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'Zoom' Actor Jared Nathan


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'Zoom' Actor Jared Nathan Dies in Crash

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Jared Nathan

HOLLIS, New Hampshire -- Jared Nathan, a budding actor who as a teenager performed on the popular PBS children's show, "Zoom," was killed in a car crash on Thursday, December 28. Nathan died later at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua. He was 21.

Nathan, who lived in Nashua, was a third-year acting student at the Juilliard School in New York, friends said. Nathan was home on Christmas break when the Toyota Camry he was a passenger in crashed into a tree and overturned early Thursday morning in Hollis, authorities said.

Police have arrested the driver, Gordon King, 19, of Hudson, Massachusetts, on a charge of aggravated drunken driving. He was released on $500 cash and $1,500 personal recognizance bail. Friends said King had been Nathan's roommate at the Walnut Hill School in Natick, Massachusetts.

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Jared Nathan

Nathan was 13 when he was selected for the 1999 revival of "Zoom," a public TV show that first was seen in the 1970s. He was on for one season and would have been invited back had he not reached adolescence, executive producer Kate Taylor said.

"Jared was just a wonderful, wonderful kid," Taylor said. "He was a quiet leader. He was also a really good team player." Taylor's friend, Andrea Underhill, added, "He was talented and amazing. He was the one everyone said would make it. He brought out the best in a lot of people and could make everyone smile."

"Zoom," produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, featured a multiracial cast of children ranging in age from 9 to 14 who do activities based on suggestions sent in by viewers, anything from science experiments to musical performances. With varying casts, the revived version was produced through 2005, and reruns continue on some stations.

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Original and Revival 'Zoom' Cast Members

Although the show sought children with a "kid next door" demeanor, it quickly became clear that Nathan was also very talented as an actor, Taylor said. One of her favorite memories was of a skit called "Mr. Bones and Mr. Jones," she said.

"He had a dummy that would sit in his lap -- that was Mr. Bones -- and he was Mr. Jones, and they would tell jokes to each other. It was kind of like a ventriloquist, only he wasn't a ventriloquist, and it was very funny," she said. "That was something he developed."

Nathan was 13-years-old when he was selected for the 1999 revival of "Zoom," a public television show made by WGBH-TV in Boston that debuted in the 1970s. His friends at Peacock Players Inc., a children's theater in Nashua, nicknamed him "Mr. Zoom."

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Jared Nathan

He performed at the Peacock Players' Theater and served as a counselor at its summer camp. He also performed in shows at Prescott Park and the Seacoast Repertory Theater in Portsmouth, and appeared in a Papa Gino's commercial when he was 12.

"Everyone loved to be around him . . . It wasn't that he demanded to be the center of attention. It's that by nature of who he was, he ended up the center of attention," said Craig Faulkner, production manager at Seacoast Repertory Theater.

Friends who gathered at Peacock Players to remember him Thursday said he made sure everyone felt included. "When he was a senior in high school, I was 11-years-old. He didn't let me feel left out. He was so good at taking me under his wing," said Jake Sussman. "He really got me into acting."

Nathan leaves his parents, Jeffrey and June. Sadly, Nathan was an only child, according to friends. Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

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