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Jason David Frank, Like The Green Ranger, Was A Loner Who Became A Leader

Iconic "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" actor and martial artist Jason David Frank has died at the age of 49, he was best known for his portrayal of Tommy Oliver, aka the Green Ranger. Frank played Oliver for nearly three decades, capturing the imagination of generations of kids and adults as he and his character would become the most important players in the television franchise. Frank made his debut on the show as an enemy to the rest of the Power Rangers, corrupted by the evil Rita Repulsa's (Machiko Soga) spell. Over the course of a five-episode arc in the Season 1 of the show, the Green Ranger becomes an ally to the Power Rangers and breaks the spell Repulsa used to control him.

Originally shown to be a loner, Oliver would become an essential part of the Power Rangers and be an indispensable member of the team, but first, the Green Ranger had to go through an evolution of his character before finding his true place on the team.

Frank and the Green Ranger were reluctant to join the team

While the Green Ranger was initially an outsider and enemy of the Power Rangers, he would eventually be reborn as a leader of the team. But, it wasn't always apparent that the Green Ranger, or Frank, ever wanted to be a leader in the first place. "I'd rather be alone; I never wanted to be 'with' the Rangers. It wasn't my thing, and I was happy to come and save the world with the Dragonzord, then go back and flip kicks in the park. So when they suddenly wanted me to be the 'leader,' it was like 'ehh...'" Frank told ScienceFiction.com when asked about being the franchise's most popular character.

Frank was always humble in interviews and quickly brushed off being referred to as the most popular character saying, "Hey man, I'm just happy to be there... I loved the character." Frank's character is often thought of as one of the most popular because of the story arcs the writers gave to Tommy Oliver, which the other Power Rangers didn't benefit from. After the redemption arc in Season 1, when the Green Ranger went from enemy to friend, he got to experience another momentous story in Season 2 of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers." After having all of his powers stripped away by one of Lord Zedd's power-draining monsters, the Green Ranger was set to make a triumphant return to the Power Rangers as the team's new leader.

Frank became a leader and inspiration in the Power Ranger community

Frank, just like the character he played, experienced a lot of growth, eventually becoming a role model and inspiration both on and off the screen. The role of the Green Ranger was originally only supposed to be temporary, but the popularity of Frank and his character earned him a permanent spot on the show as the White Ranger and leader of the Power Rangers. "It wasn't something that I was hoping for, but it was something that I was molded to do. It's weird because I was only originally hired for those ten episodes, and now it's just so big," Frank revealed in an interview.

Frank was known for how well he treated his fans, taking photos, signing autographs, and making appearances at conventions even when he wasn't booked to do so. "Even just a few years ago, I couldn't get booked at cons for anything! But I was there anyway, signing for free because it's about the fans for me," Frank added in the interview. And the fact that Frank went out of the way for his fans wasn't the only reason he was a leader and inspiration, he also led his own martial arts school — the martial artist and actor had been training in the discipline since he was four and was always willing to teach anyone who wanted to learn for themselves.

Frank put a lot of himself into the role of Tommy Oliver and the Green Ranger, and it is apparent that the character also had a significant effect on his life. In an interview with Looper in 2016, he admitted to being a loner in real life and growing as a person because of his role as the Green Ranger. "I was a real loner, and that's the role that Tommy first filled on the show. I was always the kid that was off on his own, wearing X-Men t-shirts and getting teased a bit. ... as the role changed, it helped me grow into other parts of myself."