to help him work through them. He will be missed even by those of us who only knew him through seeing him in Lion King.

  33. Craig

    I was so sad when I fonud out that Jason had left us. He was so wonderfully talented in everything, it is a deep loss for everyone. Whenever I watch you sing He lives in you on the Rosie O’donell clip it always lifts my spirits. I thank you for that and may god be with you

  34. Nala

    I still can’t believe that Jason is gone, even now over a year later. I am just beyond words even now. 2004 will be remembered by me as one of the worst years of my life, not only did we lose a telented and handsome young man but I lost two very precious souls in my own life.
    Many you finally have found happiness, Jason, even if it wasn’t with me.
    I love you.

  35. Dola

    ‘Endless Night’ was, is and always will be my favourite song on the Lion King Theatre album. There is such a sincereity in Jason’s rendition of it, and I am moved to tears to know that that voice, that soul is no longer with us.
    Rest in peace, Jason. You are sorely missed.

  36. Tocara/Kyla

    Me and my sister just became horribly obsessed with the Lion King. We recently found out that you passed and now we feel as if the Lion King means nothing. Why’d ya have to go like that??? We miss you even though you don’t know us… we feel as if you have been part of our lives. Rest In Peace mane… Much Luv!

  37. Krysta

    I never met Jason, and I haven’t been a lucky one to see him in concert, but he was such a talent young man. Only 28, it such a shame. I think he was the best Simba of them all, and I hope he found the peace he was looking for.

  38. Sarah

    There are few actor that come into our lives that not only entertain us but sincerely move us and Jason was one of them. He had the ability to move an audience with one note because it came from his soul and into ours. Even though you may not have known it you did move people and you are missed. Condolances and hugs go out to his family and friends on their great loss.

  39. kiki+jana

    It’s unbelievable.. we’re from germany (so do not mind our bad english) and we’ve just noticed this message on the internet a few days ago. we’re very sad about jason’s death. we can’t imagine any reasons for it. well, we’ve never seen him in reallife, but loved him. he was the best simba ever. we’re listening to “endless night” while typing.
    I’m trying to hold on
    Just waiting to hear your voice
    One word, just a word will do
    To end this nightmare
    Du lebst in uns weiter!!!

  40. Yukari

    Tonight, I watched my 14th the Lion King at OCPAC. Although it was still a wonderful performance as usual, I believe Simba could not be more perfect than Jason’s Simba…
    I have listened the CD over and over since I watched my first TLK in Tokyo in 2001.
    His voice made me to dream to work in the musical industry….
    Thank you Jason.
    Sleep in peace forever.

  41. Craig

    Jason, I pray for you and your family every night that you are in peace. Every day when I listen or watch you sing it makes me so sad and happy. I just wish I could have met you to see the wonderful person you were and always will be.
    BUSA SIMBA

  42. Stahi

    I heard of his death about 3 days after it happened and, needless to say, I was devastated. And like many of the others who’ve posted I cannot go through “Endless Night” without shedding a tear or two. I’m sure he had his reasons for doing what he did but I only wish he had sought help before performing the ultimate act.
    I’m trying to hold on
    Just waiting to hear your voice
    One word, just one word will do
    ..To end this nightmare
    As I said when I posted the news elsewhere.. His endless night is over, and may he rest in peace.

  43. Maire

    I just found out today that Jason committed suicide. I feel horrible that I hadn’t found out sooner. Anyway, a few hours ago I came home from the New Amsterdam Theatre after seeing the Lion King for the second time. It reminded me of when I saw it for the first time at Broadway with my younger sister and my dad (who died from cancer six months ago). I think I was probably 12…? I remember how I felt when I saw Jason sing, when he defeated Scar, and everything else was exhilerating! I just can’t imagine why he would take his own life when he had such a good thing goin.
    When I saw the Lion King for the first time is one of my favorite memories that I had with my dad, and I wanna thank Jason for that. I will never forget, because that was probably the happiest time that I had with my dad. I hope that where ever he is he’s at peace.
    Thank you Jason. You’ll never know how much it meant to me when I saw you walk up Pride Rock and roar. God bless you.

  44. Lizzy

    Dear Jason,
    Although you probably will never get to see these tributes to you and your great voice, and see the person who is sending this…I hope this message gets to you in some way. I’m 14 years old and have been touched so with the sound of your voice, even though I’ve never met you nor seen you perform. I constantly repeat Endless night…everytime I listen to your voice I get goosebumps and tears swell in my eyes. I know no one may be able to figure out why you committed suicide or what was going on in your head…but no one has to know. I do want you to know however you are truly missed even by those who have never met you and I can only imagine how much people love you that are so close to you. I will never think of Endless Night the same way, and no one will compare to the beauty of your voice. I don’t want to make you feel guilty for what you did and you shouldn’t feel guilty…you did what you had to do or what you felt is right…I will never know but I do know you have such power, whether you know it or not. I hope being affiliated with the Lion King had nothing to do with you committing suicide because of what i hear on the recording…wow wow and wow you really are amazing. “I know/ Yes, I know/ The sun will rise/ Yes, I know/ I know/ The clouds must clear…” Hope all is well and that you have found what you were looking for wherever you may be.
    Love always,
    Lizzy

  45. Maire

    Dear Jason,
    I it might be a little early for me to be writting another tribute, but your death still has me stunned. I remember now, of how old I was when I went to see you on Broadway in the Lion King, and I was a little off by 2 years; I was 10. But anyway, I just wanted to let you know, and I wish that I could’ve told you in person, that I had a GREAT time. I still love to reminisce about it.
    I don’t know what else to say, only that I’m angry that your dead. Heck, I’m angry that I lost my cousin in 2001 when he was 32 (drugs), and I’m angry at the fact that I just lost my dad.
    It’s just that, one of the other tributes that I’ve read was from one of your fans who said that, “Simba is Dead.” I think that’s the saddest way to put it, and it won’t stop ringing in my head. And what’s really heartbreaking, is that it’s actually true :`(
    But another thing that’s also true, is that life still goes on and as humans we have to go on too. I still won’t forget your beautiful voice, and the best time I had during childhood. RIP Jason.
    Love,
    Mary Ann

  46. Nathan

    I know this will be of little comfort to the family of Jason, but I feel I owe it to him to at least say it, even if nobody cares.
    A couple years back, while I was still in high school and without any hint of a clue as to what I wanted to do with my life, I was priviledged enough to see “The Lion King” on stage with my family. After walking out of that show, I knew I wanted theatre and music to play some role in my life, possibly even be an occupation. When I got home, I immediately went online and researched the show. I found some great sites and learned how Jason had originated the role of Simba. I even got to see some performances of his on various talk shows such as Rosie Odonnel’s show.
    As soon as the theatre season started again the next year at my high school, I got involved. I auditioned for and was casted in every single show that the school had to offer, an astounding feat for a newcomer.
    Today, the theatre, specifically musical theatre, remains an integral part of my life. “The Lion King”, and, in part, Jason himself, helped to give my life some direction and meaning. Although I was never able to meet Jason and tell him personally how much I envied him for his talent, I still feel priviledged to have been able to see him perform, even if it was only on a talk show.
    Thank you Jason.

  47. farah

    god why? i know about wanting to commit suicide. i wish u had someone to console u b4 u did. to let u know u r worthy of being on earth. everyday it is a struggle to not have thoughts of committing suicide but i talk myself throuh the pain. and u had more than me: talent, fame, looks. but i know that is not enough when u r in pain. i used to watch your animal program and was sad when it stopped airing. i too saw u on programs like “good morning america” in nyc. what a beautiful voice and personality. u always seemed 2 b smiling. i used 2 check your website all the time. u crossed my mind in the last couple of weeks. how horrified i am to learn of your death. a true shock! rest in peace precious one.

  48. SimbaGirl

    I remember hearing about this roughly a year ago…I wish I’d had the chance to hear him sing in the Lion King Broadway show. I’ve never had the chance, though. But I still want to see it. I just know it won’t be as beautiful without his part in the giving. I do have the soundtrack. And I love to listen to him sing Endless Night.
    This was purely a shame. And it breaks my heart that a guy with so much talent and splendor could be so empty inside that he’d take his own life…
    *sigh*
    Sincerely,
    Abigail M. (SG), from NC, USA.

  49. Paul

    I saw Jason as Simba in NYC. His genuininess brought tears to my eyes. That geniuness is on the album, and still makes me well up on occasion.
    Sadly, I heard the tragic news of Jason death this past Saturday. And on Sunday, I had seats to the closing night show at OCPAC.
    To Jason, I cannot express how sad I am for you and your family. No doubt that you had many things on your mind that seemed too hard to deal with. I wished you had learned what I had: That suicide is a permanent soulution to temporary problem. I hope you have found the peace you longed for. May your soul be in a better place. You and your family are in my prayers.
    Regarding TLK perfomance I saw last night, Brandon Louis (current Simba) had tears in his eyes as he stood atop pride rock in the plays final moments. Naturally, so did I.
    Life does go on, but the world will not be the same without you Jason. Thank you for being a special part of my life, now and always!
    Peace!

  50. Jewelyn

    I already had the Lion King cd,lost it and got another.Hadn’t played the song “Endless Night” since “He Lives in You” was my favorite.Not anymore-Jason’s voice is unbelieveable! Why we always have the best singers without major records deals stinks.He will never be forgotten and I don’t think I’ve heard a better singer and I heard them all-almost!I hope he’s at peace and I know he’s missed.

  51. Jewelyn

    I wanted to add that I also saw the Lion King on Broadway but after Jason was gone.I also pulled his name up on the internet to see what was going on in his life since his voice was incredible.Shocked that he was gone I felt like I knew him.If this song is his legacy it is fitting and at the same time tragic for if the words of “Endless Night” did not give him comfort what would have? I have been very depressed but listening to him gives me comfort and suicide is so final.I keep seeing him alone but I hope the sun did rise for him in heaven.

  52. Tammy

    I also loved Jason’s voice. I have been thinking about the earlier poster who mentioned that Jason was into crystal meth. It seems this would explain newspaper articles that say he’d been estranged from his family and friends for 2 years before his death. These articles also mentioned he wasn’t showing up for work, and thathe’d disappear from work.
    It is so sad that someone so talented could get on the wrong path, but I guess he’s not the first person to do so. Let’s learn a lesson from it.

