What Happened to Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ Career?

Greg Stevens

While Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ most prolific days are likely behind him, he’s still hard at work while also enjoying his time out of the spotlight.

If you were a ’90s kid, then it’s safe to say that you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ face. He was on TV, in movies, and even on the cover of Nick Magazine! But we saw less of him throughout the 2000s and 2010s, so you may be wondering what the Home Improvement alum has been up to after all these years. It’s safe to say that while Jonathan Taylor Thomas has left the limelight of the ’90s, he’s still actively working and living his life to the fullest. That’s right, it’s safe to say that when you start working at as young an age as Jonathan Taylor Thomas, then you have the luxury of time to lie low in your 30s and 40s. We’ve seen it time and time again with child stars like Danny Tamberelli and Macaulay Culkin. But remember, just because we’re not seeing a lot of action at this very moment, Jonathan Taylor Thomas is still young, and has the rest of his life ahead of him to pursue whatever project he likes.


While Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ most prolific days are likely behind him, he’s still hard at work while also enjoying his time out of the spotlight. That’s the thing about being one of the most famous child stars of the ’90s. Sure, he’s only 41 and in good health, but he’s had a full career and can retire if he wants to!

Related: Forgotten Child Stars Who Deserve a Key Huy Quan-Style Comeback

Left Home Improvement to Pursue His Education

Jonathan Taylor Thomas Home Improvement 1200 x 630
Buena Vista Television

Fans of Home Improvement know all too well that the final season of the show had a distinct lack of Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Randy was written out of the latter half of the final season to study abroad, which isn’t too far off from what happened in real life. The fact of the matter is that JTT wanted to exit the series to pursue his own real life education, and the workload for Home Improvement didn’t allow for that. All the hard work paid off, because he graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Philosophy and History. While the show must go on, this did cause some tension when the final season was in production in 1999, because Thomas refused to come back for the series finale.

A Run of Movies

Speedway Junky 1200 x 630
Regent Entertainment

While the child star was prolific in the ’90s with films like The Lion King, Man of the House, Tom and Huck, and The Adventures of Pinocchio to name a few, he stayed active through the early 2000s. You can see Thomas starring in films such as I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Speedway Junky, Common Ground, and An American Town. So while the Jonathan Taylor Thomas fervor of the ’90s may have waned, his career was very much active on the silver screen. This caused some tension with Tim Allen because Thomas didn’t have time for Home Improvement, but was still starring in films, but sometimes that’s just how scheduling works for one-off projects rather than long-running shows.


Jonathan Taylor Thomas Directing 1200 x 630
20th Television

We’ve all seen Jonathan Taylor Thomas in front of the camera, but he also worked on some directing jobs, such as the short film The Extra in 2006, and a handful of episodes of Tim Allen’s sitcom Last Man Standing. Aside from these couple roles, he hasn’t been very active, but who knows what the future will bring? While Thomas seems mostly retired from acting, nobody ever truly retires, and he’s got a lot of life ahead of him to pursue projects that he finds worthwhile.

Cameos with His Alma Mater on Last Man Standing

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20th Television

You didn’t think the director gig for Last Man Standing came without cameos, did you? Funnily enough, Jonathan Taylor Thomas seems to have buried the hatched with Tim Allen, and plays a very self-referential role in the sitcom. We also see him share some scenes with Patricia Richardson, believe it or not! One of the things Last Man Standing is good for is referencing older properties the cast and crew worked on together, so while Jonathan Taylor Thomas was only featured in four episodes, he and the Tool Man himself pick up right where they left off without skipping a beat.

Related: Tim Allen Denies Pamela Anderson’s Claims He Flashed Her When She Was 23 While Filming on Home Improvement

Voice Acting

Jonathan Taylor Thomas Young Simba 1200 x 630
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

We all remember the time Jonathan Taylor Thomas took on the role of Young Simba in the Lion King, but he’s been active on a number of properties throughout his career. His voice acting credits include features on The OZ Kids, The Simpsons, The Wild Thornberrys, and even some video game features such as The Adventures of Pinocchio, and Kingdom Hearts II.

We all know by now that being a child star is hard work, but Jonathan Taylor Thomas stepped away from the weekly sitcom treatment for the most part to work on other projects. Today he’s mostly retired from acting and enjoying a low profile life. In other words, Thomas put his work in early, and now he’s enjoying a more low profile life!

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