Evan Ellingson, a Hollywood child star who appeared in My Sister’s Keeper, CSI: Miami and 24, has died. He was 35.
The former actor was found dead at his Fontana residence on Sunday at about 11:30 a.m., according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. An autopsy and toxicology tests were completed Monday, with the cause of death pending. TMZ reports that Ellingson was residing at a sober-living home at the time of his death.
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Ellingson is best known for his big-screen role opposite Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin in 2009’s adaptation of Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, directed by Nick Cassavetes. He starred as Jesse Fitzgerald, the teen son of Diaz’s Sara, and the brother to Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) — diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia — and Breslin’s Anna, who was conceived to donate blood and stem cells to her ailing sister.
Before that, he appeared on multiple episodes of the third season of Christopher Titus’ self-titled Fox sitcom Titus as the 10-year-old version of the titular character and on the short-lived ABC comedy Complete Savages, about a single dad raising unruly sons. He portrayed Kyle, a rebellious teenager who often showed little regard for safety or guilt. Both aired during the 2000s at the height of Ellingson’s career. His final acting role was Kyle Harmon, the son of David Caruso’s Lt. Horatio Caine on CSI: Miami.
Born on July 1, 1988, Ellingson was raised in La Verne alongside three brothers. He made his screen debut in the 2001 mystery thriller Living in Fear before appearing that same year on the ABC soap General Hospital.
“I never had the same [childhood] experience with my friends,” Ellingson, who reportedly started acting at age 10, told The Philippine Star in a 2009 interview. “I never had more time with them. However, my childhood was a cool one. I was busy doing the things I love. I had no regrets, because I found my passion for acting early on.”
After those early roles, he would appear on episodes of MadTV, Bones and in a small role as a kid marine in Clint Eastwood’s Letters From Iwo Jima. That came just before a multi-episode stint on 24 as Josh Bauer, the nephew of Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer. Following two projects, his appearance on CSI: Miami in 2010, as part of the season-six finale of the CBS series, would be his last.
He hadn’t appeared onscreen in 10 years, but in 2021, he sought addiction recovery treatment at River’s Edge Ranch after getting into heavy drugs years earlier at 19. “Life before the drugs was kinda just fun. I’ve always been kind of a [people] person,” he said in a ranch testimonial published on YouTube. “My rock bottom was when I was 19. My older brother Austin, he died from a heroin overdose, and when he died … it sent me over the edge.”
At the time, his brother’s death helped him realize “that there was much more to life and how important people were,” he said at the time. “I would have given everything that I had to be able to get my brother back, and I knew I couldn’t. And so it sent me on this downhill spiral where everything just got really dark and scary and things weren’t fun anymore.”
“There’s a lot of things that God has shown me since I’ve been here at the ranch,” he continued. “I’m super excited about life. I know that there’s hope for me, and now I just want to let other people know that there’s hope.”
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