Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Photo via Saban Entertainment

Which ‘Power Rangers’ actors have died?

The beloved franchise has sadly lost many of its iconic stars.

Warning: The following article contains mention of suicide.

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2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the Power Rangers franchise – the mighty oak that surprisingly grew from repackaged footage swiped from Japan’s Super Sentai series. Despite its cheap origins, however, Power Rangers has definitively proven itself to be a bastion of pop culture, having endured in various forms over the decades ⁠– reaching from 1993’s beloved Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to the latest edition, Power Rangers: Cosmic Fury.

So many actors have come and gone with each new ensemble cast that’s introduced to this universe. Every so often, the Power Rangers universe has unfortunately suffered its fair share of losses. Several key players who made a lasting impact on fans across the years — whether they played heroes, villains, or scene-stealing supporting characters — have passed away.

As we remember those the Power Rangers franchise has lost, it’s worth bearing in mind one of the superhero team’s creeds: “Once a Ranger, always a Ranger…”

Robert L. Manahan

Robert L. Manahan voiced the Rangers’ floaty-headed mentor that was Zordon in the original Mighty Morphin series (after assuming the role from David Fielding, who played him in the first season), as well as in the follow-up Power Rangers series Zeo, Turbo, and In Space, respectively.

Since the late 1970s, prior to his work in the Power Rangers universe, Manahan had been doing voice-over and behind-the-scenes audio production on countless TV and film projects. Manahan died in 2000 from a heart aneurysm at the age of 43. To honor him, an episode of Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, “The Fifth Crystal,” was dedicated to his memory.

Thuy Trang

For many years, the most prominent loss of a Power Rangers cast member was Thuy Trang, who played Trini Kwan, the very first Yellow Ranger, in the first two seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. After she left the show in the middle of the series’ second season, Trang would go on to eventually appear on the big screen in the film Spy Hard (1996), and in The Crow: City of Angels (1996).

Trang tragically died in a car crash in 2001, at just 27 years old. In the first Power Rangers episode to air after her death, the episode “Circuit Unsure” of Power Rangers Time Force, was dedicated to her memory.

Machiko Soga

Popular actress Machiko Soga is a Super Sentai legend, having played Witch Bandora in Zyuranger and Saint Magiel in Magiranger. Because of this, she’s certainly familiar to Power Rangers fans as those characters’ counterparts, Rita Repulsa (MMPR) and the Mystic Mother (Mystic Force).

She sadly lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in 2006 at the age of 68. In dedication to her memory, footage of Soga as Magiel was used to depict a reformed Rita Repulsa in the two-part final episode of Power Rangers: Mystic Force, titled “Mystic Fate”. She was also honored in her homeland of Japan with a dedication in the crossover film, Juken Sentai Gekiranger vs Boukenger.

Richard Genelle

Richard Genelle as Ernie in 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers'
Photo via Saban

Often considered an unsung hero and OG cast member of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is Richard Genelle’s Ernie, the friendly proprietor of the teens’ favorite Angel Grove hang-out, Ernie’s Juice Bar. Grenelle appeared in a total of 122 episodes of the original series.

Genelle only had one acting credit, as a background extra, before making it big in MMPR in 1993. He would initially leave the series to focus on his health but made additional minor Power Rangers appearances in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (though his scenes were deleted), the Zeo series, and his final film role in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. Sadly, Genelle died in 2008 at the age of 47 from a heart attack.

Peta Rutter

Peta Rutter played mentor Udonna, who would eventually become the White Mystic Ranger in Power Rangers Mystic Force. With her role, she would also become the oldest actress to portray a ranger in any of the series within the Power Rangers universe.

Prior to acting in Mystic Force, she had appeared in several films and TV series, the most popular being Young Hercules, in 1998. Sadly, Rutter died in 2010 at the age of 50 due to complications from a brain tumor.

Grant McFarland

Grant McFarland appeared in three Power Rangers series: Ninja Storm, Dino Thunder, and Samurai. Additionally, he has the unique honor of playing both a Ranger team’s mentor and their nemesis, as he played Sensei Watanabe and his evil twin brother, Lothor, in Ninja Storm.

McFarland had been acting since the mid-1970s but made his most notable appearances in the popular TV adventures, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1996), and Xena: Warrior Princess (1997), before joining the Power Rangers in 2003. McFarland died of natural causes in 2018 at the age of 71.

Pua Magasiva

Pua Magasiva served as the series lead protagonist for 2003’s Power Rangers Ninja Storm, the first season of the franchise to be shot in New Zealand. He played Red Ranger Shane Clarke, a role he reprised in the following year’s Dino Thunder crossover.

While starring as the team leader in Ninja Storm, Magasiva also gained success as a series regular on the popular New Zealand primetime soap opera, Shortland Street, for over 300 episodes. across 12 seasons. In 2019, Magasiva passed away at the age of 38 from suicide.

Alistair Browning

Veteran voice actor Alistair Browning had various roles in the Power Rangers franchise, working in Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Dino Thunder, S.P.D., and Dino Charge. But his most notable efforts are that of Zenowing in Dino Charge, the team mentor who then became the Dino Charge Silver Ranger.

Before joining the Power Rangers in 2003, Browning was already an award-winning TV and film actor, having won Best Supporting Actor honors in 2001, in his native New Zealand. Browning tragically died after a battle with cancer in 2019 at the age of 65.

Robert Axelrod

Another major Mighty Morphin Power Rangers cast member who has since passed away is Robert Axelrod. He was the voice of Lord Zedd, the popular villain who was a rare original creation for the Mighty Morphin series. He also was behind the voice of Finster, Rita Repulsa’s monster maker.

Axelrod was no stranger to voice acting, beginning the 1980s with English-language versions of popular anime series at that time. He’d eventually link up in 1984 with Saban Entertainment, the company responsible for the stateside Power Rangers phenomenon, nearly a decade before MMPR took off. He died in 2019 at the age of 70 following complications relating to a spinal surgery he had a year prior.

Bruce Allpress

Power Rangers Jungle Fury star Bruce Allpress played the physical role of martial arts Master Phant. He also lent his voice talents to Phant’s Elephant Animal Spirit form, which became the Jungle Elephant Ranger.

Allpress was already an established actor in his native New Zealand, starring in numerous popular film productions in that country. Having a home in New Zealand also made it possible to appear in 2002’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and eventually in Jungle Fury, which like several Power Rangers series, were shot exclusively down under. Allpress died from complications relating to ALS in 2020 at the age of 89.

Jason David Frank

Jason David Frank, like the rest of his original co-stars of the Mighty Morphin series, is considered among the most popular actors of the franchise. His character Tommy Oliver started as the Green Ranger, then the White Ranger in MMPR, and also made appearances in the Zeo, Turbo, Wild Force, Dino Thunder, Super Megaforce, Hyperforce, and Super Ninja Steel series.

The Power Rangers fandom was heartbroken when Jason David Frank was announced to have passed away on Nov. 20 at the age of just 48. His MMPR co-stars echoed the sadness his countless fans around the globe were feeling by sharing their respective tributes online. Having appeared in more Power Rangers projects than anyone else, Frank’s passing undoubtedly leaves the franchise a much less colorful place.


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