Jason Raize Cause of Death: A Tragic Loss for Broadway

Jason Raize, who played the adult Simba in the original Broadway cast of The Lion King, died by suicide on February 3, 2004, in Yass, Australia. He was 28 years old. His death shocked and saddened the theatre community, as well as his fans and family. In this article, we will explore the life and career of Jason Raize, and the circumstances that led to his tragic demise.

Early Life and Career

Jason Raize was born Jason Raize Rothenberg on July 20, 1975, in Oneonta, New York. He grew up in the Catskills in upstate New York and started acting as a teenager, when his stepmother enrolled him in a summer Shakespeare workshop. He moved to New York City, where he briefly attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

He performed at the Bucks County Playhouse in various shows, such as Oklahoma!, The King and I, Phantom, and The Rocky Horror Show. He also toured with Jesus Christ Superstar and Miss Saigon, before landing the role of Simba in The Lion King.

The Lion King and Beyond

The Lion King, based on Disney’s animated film, opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre in November 1997 and became one of the biggest Broadway hits of the 1990s. Raize was chosen for the role of Simba after a series of grueling auditions for director Julie Taymor and choreographer Garth Fagan. He played the part for nearly three years, earning rave reviews and a loyal fan base.

Raize also performed songs from The Lion King on various TV shows, such as The Rosie O’Donnell Show and Good Morning America. He was featured twice on the cover of InTheater magazine. He also appeared on The Paul Simon Album: Broadway Sings the Best of Paul Simon, singing The Sounds of Silence.

In addition to his theatre work, Raize was also an activist and a humanitarian. He was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme in 1999, for his commitment and dedication to furthering the cause of the environment. He also co-produced a benefit for refugees from Kosovo at the Kit Kat Klub in 1999.

In 2003, Raize voiced the character of Denahi in the Disney animated film Brother Bear, which was his last project before his death.

The Cause of Death

Raize died by suicide on February 3, 2004, in Yass, Australia, southwest of Sydney. The exact reason for his death is unknown, but some sources suggest that he was suffering from depression and had trouble finding work after leaving The Lion King. He had also broken up with his girlfriend, Jessica Boevers, who was also his co-star in The Lion King.

Raize’s death was a shock to his friends, colleagues, and fans, who remembered him as a talented, charismatic, and kind person. His funeral was held in Oneonta, New York, where he was buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery. A memorial service was also held at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where The Lion King cast and crew paid tribute to him.

Raize is survived by his father and stepmother, Robert and Monet Rothenberg, of Oneonta, N.Y.; and his mother, Sarah MacArthur of Wrentham, Mass.


Jason Raize was a star of Broadway, who brought joy and inspiration to millions of people with his performance as Simba in The Lion King. He was also a passionate advocate for the environment and a generous humanitarian. His death by suicide at the age of 28 was a tragic loss for the theatre world and beyond. He will always be remembered as a bright and beautiful soul, who lived in us.