Jack Black is paying tribute to his former School of Rock co-star Kevin Clark this week, after the 32-year-old was tragically hit and killed by a car while bicycling in Chicago.
Black took to Instagram on May 26 to honour the former child star, who played drummer Freddy “Spaz” Jones in the 2003 movie. “Devastating news. Kevin is gone. Way too soon,” Black captioned two photos. “Beautiful soul. So many great memories. Heartbroken. Sending love to his family and the whole School of Rock community."
According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Clark was riding his bike on May 26 at a dangerous intersection when he was hit around 1:20 a.m. by an unidentified 20-year-old woman. Paramedics took him to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 2:04 a.m. The driver was issued several citations, but no further information was given at time of press.
Clark was 12 years old when he was cast in School of Rock, in which Black moonlights as a substitute music teacher who winds up inspiring the kids, parents, and even the principal (Joan Cusack) of a strict private school. Clark had no acting background, but he played the drums and that helped him to get the part.
“He wasn’t an actor, wasn’t thinking about being an actor,” his mom, Allison Clark, told the publication. Sure enough, Clark didn’t act again following the movie, but he continued with his music. He taught, and he was also in the newly formed group, Jess Bess and the Intentions. “They were unbelievably fantastic and they would’ve gone somewhere,” his mother added.
Fellow School of Rock co-stars also took to social media to share their condolences following the news of Clark’s passing. “Stunned and saddened by this news today,” wrote Miranda Cosgrove, who played Summer. “The world lost an amazing soul. I'll always remember your spirit and how kind you were to me. I'll never forget all the memories. You'll always be missed Kevin.”
“Love you forever, spaz,” tweeted Rivkah Reyes, who played Katie. “I will never forget your hugs and your laugh and the sheer joy on your face when we'd run into each other in Chicago. Thank you for always showing up for me with that 'big brother I never had' energy.”
“I can’t believe we lost a member of the family today. I’ve developed such a love & gratitude over the years for the once-in-a-lifetime experience that School of Rock was,” wrote Brian Falduto, who played Billy.
“So much of [the movie’s] impact has to do with the once-in-a-lifetime combination of people that was part of that experience. Those same people remain very much a part of my life to this day. We will miss you, Kevin. Thank you for finally forgiving me (in 2016) for making you wear spandex & heels. So, so much love to you, you wickedly talented & wonderfully kind man.”
School of Rock was a surprising hit when it was released 18 years ago. The film pulled in more than $131 million at the international box office against a budget of $35 million, and Black was nominated for a Golden Globe at that year’s awards show. (He lost to Bill Murray, who took home the prize for Lost in Translation.) Rumours of a sequel have been circulating ever since.
The film also inspired the TV adaptation of School Of Rock, which featured a new cast of characters when it debuted on Nickelodeon in 2016. That series ran for three seasons before it was cancelled in 2018.
“It’s definitely the movie I’m most proud of,” Black previously told GQ. “That’s the one that really felt like all the planets aligned. When we did the first read-through with the whole cast it was just like… lightning in a bottle. That’s the only time I felt that I was like, meant to do something.”
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