  53. Richard G Wajda

    It was nice to read all these blogs about Jason. I became friends with Jason 9 years ago. He was truly a nice person. If you ever got to meet Jason, his smile, would probably be the most memorable feature. Unfortunatley none of us really knew how depressed he was. I spoke to three of his cousins at the memorial service last year. Everyone said that they knew he was depressed, but that was the way he always was. He moved to Australia 9 months prior to his death. He learned of the Yass Australia when filming his show “Keeping It Wild” He would up living on a ranch. He loved Australia so much, that he thought because he was so happy there, that living there would help him. Sadly it did not. Jason hung himself in a barn on the ranch.
    The story is endless. But I will say this. His family is doing well. I speak to his mother every few weeks. She and her husband are living outside of Boston, and are busy with their garden. The holiday season in 1994 was hard for them, but they got through it. Jason’s sister Lisa is also doing well, raising her children. His Dad and step mom are well too. I have not spoken to them, but Jasons’ mom keeps me updated.
    I think about Jason probably every day. His death, I don’t think I will ever get over, but it is a learning experience for me. I learned to live for the moment. I learned to truly watch the people you love, becasue as much as people always smile and appear happy does not mean everything is always perfect.
    Jason is a part of my heart, and I feel that his spirit lives.
    Richard G Wajda

  54. John Juergens

    Jason – If you only knew how much we miss your voice….your talent…your smile. I remember the first time I heard you sing. It was the opening night of “The Lion King” when they were developing the show in Minneapolis. I just sat there in awe. It was an incredible experience…and night. It’s something you never forget.
    We will never forget you.

  55. Jennifer

    From the theatre training, to Lion King, Jason Raize was breathtaking from the first. With a kindred spirit,and a smile radiating from within you will always shine in my mind. Though a year later, I just now found out that Jason passed, I just happened to be thinking about him one night and decided to check on his site. What a shock!!!!Resonating through my mind is the neverending energy and jovial charisma with wich he performed on Disney and Broadway once, my heartfelt condolences. My heart aches for such a waste, let this serve as a wake up call to all who judge, that nothing is ever as it seems, take the time to ensure that your friends and loved ones know that in you they have an outlet to vent their feelings and ask for help. My heart aches at such a waste ( I just can’t seem to get over it,so I keep thinking what a waste over and over), and yet the permanence of his dimples when he smiled will always linger on my mind when ever his name should come up or I hear it mentioned “Lion King.” A King indeed…….

  56. Jenny

    I’m from the UK. I hadn’t really heard of Jason Raize before. I’m currently doing my GCSE’s, and whilst studying musicals in music, my teacher brought in the Lion King album and I heard a few songs and thought it was really kool! So I went out and bought it.. and listened in awe at Jason’s voice. I decided to do a bit of research and find out what he’s doing now and what other stuff he’s done to see if I could listen to any other stuff he’s done. I was so horrified to find out he’d committed suicide.. he was so talented and gorgeous also. He really had everything. Listening to the Lion King CD makes me feel really sad now because I can’t stop thinking about what a great loss it is to the world. After hearing the CD I wanted to see the Broadway (even though I’m in England…) but if Jason’s not in it… it wouldn’t be the same.. Rest in Peace Jason x

  57. Nico

    I have been totally moved by you Jason. I hope you are in a better place. You inspired me to be in Broadway, specifically, The Lion King. May you Rest in Peace. Much Love. <3 Thank you for everything. You will be severely missed.

  58. ryan black

    I can’t hold back the tears that well up in my eyes right now. I can’t believe I’m just finding out. I think about you once and a while and checked to see what you were up to. I can’t believe it. I met you in college when we were so young and full of hopes and dreams. We dreamt of being on Broadway and recording an original cast album and originating a character. Guess what, you fulfilled those dreams. Did you keep on dreaming? I am so pist right now. We may have lost touch, but I’ll cherish seeing you on 41st street after your Lion King and talking about old times. I wish I would’ve told you right then how much I envied you making your dreams come true. You were so admired in college. Everyone had high hopes for you. I wanted your voice and talent. Remember our Sam Sheperd scene together?! We were well before our time. I remember so clearly the way you belted out Mama a Rainbow with tears in your eyes. The way you sang At the RKO from My Favorite Year. Do you realize that I still sing those songs because of you? I remember when you broke school policy and auditioned for Miss Saigon. I truly did not believe you got called back. Well that was egg on my face later, because you played Thuy. If only you could’ve known how admired you were.
    I love you J and I wish you were here so I could say it face to face.
    All my prayers for your family.

  59. Richard G Wajda

    Just to let you all know, I spoke with Jason’s mom the other day after his birthday. She is doing OK, and she is keeping busy. Sarah appreciates all the nice thoughts that people write in here, and other forums. I do share them with her.
    Richard G Wajda

  60. heart broken

    I found out about Jason’s death one day after seeing the Lion King on broadway, on the 17th of July. It shocked me, and the only reason I looked up his name was because I had literally “fallen in love” with his voice. I own the Lion King cd, and the first time I heard him sing, I remember thinking, “Geez, what an honor it would be to meet this guy”. Now, unfortunately, I never will be able to-at least not in this life. I’m not sure why his death has hit me so hard…I guess it’s such a tragedy to lose someone so kind and talented-a rare combo in today’s world. I may be young, but I am also a singer and a dancer, and Jason has inspired me beyond belief. I hope that he is at peace, and that his family will be able to celebrate his life. Recently a friend of my family also took his own life, so I know how hard it is. Be strong-my prayers are with you all.
    <3

  61. heart broken

    I know I just posted something yesterday, but I feel like I just haven’t expressed enough the loss I felt when the news of his death reached my eyes. It was a horrible feeling, and I was surprised at the reaction I felt, considering the only connection I had to him was through the cd. However, I still cried as though he was a member of my own family, and so I can’t even imagine how this man’s family carried on. You are truly courageous people, and I admire you for that.
    I have been reading other people’s posts, and it is amazing how this man touched so many lives simply by the gift of voice. I am one of those lives. It would have been a dream come true to have been able to meet Jason and tell him what many others have already told him- You are an amazing person, and you have touched my heart with your gift.
    I cannot say enough how sad it is to realize that I will never be able to see him perform, but I feel lucky enough to have the ability to turn on the cd whenever I want and just listen to him. I pray for him every day, and will continue.
    Prayers to his friends and family, and may he always sing to the angels…
    “Where has the starlight gone?
    Dark is the day…”
    <3

  62. Linda

    Jason…you had the voice of an angel and I wish I could have met you. I too learned of your death after the fact. I am so sorry that you did not feel loved, because, believe me, you are loved.

  63. Linda G.

    I worked in “The Company” with Jason for the one season he performed at the Bucks County and Pocono Playhouses. He was 18 and full of life, jokes, mischief and passion for the theater and all things related to his craft. His later success on B-way was delightful to see. His loss is deep and can never be fully explained nor understood by those left behind…but his memory and music wil live on in the minds and hearts of those he touched. I hope he has found peace.

  64. Alison

    I just saw “The Lion King” on Broadway this past weekend and I absolutely LOVED it, it’s is fascinating beyond words. I’ve had the soundtrack for quite awhile and I always wondered about Jason Raize b/c his voice is so breathtaking on the soundtrack. Imagine my incredible SHOCK when I found out he is no longer with us! That is definitely the last thing I expected and I am so sad to hear that. He had a truly fascinating voice and was a spectacular rarity among artists. The soundtrack will have new meaning when I hear it now. Jason, I know you don’t know me and u’ll never read this, but even though I never saw you in the role of Simba, I was a fan of yours and I wish you were still here. You are greatly missed obviously by millions of people. I am sorry you were sad and distraught. I hope that wherever you are, the clouds have cleared and the sun has risen. Your fans will be singing Endless Night to you always and you will always live in us.
    *~Alison~*

  65. Marke

    News of Broadway travels very slow to the west coast. What a horrible shame. I only learned of the gift of Jason’s talent from The Lion King soundtrack and an appearance on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Upon reviewing/editing old tapes, was recently reminded of his beauty, in looks, voice & charm [not to mention that winning smile].
    It seems inconceivable that someone with so much going for him could feel compelled, driven, to take it all. However, since I too have had deep, dark, endless periods of believing that there is no other option, I can not be bitter, but extend love & compassion.
    As this weekend [Labor Day 2005] is seeing the aftermath of Katrina, I wish for all there who’ve had to go the peace & wonder of being with God. As an earthly Goodwill ambassador, Jason can sing them through to the other side.
    A touring company of The Lion King will finally play in Portland, OR later this month. Even though Jason would not have been in the cast, it will seem impossible not to be saddened by his absence.
    Love & Peace be with you.

  66. Sandy

    I just learned of Jason’s passing recently while on a Disney message board, and I was devastated when I learned that it was suicide. I’ve always loved his voice, so much that I sang Endless Night for a talent contest not too long ago…
    Jason, you’ve touched many lives, more than you probably realized yourself. Not only with your voice, but also with your heart. The work you did for the Kosovo refugees will never be forgotten. I hope you found peace in the next world, as you will be missed in this one…
    Goodbye Jason, you will live on in all of our hearts.

  67. sara joann hodges

    Jason,
    I only meet you once but my brother Chris Jackson who tookt he role of Simba after you left talked about you and had nothing but good things to say. when i was younger and i first met you I told my brother you were so cute and i remember putting your picture from the play bill in a heart-shaped locket. I was convienced i was going to marry you. well i pray that you were saved beofre you took your life and i hope to meet you again in Heaven some day….RIP!
    Chris Jackson’s lil sis
    Sara Hodges

  68. Emily

    I love his song Lovin’ You Lovin’ Me and he voiced Denahi from Brother Bear. He died at a young age. But what did he do to commit suicide? Did he shoot himself, fall from a roof, or do drugs too much? I don’t know why he did it or how. He still has a great voice.

