Evan Ellingson, the former child actor best known for his roles in My Sister’s Keeper and CSI: Miami, has died at the young age of 35. Ellingson was found deceased in a bedroom at a sober living home in Fontana, California on November 5th, 2022 according to a statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The cause of his untimely passing is still under investigation.
Ellingson’s acting career began at a young age when he was discovered at a skate park and recruited for both a Vans skate team and a commercial. With his natural charisma and talent, he soon transitioned into film and television roles. Ellingson built an impressive resume of credits throughout the 2000s before stepping away from acting over a decade ago. He is remembered fondly by fans for his memorable performances on the big and small screen.
Rising to Fame as a Child Star
Born in 1987 in California, Ellingson expressed a passion for performing from a very early age. He started out appearing in commercials and short films, showcasing his abilities and unique screen presence. This led to him landing more substantial acting gigs, including a major role in the 2001 thriller Impostor starring Gary Sinise.
Ellingson’s big break came in 2002 when he was cast as Evan Tanner, the nephew of Kiefer Sutherland’s iconic character Jack Bauer, in the hit action series 24. He appeared in 7 episodes of the show’s second season, sharing scenes with Sutherland and the rest of the talented 24 cast. This high-profile part on a beloved and critically acclaimed TV show thrust Ellingson into the spotlight and opened doors for the young actor.
Over the next several years, Ellingson racked up a string of credits on popular shows like ER, CSI, and NCIS gaining valuable experience working alongside veteran actors. In 2005, he landed perhaps his most memorable TV role as Kyle Harmon, the son of David Caruso’s Horatio Caine, on CSI: Miami. Ellingson recurred as Kyle over several seasons of the forensic crime drama’s run. His character provided personal stakes for Caine and showcased Ellingson’s evolving skills.
Big Screen Breakout in My Sister’s Keeper
In 2009, Ellingson made the leap to leading man status when he was cast as a terminally ill teen in the adaptation of Jodi Picoult’s novel My Sister’s Keeper. In the film, Ellingson played sensitive hockey player Jesse Fitzgerald struggling with cancer, starring alongside veterans like Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin, and Jason Patric.
Ellingson rose to the dramatic challenges of the role, delivering a poignant and acclaimed performance labeled “touching” and “affecting” by critics. My Sister’s Keeper became a modest box office hit and remains one of Ellingson’s defining roles, displaying his capacity for conveying empathy and vulnerability on screen. The part showed his potential to take on more mature, complex characters and reinforced that he was an acting talent to watch.
Later Projects and Stepping Away From Acting
After My Sister’s Keeper, Ellingson continued taking on acting projects like the web series Poor Paul and showed up briefly in movies like 2012’s tennis comedy Break Point. His last credited role was in the 2013 Hallmark Channel original film Window Wonderland.
But over the next decade, Ellingson largely stepped back from Hollywood. Very little is publicly known about his life after moving on from acting. The former child star managed to maintain a low profile away from the fame he had known through much of his adolescence.
Tragically, Ellingson passed away at just 35 years old before getting the chance to potentially revive his acting career. While the circumstances around his death are still unclear, he had reportedly struggled with substance abuse issues in the final years of his life. His early loss leaves many questions about what direction his life may have taken if given more time.
Remembering Evan’s Bright Talent and Spirit
In the wake of Ellingson’s untimely death, those who worked with him and watched him grow up on screen are mourning his passing while looking back fondly on his talents. Directors, co-stars, and fans have offered remembrances praising Evan’s natural charisma, work ethic, and kind heart.
CSI: Miami showrunner Ann Donahue reflected on Ellingson’s “effortless” acting abilities and warm presence stating: “Evan brought an easygoing nature to an unusually intense show.” Other colleagues echoed that he lit up any set he worked on and seamlessly handled even emotionally heavy material as a child actor.
Ellingson’s loved ones also highlighted his well-rounded passions off-screen, including skateboarding, surfing, hockey, and music. They describe him as someone who approached life with optimism, humor, and courage even during difficult times in recent years.
While he never fully achieved the stardom it appeared he was headed for as a gifted young performer, Ellingson made his mark through an array of memorable film and TV roles. His performances will continue impacting audiences for generations to come. Evan Ellingson’s contributions will not be forgotten, and his passing dims a bright light in Hollywood far too soon. May he rest in peace.