Jonathan Taylor Thomas on "Inside Edition"
Show: NBC's "Inside Edition" (Shown on NBC Super Channel)
Air date: Unknown
Host: Deborah Norville
JTT researcher: Janet Weeks from "L.A. Daily News"
Note: Everything in italics is spoken, probably by Deborah
'<?>' means that either I don't know what is said or I can't spell the word.
Deborah: Coming up: He's in a top-selling video, stars on a top-rated television show, and he's only thirteen. We'll meet Jonathan Taylor Thomas, next.
Janet: He has the whole package. He's got the heart-throb... Appeal. All in one.
JTT: Well, I mean I have been very fortunate with, you know, the things I have done in my short career so far.
Deborah: Some kids have all the luck, and luck... and talent, seems to be working for Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the child star on "Home Improvement", who's on his way to fame of Macauley Culkin proportions. <?> the kid who is being called America's newest teen heart-throb.
[Clip from an Elvis song.]
From the greatest teen idol of all time, to all the peach-fuzzed<?> heartbreakers who followed him, like Fabian, the Beatles, Luke Perry, even "The New Kids on the Block," America's giggling girls with teenaged crushes still love to fall in love with baby-faced boys, whose puppy-dog eyes make them swoon.
Girl #1: He has a little babyface.
Girl #2: He's kinda sexy-looking.
Girl #3: I like his eyes.
Girl #4: And this guy is cute... so he'll make it.
But who is he? Who is America's hottest teenage idol?
[Clip from The Lion King.]
Simba (JTT): ...and I'm gonna rule it all. He-he.
Simba (JTT): Yeah, right.
Well, he's not exactly Simba from the mega-hit movie Lion King, but he is the 13-year-old boy who gave Simba his distinctive gravelly voice.
[Clip of JTT in recording studio.]
JTT [Voice of Simba]: ...and nothing but slobbering, mangy, stupid poultry.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas, America's latest heart-throb, also plays the middle son in the nation's number one tv series "Home Improvement."
[Clip from "Don't Tell Momma" episode.]
Tim: You, you guys didn't tell her (Jill), did ya?
Randy: No, we thought it'd be more fun to watch you tell her.
Girl #5: He's so cute! [Kisses a picture of JTT.]
Girl #6: I was supposed to jog...
And he appears to have the modesty that not all young stars are blessed with.
Interviewer #1: So what does it feel like to be so famous? So young?
JTT: Well, I don't know. I wouldn't say I'm so famous. It's something, you know, that kinda taking me by surprise. I mean, I have been very fortunate, you know, with the things that I've done in my short career, so far.
Jonathan's first break in show biz was actually in a fashion show.
JTT: I was seven years old, and I didn't have any front teeth. I'd just lost them at the time.
[Clip from Burger King commercial.]
But America first got to know him when he was eight years old, pitching hamburgers for Burger King. But long afterwards, he was cast in Home Improvement. Even back in 1993, he demonstrated his polite boy-next-door adorableness. When the <?> like media questions surprised this pre-teen kid.
Interviewer #2: You know who Shannen Doherty is?
JTT: Yes I do.
Interviewer #2: You think we should just leave her alone?
JTT [laughs]: I don't know, that's fine!
Interviewer #2: Do you like her?
JTT: I haven't met her personally, but she seems like a nice person.
[Clip from "Man of the House"]
But now Jonathan is growing up and is making his move into live-action movies. His first film is "Man of the House." It earned almost 10 million dollars in its first weekend and was the no. 1 movie in America.
Chet (George Wendt): Picking Indian names for each other is one of the
important Indian guide rituals.
Ben (JTT): How about "Squatting Dog"?
Janet: He has the whole package. He's got the heart-throb... Appeal. All in one. He's great looking, as we've talked about. He's got the great voice, and he's smart. And I don't think there's many boys out there that have the combination of those three things.
[Another movie clip. Could be from "Man of the House".]
Ben (JTT): Euurgh. What's wrong with this guy? Is he decomposing or something?
Janet: He just finished "Man of the House" with Chevy Chase and Farraw Fawcett. It's a comedy that mirrors his own life in many ways, in that he stars as a child of a single parent, and tries to strort<?> his mother attempts to get a romance going with Chevy Chase.
JTT: He is afraid to really, you know, love again, because, you know, his dad left.
Jonathan's real-life parents were divorced early in his life. His mother, Claudine, a former social worker, raised him and his now 17 year old brother, Joel in Northern California. Janet Weeks claims Jonathan's is anything but the stereo-typical stage mother.
Janet: I didn't get the impression at all that she was pushing him into it.
Jonathan insists that he loves pushing himself as an actor and looking is forward to a great future. He knew he loved show business the very first time he auditioned for a role.
JTT: I remember just going in there and, you know, seeing these people and just thinking it was just totally cool to be there, you know. I like being in front of people. I like meeting people, and... you know, just, you know, the excitement of "What if I actually got this?". And then I did and, you know, I was <?>.
Janet: He really tries to not take the fame seriously. He realizes that it could all go away tomorrow, and so he's trying to keep his head on his shoulders.
Deborah: Despite the hoopla, Jonathan still a good student. When "Home Improvement" is on hiatus, he attends a public school where he has a straight 'A' average.
Segment transcribed by Jan Nielsen