  69. Helene

    Jason was a great singer.How do I know this- I got the original Broadway cast recording cd of the lion king on broadway.Jason was an awesome singer and i will say a prayer to him.I luv to sing too!I tried out for the cheeta tour for the lion king on broadway and made it to the final five!!Thats preety good for your first audition!!I send Jason all of my luv!!
    -Helene-

  70. linda

    Speechless….I saw Jason in Lion King and was sooo
    TAKEN by his voice that I lost track
    of the story line!!! I searched (endlessly) for a
    CD of Jason’s and finally found one. I will TREASURE it forever.
    I am the mother of a 28 year old….can not understand the pain of this GREAT
    loss. My tears are for Jason’s family and friends.
    From the heart….a fan

  71. Helene

    It’s Helene again and i still feel horrible about what happened.I pray for Jason every night since i heared.send Jason all my love.
    ~Helene Alam~

  72. Helene

    It’s Helene. Again. I am soo sorry for Jason’s parents.It probably feels really bad. My birthday is in December and My parents are taking my friend and I to New York and we are going to see The Lion King On Broadway!!!! I will have Jason in my heart always. I still say a prayer for Jason every night before I go to bed and from now on I am greatful for what I have because you never know how much you love someone until you lose them. I send Jason all of my love from my heart. Luv Alwayz- xo~Helene~xo

  73. Abby

    Jason,
    My heart is heavy to think that you have taken your life. I am sad that we lost touch, my friend, that I might not have been there to help you through your darkest hour. You are missed in this world, your enthusiasm and your dreams.
    All my love and my condolences to those who loved you,
    Abby

  74. Drew

    Jason…what can I say that hasn’t already been said? I never got the privilage to meet you in person, but I feel like I know you as a friend. Being an actor and singer myself, I know what singing with passion sounds like and MY GOD you sang with more passion than I have ever heard. Endless Night will never be the same again knowing what you must have been going through. I feel as if I have lost a close friend, I looked up to you so much, you were everything that I wanted to be. I hope you are in a better place, and have found what you were looking for.
    You promised you’d be there, whenever I needed you
    Whenever I call your name…you’re not anywhere
    -Drew

  75. JENNY

    Such a waste of a young life, for someone very much in his prime. No-one will ever be able to answer the question “Why?”, only Jason knows that. May he be in a more peaceful and happier place now. God rest his soul!!

  76. Chris Demanelis

    Well, here I am two years later. The date Febuary 3, 2006. I think we all know what today is. Unfortunately, I never got the privilage to meet Jason Raize, but let me say i’m envious of all who did. I’m 17 years old and Jason Raize is and always will be my idol. God Bless you Jason Raize. I hope you find what it is you are looking for.

  77. Rebecca

    2 years later and a still I can’t bring myslef to watch “Brother Bear” and my family can’t bring ourselves to see “Lion King” on Broadway.
    I miss you still.

  78. heart broken

    I still can’t believe it, although its been almost 7 months since I first found out. I will listen to the Lion King soundtrack tonight and pray for Jason, and hope that he has found a peaceful place. Prayers to his family and friends.
    <3

  79. RRIver

    Wow hard to believe time has passed on, still Jason’s performance on stage was truly a testimony to the beauty of the arts, to see him dance and sing with such stunning grace and hear such a glorious voice a consummate talent– he remains a bright indelible mark on my Broadway memories. Jason’s artisty is immortal in all of us…

  80. greg m

    I had NO IDEA that Jason had died! I was reading
    Heather Headley’s (his Lion King Co-Star)journal entries and she mentioned his death. I was so shocked! I didn’t know he was Denahi either. My kids love Brother Bear. Such a loss of a great person.

  81. cedric Wilkins

    Dear Jason…
    The frist time I herd you sing endless night I cryed. for god to give someone a voice like that, he must like you a whole lot and as you sang my friend told me what happin to you and I just cryed more.Im so so soooo sad that I naver will get to see you live or to go to one of your shows. your a BIG INSPIRATION for me. I Pray I that I will be blessed to meet you one day to hear you sing. what a person this world has lost I wont say voice because your more then just a voice your a person that I wish I could have helped. I hope your up in heaven singing your little heart out. I once read “Every minute spent angery,is sixty seconds of happiness wasted” so I wont be angry I will just pray that you will find you happiness… love your new fan Cedric Wilkins

  82. Becca

    I decided I wanted to act/sing on B’Way when I heard “Endless Night”.
    Now when I sing, every time I sing, I will remember the talented man who inspired me.
    Goodbye Love, Goodbye.
    –Becca

  83. Chris Parker

    I had no Idea Jason had died. Suidcide is hard because it leaves so many unanswered questions and you never see it coming. I miss my brother Jason P. I will pray for his family and friends. I will continue to play his music. Jason you may be gone but not forgotten. I hope to someday here the NYC album.
    Be at Peace! Jason

  84. Alicia

    Jason was an amazing guy. He has an amazing voice. The song Endless night in the Lion King is amazing i know it isnt the only broadway show/ song that he did but it was the only one that i had seen and i truly would have loved to see the other ones that he has done. Endless night is a song that will always be with me. and i will forever remember Jason anytime that i watch the lion king or anyother broadway show!
    Love you forever and always and you will be missed greatly and noone will ever forget you Jason!!

  85. Troy

    I saw The Lion King on Broadway for the first time, during late 2004. Although I live in Australia and never saw Jason perform, it really made me sad to hear that he took his own life, and that he’ll never be able to see just how many people care — for one, how many people have posted tributes here.
    I’ve always known that he committed suicide, but I had no idea how big this was until I came to this site, more than two years after it happened. I have the sountrack for the musical, and I used to listen to it all the time. Now, not so often, but that will definitely change after today.
    I’m sure that every time I hear his voice, I’ll have to struggle to hold back tears — especially during Endless Night. I am such a huge fan of his.
    God bless you, Jason Raize. I hope you’ve found peace. May you rest in it forever.
    -Troy

  86. Helene

    Jason- I still feel bad about what happened to you. It’s like i’ve known you for all my life. I say a prayer for you every night before i go to bed. One night i just couldn’t take it anymore so i cried. I feel so bad. I will still say a prayer for you every night. Every night of my life. May you have peace now and forever more. God bless you Jason. -Helene-

  87. BRENDAN CALLAHAN

    Back in the late 90’s I worked at Deston (Desmond Child’s label) while Jason was doing Taste the Tears as well as his role as Simba. Over the years I’d do a web search Once in a while to see what good ol’ Jason was up to. I guess it’s been a couple years since I did that, because I’m just finding out about him now. It hit me like a punch in the gut. From the first time I met him, I was floored by his energy, enthusiasm, instant likeability, and sheer star-power. It’s rare to find someone as driven to succeed as Jason was, but even more rare when that intensity is backed by staggering talent; Add in his infectious joy and sincerity, and you go from rare to one-of-a-kind. Perhaps his greatest talent was how he made everyone he met feel like the most important person in the world. It makes me sad to know that he was so troubled. I always marveled at how exhausting it must be to be him. His death was a waste, but his life was incredibly inspiring and I will always be thankful for the time I knew him. My condolences to his family.

  88. linz

    I did not know you personally, but I feel like I’ve known you all of my life. Every time I hear a song you have sung I cant hold back tears, for I loved your acting and singing. Well until we meet Jason, love ya forever and miss ya. May you be at peace.

  89. ismael

    i was finally able to see the lion king again after the fall and i was filled with so much emotion. you don’t understand how much of a void you have left in my heart.
    i will never forget you. never.

  90. Justin

    Hey Jason, I am currently on the Broadway’s production of the Lion King as Young Simba. And everytime I give a backstage tour, I see your picture on the back of the wall and I think, WHY? Even though I never got to meet you, I can still feel your passion as being an entertainer.
    Justin Martin-Young Simba

  91. Kellie

    I can’t believe it. I saw the show about a year ago in california and fell in love with it, and i got the CD right away. I never believed in a million years that the same guy who was singing on the CD i loved so much wasn’t alive anymore. He Will be remembered in my heart for eernity, and i hope he has found peace.

  92. rachel

    I saw Lion King with the original cast. I was about 3 or 4 when I saw it. I will always remember Jason singing “Endless Night”. A few days ago, I saw Lion King again, but not in NYC. The person who played the role of adult Simba was weak. It saddened me to think that Jason will never play the part of Simba again. I have been listening to the original cast recording. It makes me so sad to think that he went through so much pain and felt that the only way out was death. If only he could have listened to the lyrics from the song “Endless Night”.

  93. agnes

    I was listening to lion king original soundtrack this week (a bit too late). The song I really really liked was ‘Endless Night’. I replayed it again and again while I was doing my coursework. Woo! Jason’s beautiful and deep voice shocked me deeply, it made me happy when i know there is still someone on earth as good as him since mozart is dead. It made me sad, when I listened to the lyrics. It made me even more depressed, when I find out that he is dead.
    Last night, I was wondering whether I could contact him in someway. And now the only way I might be able to know him, is through pieces of his works, the memories of him from everyone across the wild wide world.
    Please, please be here with us. Please. Arr…this is so so so un….unfair! I want to see your big beatiful smile and hear your stunning voice again and again again…
    But oh! who can replace you- the mighty king of the theatrical world.

  94. Fatima

    Oh Jason, I cannot play “”Endless Night” of “Lion King” being brought to tears. Why? You were truly God’s gift and I wish I had met you. My heart breaks each time I remember you through your voice and your photos. I saw Lion King in Philadelphia, PA and I just can’t stop thinking of an incredible talent that left so soon. Rest in Peace. Love

  95. Craig

    Happy Birthday again Jason. I just got your Taste the Tears album on CD and I love it. I cant stop listening to your voice because it just makes me so happy and everyday I pray and thankyou for that.

  96. Anne

    Jason,
    I just heard your song this morning, and I have been listening to it since then. I have never heard a voice like yours before. It’s truly amazing. I hope somehow, you get all of these messages that are being sent to you. I will continue to pray for you every night.
    A forever fan,
    Anne

  97. Dick Barr

    Jason,
    I hope you found what you were looking for.
    Like Pippin, you found the ONE THING to make your star shine in one big blaze of glory.
    Even though we parted on not the best of terms, I always followed your career. I was always rooting for you from the wings.
    I wish we all got to see you shine on a lot longer. 2 years later, I’m still googling your name and finding new things. Congratulations Jason. you’ve done more in your short life than most of us will ever do.
    Be at peace.
    -your friend, Rich

  98. Jason Michael Edwards

    I had the pleasure of meeting Jason before his passing and working with him
    Jason,
    Your life was cut short and so many were not able to share it. But your memory will live on forever. I just wish there was something we could have done. But, the night must end and the sun will rise. Your the king brother.

  99. Miguel L III

    I remember the first time I heard ‘Endless Nights.’ I was a senior in high school playing Zazu in our interpretation of The Lion King. Our director had us listen to the broadway soundtrack for more inspiration. I heard Jason, not Simba, talking to me that day. Never have I heard a voice that could look you straight in the face and smile. Jason, you are in my thoughts and reflections always. I never met you but I knew you.

  100. Rebeca

    The first time I heard you sing in the Lion King, you had such a beautiful voice it could make me cry. Every time I hear you sing with that outstanding voice “Endless Night” It brings joy but yet sadness to my heart. To me your soul will remain in my heart and everyone else’s. I never met you but someday I hope I will. In your honor I think there should be a moment of silence so we can all remember you GREAT tallent you had. For me I just wish your spirit was with me every day to cheer me up right now. I hope you rest in peace:)
    A loving Fan,
    Rebeca

  101. Cindy

    your beautiful voice lives on in thousands of homes around the world. you’ve inspired and brought joy to so many. What you left behind was not just valuable, it was priceless.
    Thank you,
    cindy

  102. Rebeca

    Continuing from what I said before,I hope you rest in peace:) If god gave everyone a second chance to live he would of gave you that chance. I hare on the radio the The Lion king is the most top rated broadway shows ever. If you were still alive everyone would be so proud of what you are doing:)Let me say it again, I hope you rest in peace<3:)

  103. Chris Demanelis

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006.
    One more day has passed. I have listened to the Original Broadway Cast recording of The Lion King on Broadway countless times. I have watched the videos of Jason singing “Endless Night”, and “He Lives in You” on youtube about a million times. But, everytime I hear his voice, I break out into tears. Not because of his death, but more so of his talent. When I watch the videos I can see the character come to life in his eyes. I only wish I could have seen him live. I’ve seen the traveling show live 3 times. Once in Pittsburgh, and twice in Baltimore. I have not been to a show that I haven’t enjoyed, but I have always found some disapointment in the actor playing Simba. Not that the actors aren’t talented, but when I listen to the cd and watch the videos of Jason, their is something else their. Something that I have yet to see, or hear another actor capture. -Chris D.

  104. yann

    Guy, the lion king french version is now nearly showing up. i was in the workshop but was finally kicked out. i just know endless night with your voice and tones, breath and intentions. knowing that u passed away makes it hard for me to still have dreams and to still be working hard because i just wonder people could see how i feel inside. i try to make the right decisions and to stay me. but is it worth all that? if, one day, i bring the comfort hearing u brings me maybe that ‘ll be kinda answer to me… thks for what u give me.

  105. Rebeca

    I hope you fill everyones heart with love and joy. You have brought everyone really good memories, to share with the younger generation of kids<3
    A loving Fan
    Rebeca

  106. Kaylee

    Jason,i only knew him when i was about three,he was a friend of my family’s,but what i know,he was a magnificent person,and ,i wish i could know him even better.may god tell you the love we have for you here on earth,every moment you wake up.when i dance and sing,i think of you.WE love you.

  107. Olivia

    Dear Jason,
    I am so sorry to hear about this unexpected tragety. I just don’t think I am ever going to listen to Endless Night without sheading tears of pain.I just wanted to let you know that you were truly gifted and incredibly talented and loved by many. God, whenever I hear your voice in Endless Night, I just get chills all over. You had the voice of a true angel, Jason. You really inspired me to become a Broadway actress and I hope that one day that I will follow in your footsteps. However, no one will compare to you and your love for the stage. Rest in Pease, Jason, My King of the Pridelands. I know you will “Live in Me.”
    ~ Olivia ~

  108. lindsay

    dear jason,
    even though i did not know you personally i loved you as though i did. when i found out about your passing i was very sad. i learned about what you did and how you had a love for animals as well as singing and acting. you inspired me to want to go and be in the “lion king” one day and you also sparked my interest in the theater. not many friends relate to me and how i feel but i think that anyone who loves the theater would. i have few friends who like the theater but they love my voice and dancing skills. when i am in the shower i constantly sing your songs my fave being “endless night”. i am going to New York in March to see some plays and i get to go to a dance center that is acctually on broadway. every time i dance i think of you and it makes me try even harder so until we meet jason rest in peace. I LUV YOU!
    LOVE,
    LINDSAY A LOYAL FAN

  109. Leonel

    SOY DE ARGENTINA,NO SE SI VAN A PODER ENTENDER LO QUE ESCRIBO PERO BUENO ES LA UNICA MANERA QUE SE ESCRIBIR BIEN…
    REALMENTE ME ENTERE HACE POCO DE LA MUERTE DE JASON ES UNA TRISTEZA INMENZA… TAN JOVEN, TANTO TALENTO! CON 28 AÑOS HIZO TANTAS COSAS GENIALES QUE CUALQUIERA ENVIDIARIA…
    UNA PENA…
    TODO MI CARIÑO PARA JASON RAIZE !

  110. Carlos Mercado

    I was daydreaming about the Rosie O’Donnell Lion King episode with a beautiful man singing with the most heart-hitting voice i have ever heard. I went to youtube to try and locate that performance the came back to me years later – i was shocked to find it!! I fell in love the performer known as Jason Raize. I sent the video clip to all of my friends to see this amazing man. This morning I googled his name to find out more about him- I came across the news of his suicide- I cried, never knew him – i just watched and heard him sing “endless night” i am and will always speak of Jason- I am and will always be a fan!! his video/song/spirit will play on FOREVER.
    GOD BLESS YOU JASON- YOU MUST BE ONE OF HIS MOST BEAUTFUL ANGELS. YOUR FRIEND, CARLOS MERCADO

  111. lisa

    To all the people who wrote such beautiful messages about my brother Jason Raize, I thank you. He was an amazing person, beautiful, loving, and extremely talented. I’m sure he is looking down on us and grateful for all of the wonderful things you have said. I miss him every day and wish he was still with us on earth.
    We miss you Jason!
    Your sister,
    Lisa

  112. Redmond Mahe

    I am so saddened by the passing of Jason.I remember the first time I saw him on Rosie O’donnell and then getting to see him twice in the Lion King.HE was AMAZING!! I would’ve loved to give him a hug and express my admiration for him. I Loved the Lion King and especially his performance of “He lives in me”. I must’ve played that song a million times.
    Rest in Peace my brotha…God bless your family..(Lisa and parents) Love you always!
    Redmond

  113. RG

    I knew Jason when he worked at the Bucks County Playhouse. My friends and I would go to the shows just to see him perform. He played Rocky in Rock Horror Picture show one year and I went to the show with my boyfriend. Jason spotted me in the crowd and during one of the numbers danced his way over to us. He then shook his little gold thong in our faces and danced away. Both my boyfriend and I could not stop the laughter. Jason was full of life and talent and everytime I listen to my Lion King soundtrack with him singing I well up. I took my daughter to see the Lion King on Broadway a few months ago and cried during “Jason’s Song”, as my daughter calls it. It was very touching and I could see him on stage. We will always remember you Jason.

  114. Abby

    I just found out, nearly three years later, about the fate of Jason Raize. I am in shock to discover such an ending to such a man. I wish someone could have helped him, or that he would have let someone help him. Hopefully he now lies in the arms of Jesus and has found whatever he couldn’t find here on earth. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him or knew of him. Here’s to Jason Raize, an amazing singer and actor, an amazing man.

  115. Deborah

    I am just today finding out about the death of Jason Raize. I’ve seen The Lion King 3 times and all except the last time was with Jason. He was an extremely talented young man. I’m so sorry to hear that he was sad enough to take his own life. It truly breaks my heart — as a fan and as someone who has sons of my own, I feel the family’s pain. God Bless Jason, his family and all the people who’ve said such wonderful that will help warm the hearts of Jason’s family and friends.

  116. Arielle

    Why did I just find this out? Jason’s voice was just amazing… I really wish I knew why he did it to himself. I mean, it looks like he had a very successful life, what was wrong with it? It’s just… I really dont think I’ll listen to Endless Night the same again.
    I may be late, but rest in peace, Jason Raize…

  117. sally

    I just saw the broadway production of Lion King, a week ago. I bought the CD, and it hasn’t left my cd player since. My two favorite songs, are Endless Night, and He lives in you. Googled Jason Raize name, and can’t believe he is gone. I have you tubed the Rosie’s performances. What a amazing, talented guy. I read where he was an UN ambassadour. Today is the 3rd annivarsary of his death, and I hope he has found peace. It breaks my heart just the same, that his life has come to an end so young and with so much promise.

  118. Craig

    Jason I still pray for you and your family and that one day I may get the chance to meet you. Thank you so much for lifting my spirits everytime I here you sing and may god bless you.
    BUSA SIMBA

  119. Kieth

    This is the saddest thing i’ve ever heard to happen in broadway. ive heard him sing “endless nights”. i was overwhelming it touched many of my friends hearts and mine.
    I hope jason, where ever you are you have found peace and im sorri that ur life was cut so tragically short. :(

  120. Kimberly

    Jason you were a brilliantly shining star, but all too quickly you fell from the sky. How you are missed. My heart aches that your light went out too soon. I pray you found the peace you needed. May God wrap you in the warmth of his love and watch over you always. ~K

  121. DevilsTrill

    I still cant get over it..he was one of the main reasons I wanted too see Lion King live ..I heard he was AWSOME and I have seen vids..its true he was..it just doesnt make sense too me..was it drugs..drinking?
    he sounded happy enough and seemed to have paved a bright path for himself..why do it?
    it just doesnt smell right too me

  122. Athena

    A few weeks ago, I had never heard of Jason Raize. Then, on a whim, I got the Lion King Broadway soundtrack from the library, and I completely fell in love with the music. I’ve been watching clips of the show on YouTube nonstop since then. When I looked up information online about the cast members and found that Jason had committed suicide, I was so shocked and upset. For anyone to die that young of any cause is horrible enough, but that he died at his own hand just adds to the tragedy. I’d never cried at the death of a celebrity before, but even though I never knew Jason–never even knew who he was while he was alive, I cried tonight while listening to him sing “Endless Night.”
    So, Jason, even three years after your death, you touched my life, and I thank you for that. I only wish that you hadn’t taken yourself from the world so prematurely. If I ever see The Lion King onstage–which I certainly plan to do as soon as I can–I know I’ll be thinking of you the whole time.

  123. lindsay

    dear jason’s family,
    Hi, i have posted a few messages before but this one is special to me. This weekend i spent four days in New York City and it was wonderful. I saw two shows (Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King) and they were wonderful! I got a poster from each show that was signed by every member of the cast and then i got my picture taken with Josh Tower (current
    adult Simba). I was crying the whole time during the Lion King and when Josh sang “Endless Night” i was in tears. I leaned over to my mother and said “mama, thats Jason’s song”. And the whole time i was crying, i was afraid
    my mascara was running.
    At night, i sit on my front porch and look into the sky. There is one star that shines brighter than all the rest and best thing about it, it’s right over my house! I call that star “Jason’s star”.
    And so, to conclude my message, Jason was wonderful and to this day and forever more, he is my idol and i look up to what he did more than anyone in Hollywood and Broadway. If i never learned about him, i would have not been in New York this weekend and i probably wouldnt have an interest in the theater. So I thank you and him with all of my heart for opening new doors for me. I love you Jason. God Bless You and your family.
    Peace and Love,
    Lindsay

  124. Cynthia

    I was able to see Jason Raize sing on Broadway back in the summer of 1998. I remember that previous Christmas that my sister bought me the CD for the musical and I was so mesmerized by the music. My mom, sisters, cousin and I were going to a wedding that summer and I immediately called to get tickets for the show – I also invited my cousin who lived there – of course it was so popular that we had to split up in order to catch the show that evening. I particularly loved “Endless Night.” and Jason’s voice. Of course “The Lion King” was amazing and I was at the tip of my seat watching him sing. He really lit a spark in me and pursuing my musical goals even at a later age (I was 23). I remember that when we all waited at the stagedoor, he took the time to sign playbills, etc. and as he walked away I remember he looked back and came to sign my cousin’s playbill – that was sweet of him and she was so happy. That night my sisters were leaving and we all agreed how much we were touched by his performance – we all wrote a short letter each to let him know. Well the next day after the matinee – my other cousin – he and I waited and hoped we could catch him to give him the letters – I did and he said “Thank You” – I took a picture with him – it was funny because my younger cousin took it really close up and it was dark and fuzzy but I have to say I still treasure that picture to this day. I could say after those years I pursued singing – performing in local musicals, took workshops, and now teach piano and voice. I just wanted to say how much he’ll be missed because I hear a lot of singers these days but there are a few that really touch your heart. I was also moved by the fact that he was also involved in other causes. This is nice to post and read about other people who either knew or were fans of Jason. I also lost somebody back in 2001 – she was my best friend and we shared a love of the arts – these days I just try to remember the good memories and know in some way she is watching over me and those she loves – that’s how I see Jason – whenever I feel like, I just put on “Endless Night” and hear his beautiful voice.

  125. Ivan

    I post this from Johannesburg, South Africa.
    I met Jason at the United Nations in New York, October 20th, 1999, on the occasion of him being appointed a Goodwill Ambassador. I was accepting a WILD Award from the UN at the same function. We both spoke at the UN press conference. We then celebrated over lunch at the UN. (I have pictures of him on this occasion, if the family would like copies)
    That evening a few of us were hosted by Jason to a performance of the Lion King and after the show were shown around backstage by him and then the group had coffee together. That was October 20th, 1999.
    Images of that 12 hour encounter with Jason have stuck with me, as has his wonderfully friendly, embracing and engaging personality. Made even more so in that 10 days earlier I had very tragically lost my own adoptive son to AIDS, back home in South Africa. Jason reminded me so much of him.
    Over these past 7+ years I have often thought back on my encounter with Jason, marvelled at his success, his friendliness and his evident sense of maturity and wondered just how life was treating him.
    Then just a week ago I enquired about Jason from the production team that is staging the Lion King here in South Africa in June this year. Only to be hit with the very belated news of the tragedy!
    It’s so fresh for me, but I would like to extend my sympathies and condolences to his family and friends. And to just remember Jason!
    As the old Irish Blessing goes –
    – May the road rise to meet you
    – May the wind be always at your back
    – The sun shine warm upon your face
    – The rain fall softly upon your fields…
    …. and until we meet again
    – May God hold you in the hollow of His hand
    And as I watch the African/South African premiere of the Lion King here in Johannesburg on June 6th, 2007, I shall certainly shed a tear for Jason.

  126. Lyall Ramsden

    Im currently rehearsing for The Lion King in South Africa, your voice is constantly heard though the songs you used to sing so beautifully. 10 years later and you’re still remembered in the 10th Aniversary Production. Rest in piece Jason – Long Live The King. Love Lyall Xxx

  127. Janeille & Linda

    i am sad to hear that u have left our hearts, when you were here you made life seem bareable
    is it that you knew not what u had for u to have taken your own life so suddenly? but no matter what they say or do we will always love you! the times that i have cried, and smile because of you is all i need to remember you as the kind and talented person that you are we love and you will always be in our hearts! R.I.P

  128. edher

    Each you see that I think about him I do not let cry, of great I want to be like Jason Raize . It affects much to me that has gone away, but a thing this clear he has not left us.

  129. Chris

    Dear Jason,
    I just don’t know what to do. If I had known you, I would be so happy to help you with your problems. Problems are there to be solved!!!
    You have motivated me to start singing to probably become a musical singer!!
    I really love you and your voice. May you live in peace and in a world where everybody knows your tallent as well.
    Everytime when I am just thinking of you – a tear is running down my face.
    Why and for what?
    Chris from Germany

  130. David

    Jason is my inspiration. i want to be simba just because of him. I wish I was him. He had a fantastic voice. I never got to meet him but I wish I could have. We would have been best friends.

  131. Briana Wakefield

    I am so deeply sad to hear a great performer and inspiration has passed. I still haven’t been able to see The lion King on broadway but since I’ve heard his voice and seen him on TV, I’ve been desperate to see the Lion King. The second i heard of his passing I was in shock and literally cried and still am because i sort of hoped of meeting him one day. I know that there will never be a person who will be able to take his place on stage, and there will be a greater Simba.
    4-Ever-Love,
    your fan, Briana

  132. Dellie

    The Lion King is my favourite musical and I can’t stop listening to the songs over and over. I had learned about Jason’s death a while ago, even though I didn’t know who he was. Sooooooo sad he increased the statistics of suicides!!!
    As the spiritist that I am, I know that unfortunately, those who kill themselves suffer a lot after death, and they need constant prayers from those who loved them. 3 years have passed by, but it’s too little for him to find comfort and peace. I feel I need to disclose a bit of information about the suicides, as a warning – they have no idea about the crime they’re committing against themselves. I’m afraid more suffering is what they find after their insane act. There’s no “resting in peace” at all.
    Well, what’s done, it’s done, so let’s continue to pray for Jason, so his suffering can be soothed a little bit, until he’s ready to be comforted and rescued from wherever he is.
    Dellie, from Brazil

  133. Ivan

    I posted on April 15th this year.
    It’s now 00h10 on June 7th and I have just returned home from the South African/African premiere of the Lion King.
    Yes, I did shed more than a tear for Jason when Endless Nights was sung. A fitting tribute to a special person.
    Ivan, from Johannesburg, South Africa

  134. Kristen

    A couple months ago, out of nowhere, I got a sudden urge to listen to The Lion King II soundtrack.
    About a week or so ago, I was listening to the soundtrack on my iPod. I got the urge the hear more music from The Lion King.
    While I was searching for songs, I came upon some clips on YouTube from The Lion King on Broadway and on the Rosie O’Donell show.
    There was something about the story of The Lion King that I was just beginning to notice. I looked up more information on the show and its actors. I was especially interested in the actor who portrayed the adult Simba, Jason Raize.
    Shocked does not describe my feeling upon seeing that after Jason’s birthdate, his date of death followed.
    I felt confused and incomplete because I had never known him, and yet it still felt as if he had been a part of my life for so long. I felt even more confusion and horror to learn that it was suicide.
    At the time, I thought I didn’t know him well enough to decide if he was the type who would commit suicide. However, a couple days ago, I realized that I had known him before. When The Lion King first came to Broadway, I was only 8 years old, but I remember him now. I always loved The Lion King so it makes since that the musical would’ve interested me.
    Also, it seems I can recall hearing something about Jason Raize and Jessica Simpson on the Disney channel. I remember his smile.
    Now, that I do remember him…there isn’t a single fiber within me that believes Jason would kill himself. Even though I don’t know his circumstances, there are some things that will never add up and I refuse to believe that this man would simply give up.
    I believe his death deserves to be looked into more closely…
    But, for right now I offer my greatest love and respect to Jason and his family. No one can ever forget his voice, his smile, his kindness, and his love.
    We have to remember that he is not gone. For nobody is ever really “gone”. We are one, and we are all truly connected in this circle of life. Jason is not and will never be gone. He is here with us now, he lives in you and me. There is a part of him in us all, and as long as his memory is still alive his star will continue to shine brighter than ever.
    We should not despair, for no one can tell what time will bring. And even though they said he was dead, the king lives on. Forever.
    With Peace and Passion,
    Kristen
    theoretk@hotmail.com

  135. edher john

    Kristen, you are right, Jason Raize is alive but I read on the people who commit suicide and says that they undergo much in the other life, so I ask all the people who read this message, that we pray by the soul of Jason Raize, so that descance peacefully.

  136. Kristen

    Ever since I found out, I’ve been praying for him. I don’t want him to suffer any more in the next life than he did in this one.
    But I believe in reincarnation, so I think everything happens for a reason. He was here for a reason, but when people die I believe it is because they have experienced what they were supposed to in this life and need to move on to another one in order to grow.
    We are all here to grow and the more we grow, the more enlightened we become and the closer we grow to God. I don’t know where Jason is right now… but it brings me comfort to know that we are all connected. God would never abandon us, or Jason.
    -Kristen

  137. Arieloup

    My story is like all others. Today we were singing all the songs that we knew from the Lion King and then we arrieved on the 16nth song. I sang as loudly as I could, since I always loved “endless night”. My mother said “Wow, that’s a nice song” and we looked it up on the internet.
    I think some of you can imagine the shock and the pain , my mother and I felt when we read that he was no longer here. Now, I found this place while looking up stuff about him, all details possible about his death and where his grave lies. I would like to say that I’m sorry, to all the family. They must have all the hard part to continue to live through all of this.
    Thank you again Jason for the talent you shared with us.
    –Arieloup
    (P.s Does anybody know where his grave is, so that I can put a flower on it?)

  138. Crayg

    Happy Birthday Big Guy. Wishing you were still here smiling upon the world. God bless and I pray you have found peace
    Busa Simba

  139. Jay

    This is sad. I was just listening to an older CD single of Jason singing “You Win Again: by the Bee Gees’. What a great voice and a so-loved by all person. A true loss here on earth.
    Peace to you, Jason & Family.
    -Jay

  140. angel

    I am so touched and suprised by everones comments…i had no idea! i geuss my story is simular others. a few weeks ago i didnt no who he was.i never really heard of him.so…one monday nite i was excited about c ing the lion king on wednesday..so i watched as many you tube vids on it as i could.then i found him on the rosie odonell show.i thought his voice was soo beautiful!!!aswell as his apearence.i was devistated when i read comments saying r.i.p and we miss u.so..i felt like just had to write something.maybe he felt like he just had to do it.hopefully he has found peace. and my hear will still go out to his family.if only i knew of him earlyer.
    love angel

  141. Teresa

    Your wonderful voice moved me the first time I heard it. Something like passion flares inside me when I listen to endless night. I will never forget you. I look up to you so strongly, and I am inspired to do what I need to now. Thank you and Rest in Peace my Simba.

  142. Daniel

    Its crazy that I only found about Jason’s death over 3 years after the fact. We were friends when we were kids but I lost touch with him. I knew that he had become a big star on Broadway and I would always wonder what he was up to everytime I passed by an advertisement for the Lion King.
    I remember those days in Oneonta now. We spent a lot of time playing arcade games at the Oneonta mall and some skiing, too, when we got the chance. Jason was always bright and full of life. I was so happy to learn that he had made it to the center of the theatrical world from such a small place. People who don’t know may think that growing up in new york state means being close to the action, but it was a different world over there. He really came such a long way. I’ll always remember his smile and his energy. I wish I could have been there towards the end. I wish I could have talked to him one last time. Hopefully one day we’ll be playing space invaders again in the big Oneonta Mall in the sky!
    Miss you!!
    -daniel

  143. Merle

    i just read about the death of him and i really have to say that i feel very sorry for his family and friends. ive just lost a pretty good friend of mine and well…its such a lost :o(
    i hope you rest in peace!
    your voice just fits to simbas character and its a pleasure to listen to.
    my condolonces to his family and friends.
    -Merle

  144. Zonker

    I was just cleaning up some music on my iPod, and as I played “Endless Night’, I decided to see what was up with this kid since The Lion King. Needless to say, I was totally shocked. I recall several years back seeing him on Rosie, then having the opportunity to see him on stage. Such an incredible voice. How so sad it is to hear of anyone taking their own life, the pain he must have been suffering. God bless, you Jason.

  145. Joshua Aikens

    I just so happened to to see the video on you while looking up wicked on youtube and i felt the anonting of god so strong when you sang…..and i wondered why……….needless to say i looked you up……im terribly sorry i wish i could have seen you perform live though…
    may god have mercy on your soul

  146. Jess

    I’ve never had the opportunity to see the lion king live, but a year and a half ago I performed a dance to “Endless Night” with my class. I was going through a low time in my own life at the time, and that song touched me so deeply then. I believe God sent me that song, it comforted me so much. I was amazed by Jason’s voice, and just the depth and sincerity of it. Just listening to him sing made me soar. I’ve looked everywhere for that song so I could listen online, but I didn’t find it till today. When I looked Jason up to find out more about him, you can only imagine my shock when I learned about his death. I never cry over celebrity deaths, but I cried my eyes out when I found out about Jason. And if I’m this grieved over the death of someone I’ve never even met, and hardly know anything about, I can’t even imagine what the people who where close to him are going through. I pray that God will bring peace and comfort to you all.
    I know that the night must end
    And that the sun will rise
    And that the sun will rise
    I know that the clouds must clear
    And that the sun will shine
    And that the sun will shine
    God bless you Jason, and thank you
    King of Broadway,
    Angel of Music
    We will always miss you @>–>—

  147. Juan Marchal

    He lives in us.
    Hace tiempo alguien me regaló el musical The Lion King. Las letras y las voces de los artistas me han conmovido cada vez que las he escuchado y seguirán haciéndolo cada vez.
    Llega un día en el que la curiosidad puede más que la pereza e indagas sobre los artífices de tan bella creación. Descubres personas fantásticas como Jason. La alegría se desvanece enseguida cuando descubres que la biografía tiene un final.
    Jason, allá donde estés recibe mi cariño y mi apoyo a tu familia y amigos.
    JUAN MARCHAL
    MATARÓ, SPAIN

  148. Jordan

    Hi guys, that was so awful, I was in bedroom and the news guy said “Jason Raize is Dead”, I almost die, he dont descover who he were
    Saint Mufasa care him
    HAKUNA MATATA

  149. Mic

    I know this is far removed, I haven’t seen Jason since I was about 10 when I performed with him in The King & I at Bucks County Playhouse. I was very excited several years later when I heard he had really started to make a career for himself. I lost track of him until I had the urge to see how he was doing last night, I was very surprised to read about his passing. How sad! Jason always stood out to me because of his huge personality and kindness. He was so nice to me during that show and taught me much about being an actor. I am very saddened by this news…

  150. Helene and Devlynn

    We wish Jason Raize all the best up in heaven): We wish that we couldve seen him on broadway because i bet that he would do a phonomanal job<3 xoxoxoxox,
    helene and devlynn

  151. Hannah

    I’m saddened by this. Jason Raize was a talented man. I’m wondering if he actually killed himself, and I’m wondering if he is still alive. I wish I could’ve met him. He will always be remembered.

  152. Karen Hanson

    I didn’t know Jason, except for his photo in my Lion King program from when I took my son to see the show at the Orpheum theatre in Minneapolis, and from his beautiful voice on the Lion King soundtrack that I often play while in my car. I just recently learned of his passing and it made me feel so sad. All men are brothers and whenever another life touches us, be it through their music, acting, writing or personal contact, they become a part of us. When they die, it hurts. Jason’s presence here on earth obviously touched many people, myself included.
    My heart goes out to his family.
    To Jason:
    I lit a candle for you at my church this morning. I hope you can feel my prayers, my love and the warmth that radiate up from it’s glow.
    May God wrap you in his love and may your gentle soul forever be at peace.

  153. noel

    J’ai vu La Comedie Du Roi Lion en france.
    Nous avant aussi un Simba, qui est Jeremy Fontanet, il est performent, mais, moi qui connaissance deja le spectacle, mais surtout la Voix de Jason Raize,j’ai pensé a lui pendent le spectacle.
    pour moi, Jason Raize est le veritable Simba le seul et unique Simba!

  154. Kayla

    I Just Found out about his death today i was reasearching the lion king on broadway beacuse my school went to the play 2 days ago. i got to see jason as simba when i was very little i miss him i love him you are the best simba ive seen.
    rest in peace jason <3
    kayla

  155. Edher

    Jason donde estes siempre estaremos contigo nuunca nos olvideremos de un chico cambió nuetras vidas, o por lo menos la mía , hiciste mucho en mí, gracias a ti vei a la vida de una manera distinta despues de averte visto y escuchado yu hermosa voz.
    que descanses en paz Jason.

  156. ANAND DESAI-BAROCHIA

    wow. i never actually thought i would get to the end of this blog tonight to be able to write my own messages of thought. i have spent all night reading every single persons tribute.
    i am a performer myself. going through a really slow patch in my career – heck im just starting out. needless to say feeling low about that and then just reading a good two hours worth of condolences im lying in my bed at 22.54 in england feeling a bit down.
    i myself have tried out for lion king twice. once in london and second time in paris. for both i got pretty far down. and now hopefully its going to be third time lucky.
    i have an audition within the next couple of weeks for lion king in the west end.
    up until now, my songs have always been good, but never good enough. after learning more about jason and his feelings, i feel that i’ll be able to do a good job because when i sing any lion king song, see anyone interpret the lion king musical or even see a lion king teddy, i will always now immeadiately think of you jason raize. within in the coming weeks when i sing my audition song, there is no doubt in my mind that my emotions are going to take over me and i’ll be thinking of you being by my side whilst i sing for the panel. you are blessed and you will still live on for a very long time.
    to be honest mate, you touched too many peoples lives to be forgotten. and i thank anyone who had anything to do with putting your voice on record, because lets be honest if you read all these comments from others, they found out about you through looking on the booklet on the sound track for lion king. for this reason you will constantly gain more fans every day.
    when i walk into that audition room this time, i want you to be with me, hope your having fun up there. hope to meet you one day.
    new fan, london, uk.

  157. Lindsay

    Before I go,
    Wave me good-bye.
    Hug me and never let go.
    Stand on the bridge with me,
    Sing our song.
    Stand in the rain with me,
    Dance our dance.
    Tell me you’ll miss me.
    Take me somewhere, anywhere.
    I don’t know who you are,
    but I’m with you,
    And broken from ripped pages.
    In school the other day we had to write a poem about someone who had an influence on our lives. I wrote mine about Jason. Everyone was asking if I wrote it about my boyfriend, but I couldn’t do that when I had Jason to write about.
    I hope you’re happy in heaven Jason! I love you!
    Lindsay, a “forever” fan.

  158. Karen

    I was also saddened to hear of Jason’s passing long after. I discovered him on Rosie’s show in 1998/99 and had a huge crush. I actually wouldn’t have met my now husband in the college theatre department if it weren’t for that crush. My future husband, knowing of my love for Lion King & Jason, took me to NYC to see the show in 2000. Needless to say, I was terribly disappointed that Jason wasn’t in the performance that we attended. I always had a hope that I would get to see him and hear his angelic voice live someday. What a loss. His voice gave me chills and still does.

  159. Riza

    I am horribly saddened to hear, long after the fact, of Jason’s death. He and Heather Headley were like gods to me when I was a child.
    I saw The Lion King within the first month of its opening, as a tenth birthday gift, and I’ve never forgotten it. It was my first love. I have since seen five different productions, but none match the sheer joy that his voice radiated. He will always be Simba, to me.
    Jason, we miss you. Our fondest and most sincere love goes out to you. You are my inspiration and my aspiration, and I hope that you have finally found peace.

  160. Marley

    I’m doing Endless Night as part of a Cabaret troupe, and it was the first time i heard your voice. I feel terribly cheated, knowing that this is the only album I will ever hear you sing in.
    R.I.P. Jason, keep doing what you do best.

  161. Colin Bell

    Jason, I will aloways remember te night we spent together at the Grammy awards in 1999. You were a unique talent and a wonderful presence. I think of our times together often and will never forget your warmth, humanity and zest for life. I cannot understand what went wrong for you but I hope you are at peace now. Love Your friend Colin.

  162. Diana

    *sigh*
    I listened to Jason on the Lion king CD and I loved him. I saw some videos of him and i loved him. I found out that he is dead and was irritated because I still loved him! I heard what a wonderful person he was and this makes all even more sad. I didn’t even know him, I didn’t see him in “reality” either… but I cried, and cried…tear after tear…I’m so sad… I ask myself what anyone else does, that liked him: Why? But there’s no answer.
    Jason was such a wonderful person, inside and outside… I hope he is happier and in heaven now. And I do hope we’ll meet someday.
    I saw through his eyes and behind his voice, I saw a man so…warm and touching. And really, his voice has touched me like no other.
    You’ll always be in my heart, Jason!
    I’ll love you from the deep of my heart forever. I’ll never forget you.
    RIP
    Diana

  163. Kitty

    I wrote a poem about the feelings he awoke in me:
    Tears are not enough to express this sadness
    that has come over me recently
    The feelings in me nearly drive me to madness
    Your friends are devastated and I do agree
    I saw you for the first time a few years ago
    And I heard you and I loved your voice
    And -bloddy hell- your air wasn’t bad , too
    So I LOVED you, I had no choice…
    I began to see the man behind
    the voice and the wonderful eyes
    Saw you were masculine -I wasn’t blind-
    And with your smile the sun would rise
    I also perceived your cordial soul
    And that your nature was touching and warm
    This all added to that you stole
    my heart in an unspeakably form
    Few days ago I wanted to find out a bit more
    about this beautiful, talented man
    I saw your picture and the smile that you wore
    I realized that I was more than a fan
    Somebody who loved you, that’s what I was
    So it’s really no big surprise
    that I was shocked by the news that were like claws
    hurting me, till a was just a girl who cries
    I found out that you were dead for long
    Suicide. I couldn’t believe
    Then everything seemed all so wrong
    Why? Why did you have to leave?
    You’ll always be in the hearts of your
    fans an family and all
    It’s sad that you haven’t sung more songs, sure
    but you’ll be on of the gratest in the memories-hall
    In ever-lasting love
    Diana

  164. Ian in Toronto

    I am so saddened to learn of Jason’s death! I met Jason in Toronto for a Lion King Canadian Company press conference and he was sweet and kind. It was great to watch him on youtube today and marvel at his awesome talent. Hearing the circumstances of his death was heartbreaking, and I wonder if anyone knows where he is buried?
    Jason a piece of your soul is in the heart of everyone who was touched by your talent.

  165. Tom

    Shows the power of the human soul! With all that success and talent, he obviously wasnt satisfied and was searching for something more and yet couldnt find it!

  166. Amy

    I met Jason when he came to work in Namibia to film for the wildlife series ‘Keeping It Wild’ and spending time with him was a truly wonderful experience. He was great fun to be around, and his smile and spirit could light up the longest journey – which was good, as we had many long, dusty journeys to make! As well as simply liking him for him, I thought it was very impressive that he was using his fame to draw attention to wildlife conservation, when he could have been just sitting back and enjoying the high life. I only learned of his tragic death recently and was extremely saddenned by it – even after five years I remember him very fondly, and I am sure that his enthusiasm and zest for life touched many other people as well. I will always remember him, and send all my sympathies to his family and friends.

  167. Tess

    R.I.P, there will never be a King like you, you brought life to the role with your sparkling eyes, I never knew what people meant when they said “Sparkle in their eyes” until I saw Jason Raize.
    I just learned recently of Jason’s death… I have to say that he is the first singer that just by listening to his voice I felt touched. When I bought Lion King Broadway original cast soundtrack and heard “Endless Night” I thought, who has this gorgeous voice? It broke my heart when I learned that he had killed himself. I wondered how can someone so beautiful take his own life? All you have to do is look around you though, to realize that having fame and beauty doesn’t make you happy, and that the spirit is always searching for something more and without it, is wasted away. Though I don’t know much about you Jason, your voice and kindness have touched me, and I wish for you to be at peace and hope to see you in heaven one day… I wonder if he had known how much he would be missed and loved, if he would have killed himself. Alas, we will never know. Even in my mourning I will say that taking your own life is a selfish thing to do and cruel to everyone around you and those that love you.
    That poem is similar to what I feel too Diana/Kitty, thanks for sharing.

  168. Albiku

    I didn’t meet Jason, but I feel as if he was a very big part of my life. I felt so hurt when I read he had killed himself. Such a wonderful person, such an amazing talent, such a breathtaking voice.
    We will always miss you, Jason.
    Busa, Simba.
    “I know that the night must end
    And that the sun will rise
    I know that the clouds must clear
    And that the sun will shine”
    If only you had remembered those words that fateful day, Jason.
    R.I.P. You will always live in us.
    Alba
    Pamplona, Spain

  169. J

    wow… i’m only 15 and only recently fell in love with the Lion King broadway. i know, i know, barely? yes, barely, don’t hit me. but… i fell in love with Jason’s singing mostly. so i decided to look him up. boy… he died at 28? so much potential to grow… as an actor AND a singer. it just breaks my heart. and what’s more, no one really knows why he took his own life in the first place. it really makes you wonder. why would a young person with so much talent and opportunities open for him kill himself? i just hope that whatever happiness he couldn’t find here, he found in the afterlife.

  170. roxie02740

    Dearest Jason,
    Last night I had the incredible urge to look up lion king on broadway. Being a lover of musicals and all things music, this was one musical that I had not seen. Up came your beautiful face and then the most beautiful male voice I had ever heard in my life. I was in love instantly. Though you will never read this I am writing this more so to the family, friends and fans that you have left behind. I never personally knew Jason but the feelings he can evoke by that beautiful god given voice is truly miraculous. I have absolutely no doubts that he is a part of, if not the lead in the heavenly choirs. And I pray that when my turn comes, HIS is the voice I hear to take me home. Even many years after your death you touch people and you will live on forever in our hearts. Sleep well in the knowledge that you are loved.

  171. roxie02740

    I love musicals!!! So I was surfing around looking for something on the lion king musical (cause it was one I hadn’t seen before). Up came a you tube recording of Jason Raize singing endless night. My first thought was that he is/was the most hauntingly beautiful man I had ever laid eyes on and then….he began singing and I got goose bumps all over….the way he sings that song seemed to reach right into my soul..I have never met or heard of Jason personally and when I went to look up more about him I found out that he was no longer here…I cried for someone I never even knew… Must be such an incredibly sweet sadness for those who did know him personally. He has/had the most beautiful male singing voice I have ever heard…truly a god-given talent. May we all take comfort in knowing that he most assuredly will be singing in.. if not leading god’s angelic choir. And I can only hope that when my day comes…his is the voice that carries me home.. My prayers go out to all who knew him..Sleep well sweet king.. God Bless

  172. Brittany B. of NRHS

    When I first heard Endless Night Jason touched my heart with his voice. This was the first time that anyone has ever touched me like this. As I write this im tearing up at the fact that I wish he was still here. I wish I had the chance to meet him. He was beautiful inside and out. I wish I could tell him how much I miss his voice. Hopefully he will greet me at heaven’s gate and I can tell him. Im sure that he is now singing in the presence of the lord among the angels. Everytime I hear Eric Clapton’s – Tears in Heaven, It reminds me of him. It makes me cry and nothing and no one makes me cry, but he did.
    Im glad that he is finally at peace. Im glad that whatever brought him to end his life can no longer hurt him.
    Jason, I love u, and I will always remember you.
    Rest In Peace
    ~Brittany B.

  173. Tj

    i swear that someday i will also sing onstage just like him and he will be my inspiration. [ I ] have never heard a voice and seen a talent as good as jason.
    such a great man. no matter how much i want to hear him sing again and see him perform, i guess that will be on TV
    i wish i have at least one picture of him that i can keep
    /sob

  174. carol

    I’ve got nothing to say that hasn’t already been said. When I heard of his death it was heart wrenching and painful. He was and is an inspiration to me and so many others. I learnt that in this world people live for a while, pass away, and eventually we all forget them. But Jason will never be forgotten.
    God bless you.

  175. queenees

    wow, 4 years have passed and people are STILL leaving comments…this is how many people you have touched Jason, how many you keep on touching…if only you knew back then, then maybe you wouldn’t have felt so alone.
    and as people continue to discover the Lion King, buy the CD, fall in love with your voice (because that alone draws people in), see the youtube clip of you on Rosie O’Donnell (that gets like 1000 hits a day!) and are attracted to the light you eminate from within, become new fans and search for more info, then this page will never go away.

  176. Andrew

    I was introduced to Jason from that youtube clip. As long as i am in love with musicals (which will be forever) he shall not be forgotten by me.

  177. Pamela

    I just saw the Lion King and went online to download some songs. I search YouTube for clips and this is where I learned of Jason Raize and his death. I’ve never seen him peform live but what I’ve seen of him on YouTube blew me away. I am SOO sad that he felt desperate enough to take his own life. I pray for his soul, for his familiy, friends and those touched by Jason’s life.
    Jason, you are still touching lives. I hope to see you in heaven one glorious day.
    God bless you.

  178. Pamela

    I just learned of Jason Raize a week ago when I was researching Lion King songs to download on my I-pod. I am soooo sad. Like so many others, I wish I knew why? Why would such a talented, beautiful, promising young man take his own life? I so wish the hands of time could be reveresed and you were still with us. That you would know how people really love you. My heart aches knowing that you were in so much pain. I ache.
    I would have LOVED to see you LIVE on Broadway.
    Jason, may you rest in peace. I hope to one day see you in Heaven…singing with the angels.
    My love and heartfelt sympathy goes out to your family and those who love you. May they be comforted somehow.

  179. Leah

    Wow, such a beautiful soul. Such a loving spirit. It’s so sad that he couldn’t find beauty and love here on earth. Or maybe he did. It just wasn’t enough. Jason, King of Broadway, you will live on in our hearts forever.
    Your fan

  180. Svenja

    I am just a 17-year-old girl from germany. i saw the lion king this summer here in germany..and after this i was searching the songs on youtube in english…and i found this wonderful performance of ‘endless night’ there from jason raize – i was speechless !
    i heard it again and again every day and until now i still can’t stop thinking of the reasons he could have had to take himself his life! I try to understand what he did and why he could have done it, what feelings he mights have had while i’m listening to the video and while i’m watching his moves, his eyes, the way he sings. It makes me feel sad but also happy – i can’t describe it it’s just..wonderful <3
    I’m awfully sorry for not having had this honor to meet him or to see him live, and the fact that this moment will never come hurts me deep and makes me really sad…
    Also reading this heart-breaking comments above makes me cry at the moment!
    Jason, please, take care of us from there where you are now!
    I will keep you in mind – forever !

  181. NL2163

    I wasn’t too familiar with Jason, but I knew that he had a great voice. I was googling to see what he was doing with his life and I found this. I read through a lot of your tributes. It’s sad that I figured this out way after it happened.
    Though it seems that Jason Raize had a promising and fulfilling life ahead of him, we don’t know why he committed suicide. He could’ve had some inner discomfort, something the public didn’t know about. A battle within himself. It happens. I would know.
    Jason Raize will obviously not be forgotten as we can see by the many tributes that continue to be posted years after the fact. Hopefully, Jason will rest in peace until that day when Jesus comes again.

  182. samm johnson

    each year, around this time, my heart grows especially heavy with your memory. words can’t express how much i miss you. so many times i’ve wanted to pick up the phone over these past 5 years to tell you something i knew you’d appreciate. or to just spend a quiet night with you talking about life and possibility. i’d give so much to just go back and relive those days with you.
    but i know in my heart that you are finally free.
    i love you, and you will always be a part of me.

  183. Ofelia

    I was looking up the Lion King on Broadway, just two weeks ago and became fascinated with a picture of Jason dressed in peached colored pants with a very artistic pose. I downloaded the picture, as my desktop background and before I had not known the name of the man that captured my attention. Today I googled Jason Raize, only to find out that he is dead. I know that tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of his death and coincidently we were both born in July. May his soul rest in peace. Even though, I didn’t get the chance to meet Jason personally, I still feel a deep connection to him spiritually. I will continue to pray for his soul.

  184. Nomi

    I hope you find peace where ever you are, since you couldn’t find it here.
    Im still in love with your voice, character – everything (:

  185. Frank

    I saw Jason twice on the old “Rosie O’Donnell Show” in ’98 after Lion King opened. He performed “Endless Night” and I was so profoundly moved by the song and his beautiful performance that I got the CD and have listened to him ever since. The song is almost painful to hear now because of his death, but his beauty remains. A terrible loss and such a tragedy. Bless his soul and all the souls of those who loved him

  186. kate bierfeldt

    to jason and familey hi my nam is kate i was a big fane of the lionking i wood lison to it all the time on utube averey day i saw lon king 2 tims it was aswome i had just resentley lost my father on april 4th 2009 i wanted to let all of you know that lionking helpt me get through that ruf tim the sercel of life and he livs in you and all the uther ons helpt me too you cant all ways live for ever thats wat lionking taught me thars a timto live and a tim to die nomater war you are the people will allways stay by your sside and thay will live in you my father livs in me so dos jason he willkeep me going averey day and i will allways love the lionking allwas and for ever good luck lionking dont giv up your friend kate

  187. Marilynn

    Jason,
    I did not know of you until 2009. I absolutely loved you and your voice when I heard it on the Rosie O’Donnell Show. I was looking for some of the original cast Lion King members. I was searching because I was so intrigued with the talents and doing research for my students.
    When I heard you and the other casts members sing and perform, I was mesmerized. When I learned that you had passed, I could not get that out of my mind. I prayed for you and your family. I don’t know why you took your life, but my husband and I would have been honored to meet you.
    Love you, Jason.

  188. Larry

    Jason,
    I just found your voice, I didn’t know you were Simba until about 2 months ago or so. Forgive me but I just now today on 06/30/2009 just saw that you are no longer with us and that you killed yourself. WHY!!!!! I guess I will never understand why you did that. I’m sure you had your reasons and I’m sure that you are resting with God right now and I”m sure that you are very happy now.
    I guess “Dark is the day” is what I will know most. Of course I just found out like 5 years later that you killed yourself but I feel now that I have lost someone very close.
    Rest my friend, and I love you so much just know that. I now have to tell my boyfriend about this because he will know something is wrong with me.
    We will all miss you and we will all love you forever!
    Love,
    Larry

  189. Alice

    I’m an 18-year-old girl from S. Korea, and after suddenly re-falling in love with the Lion King musical, I was looking up videos on Youtube. It was there that I read about Jason’s death in the comments, and I am devastated. It pains me to think about how much this brilliant, talented actor, singer, and humanitarian suffered, suffered so much that he couldn’t see his own bright future. Rest in peace, and God bless you.
    눈부신 그대에게 명복을 빌어요

  190. Hannah

    I really miss Jason Raize! I had posted a comment on youtube. I think he had a really sad life. I loved him in the Lion King!
    Rest in peace Jason Rothenberg Raize

  191. Brian

    Every time I listen to The Lion King soundtrack, and hear Endless Night, I am amazed at the singing voice of Simba. For years, I had been saying that I had to find out who the singer was, and find other things he has done. My 3 year old is constantly asking to hear the “Find my way home” song, so I have been hearing it a lot lately.
    I finally got around to looking it up today, and I was completely shocked and saddened to learn that the extremely talented Jason Raize took his life over 5 years ago.
    It is so sad. He surely would have had a very successful career, and looking at this blog, it is apparent that he had many fans from around the world.

  192. MOti

    I hope the life you have now is better than that you had before, I will miss you. I lost my when I was little. When you song endless night you hit my heart. Thank you

  193. Kandace

    jason, when i first heard jason i was speechless. i loved listening to him. God has truly blessed u with talent and i love him so much. we thank God 4 u. and may HE have mercy onn your soul.

  194. Pauline

    Over 6 years after Jaon’s passing, I have just found out the sad news. What a loss of talent; nobody really will know what was going through hs ead at the time. Loneliness and depression… I too have been there and experienced thoughts of suicide. I only hope his suffering is over now and that he has found peace.
    What an incredible talent! You will be missed on Broadway, I am sure of that. I feel so sad right now, to know that the beautiful voice on my Lion King CD will never sing again.
    It is true that the good die young. The number of posts on here is a tribute to the talent of a young man who may have believed he was never good enough. Rest in peace Jason xx

  195. Ari

    I saw Jason in THE LION KING, and met him twice in person; once while in my local grocery store (he was wearing a baseball cap and looked incredibly cute) — I said hello and he was very nice.
    The second time was at a computer store, where we were both having our hardware fixed… Again, he was nice as could be, a really good soul.
    I pray that he has found greater peace of mind, now that he has left this Earth.

  196. Jahni

    Dear Jason,
    I regret not knowing any of your work. The only time I tried to sit down and listen to you is when I heard Endless Night. When I heard it, I was in awe of your ability to capture your audience with your vocal talent…until I read in the comments that you died via suicide. It made me feel so sad and very bad for the fact that I never got to watch you perform or watch you in movies and tv shows and listen to your other pieces of art.
    I just want to know why would commit such an inhuman crime towards yourself. I felt that you would die of suicide because of the pain in your voice when I heard Endless Night. I could tell you were unhappy and disturbed and possibly depressed. I’m in shock that you took your own life. But I just want to know why you did it though. Just one of the many questions that would come to mind in the conversations with Death.
    Anyways, I would be lying if I said I loved you. I can’t say I love you if I didn’t entirely know you. I love your song Endless Night though. I would very much like to sing it at my school shows one of these days. I could say that you are an inspiration, art-wise meaning, to me and I would look forward into studying your art and your personality.
    From,
    Jahni

  197. rick, new york, new york

    I was downloading music tonight and went from the lion king listings to youtube, to googling you, jason. i was shocked. I saw you in the play twice in early 1998. the first time frim the last row of the balcony, the second time from the orchestra. I truly felt a loss that i can’t explain. Endless Night and “i know” comforted me. i’ve tried to find videos or clips of your tv show, but can’t. May is national mental health awareness month. Anyone who is suffering from depression has been strong long enough. please get help.

  198. Luis Hernandez

    Jason
    Please come back to life. Start off a new life of acting and singing and play Simba on broadway again. Why did you kill yourself? Are you gonna make a phone call to fans from heaven? Now plaese come back to life.
    Luis Hernandez

  199. Nat

    I just found out about this today! our chorus is going to be doing a lion king medley so i decided to look up some songs that touched my heart years ago and i saw a comment on youtube about this. i cant sing these songs without thinking about the time they were sung on stage even if not by Jason, but his songs will forever be on my ipod! I just want to know why he did it… <3

  200. grace

    Jason was such an amazing actor, singer, and performer. I was devastated when i heard the news. Jason: rest in peace and know that millions of amazing people miss you. He will always be in me heart because he was one of my main inspirations for performing. I’m not an adult yet, but i will defiantly continue my performing for his legend. God bless him.

  201. Avery

    Jason,
    Every time I hear “Endless Night”, my entire body fills with this crazy mixture of sorrow, regret, joy, and love. You continue to inspire a range of emotions within me. The mark you have left on this earth is profound and immeasurable.
    Thank you, Jason, for inspiring me during times of insurmountable sadness. Your voice is something that will forever be a part of me. Your passion for the arts, and service was incredible.
    I KNOW the sun always rises where you are.
    With love and admiration,
    Avery

  202. Victoria

    Im only 15, and a few weeks ago I decided to look up about The Lion King On Broadway. I have never gone to see it. But before i had ever knew jason raize was in the lion king i had heard him sing from a song on the disney cd. and his voice captured my heart is was so pure and youthful. Now finding out he was in the lion king im addicted to listening to all the songs on the soundtrack. i have decided after college i want to go after the part of Nala. Even though the part may not be simba, i still want to be involved in something he was in.i can’t believe he commimted suicide though. he was beautiful man, with a beautiful voice. i had a crush on him when is was younger, but still you will never be forgotten Jason Raize and maybe i can be in the beautiful play you were in. R.I.P Jason Raize because of your beautiful singing voice i can play your songs when i cry and they make me happy

  203. CommeToi

    Happy birthday, Jason. I deeply wish I had been able to watch you perform live, but I was very young at the time and I guess those plans never panned out. All I have are YouTube videos, articles, and photographs of you, and even without having met you I know that you amounted to so, so much more than that. I pray that you’ve found the peace you felt you lacked on earth. Many hugs and blessings to you on this day and every other.

  204. BOB JOSE MARSHALL

    Dearest Jason,, We had met back in 2002 & from our first meeting , we quickly became very good friends.. I am so lucky & glad that I have some great pictures of you & I hanging out together.. Here it is nine years later without you & I still cry for you.. You were an amazing friend & a beautiful person inside. I miss you so much Jason, your smile, your singing voice, your friendship.. I think about you all the time & how much I wish that you were here.. Jason you were the best a friend could ask for. I love you buddy & will always miss you .. Rest In Peace J….

  205. Corey

    I just found out about Jason a month ago. I was on Youtube and somehow ended up on The Lion King Broadway videos. I looked in the comments and everyone was saying how you were the best Simba. So I looked for some videos of you and was amazed of your beautiful voice. But when I looked in the comments and saw everyone saying RIP I was filled with sadness. I feel so bad that I didn’t know about him when he was alive. Well I just hope he is with the Lord right now. Happy birthday Jason.

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