We may not have realized it at the time, but the original Power Rangers was a defining point for an entire generation. Sure, we watched it because there was some goofy yet cool fighting scenes, and because our parents wouldn't let us watch The X-Files. It seemed like a throwaway show. Over the years, though, we're really starting to wake up to the fact that our entire childhood was all about these six colored fighters and their endless battles to save the planet. But what about the actors in the show? Is there a "Power Rangers curse"? You're about to find out, as some of these rangers experienced some horrific tragedies in their personal lives.
The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
It was a show so strange it should never even existed. Not just the idea of the show - six American teenagers fighting in special suits against a 10,000-year-old alien witch - but the whole execution of it. Live-action footage of the six actors was mixed in with footage ripped from a years-old Japanese show called Kyoryu Sentai Zyurange, dubbed over with English voices.
For all the children who watched it when it originally aired, though, it was like nothing they'd ever seen. It was our first brush with Japanese TV programming, and the weirdness of that country that still fascinates us. When the American actors were cast as the Rangers, they had no idea that they would one day become a global phenomenon. The show turned out to be a massive global success.
Having The Time Of Their Lives
Over three seasons, the format of the show rarely changed. Although the Green Ranger was evil at first, he eventually joined the Power Rangers as their sixth member, and from then on they battled Rita and her Putty henchman every week. Beat the Putties, lose to her more powerful henchmen, get in their Zord form, beat the henchmen, lose to Rita, become Megazord, beat Rita. Every. Single. Week.
It wasn't much of a challenge for either the viewers or the actors, but both parties were clearly having the time of their lives. We loved it because we knew exactly what was going to go down, in the cheesiest way possible, and the cast loved it because it was basically them getting paid to hang out as best buddies all day.
The Red Ranger
First up on our hero roster is the Red Ranger, known as Jason Lee Scott in the TV show and played by Austin St. John. In the fictional town of Angel Grove, California, Jason seems to be a typical high school jock type of guy, obsessed with martial arts and not much else. But his big heart and willingness to help others makes him the leader of the Rangers as well as their best fighter.
For those of you who only have hazy memories of the show (and we don't blame you - the various plots were largely forgettable), the big evil is Rita, released from an alien container on Earth and intent on taking it over. Only her old nemesis, another alien called Zordon, finds some "teenagers with attitude" to become the Rangers and deal with the threat.
Still Full Of Heart
In the show, Jason is the only one who doesn't dismiss Zordon outright when he approaches them about becoming Power Rangers. It's that kind of laid back attitude that Austin St. John shared with his character Jason, and big reason for why he was so well-loved on set. In the end, he was the leader both in the show and around the set, making sure that everybody was enjoying their time filming.
Born in 1974, Austin was only 19 years old when he was cast as the Red Ranger. Although the experience might have changed his life, it hasn't changed his outlook on life. He did the show because it was just a little bit of fun, and although he's appeared in several entries in the franchise since, he's never seriously pursued a celebrity career.
Still Saving Lives, Too
Instead, he's doing just about the most selfless thing imaginable: saving lives on a regular basis. At At 43 years old, he's now a paramedic, working and living in Washington DC. Although the occasional fan might recognize him, he does it purely for the good of others, not for recognition. He does appear at the odd comic convention, though, just to remind his loyal fans how much he loves them.
One of the most interesting facts about Austin St. John is that like his character on the show, he's a martial arts buff. In fact, he's been practicing since he was five years old, and is now a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo and first-degree black belt in Judo. He's such a master that he's written his own book on the subject, called Karate Warrior: A Guide To Martial Arts.
The Return To Hollywood
He may not have touched Hollywood in a long, long time, but Austin St. John has still always kept his eye out for interesting projects. Not to become a superstar or anything, but more to just show the world that he still has it. One such project is Survival's End, an Indiegogo-funded project about a super outbreak of the Ebola virus which started filming last year.
While we're yet to see the results of that film, it bodes well for us hopefully seeing more of our Red Ranger leader. He's also slated to appear with the rest of the old cast in a film called The Order, a martial arts sci-fi flick that was also funded through Indiegogo. Again, it hasn't been released yet (or even filmed), but 2018 is looking hopeful for a triumphant return of the big guy.
The Green Ranger
Few people actually could follow the ups and downs of the Green Ranger's fortunes. At some point he was evil, then he was good, then he was stripped of his powers, then he was the most powerful Ranger in the group. It didn't matter to us brainless kids - we just saw him as the "cool" guy, the tough rebel who could outmatch Red Ranger.
The Green Ranger, aka Tommy Oliver, was played by Jason David Frank. Like Austin St. John, Jason Frank was only 19 years old when he was first offered the part. After the original Power Rangers TV show changed into Power Rangers Zeo, Tommy would become the White Ranger. But he'll always be the Green punk, the most popular of them all, in our hearts. Read on to see what he's up to now.
A Serious Fighter In Real Life
Austin St. John isn't the only one with some real martial arts background. Jason Frank is an accomplished fighter, too, as one look at his MMA promo photos will show. That's right - he's given up kicking aliens in the face and is now just focusing on mere earthlings. With a 7th-degree black belt in Karate, purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Ajarn degree in Muay Thai, he's one of the more fearsome opponents in the ring.
Frank first signed up to Sucker Punch entertainment in 2009, and over the next year won almost every single one of his bouts - without ever once having to morph into a robot. Since then he turned pro, and his winning streak has been incredible, taking out his opponents often in the first round. An injury to his bicep put him out for some time, but he's hungry to return to the ring.
His Personal Life
Jason married young, at the age of twenty, just one year after he started work on the Power Rangers. He stayed with his wife, Shawna, for seven years, and had three children - Hunter, Jacob, and Skye. But their young marriage wasn't to last, and the couple split up in 2001. Nowadays, Jason Frank is based out of Houston, Texas, where he lives with his current wife Tammie.
Tammie has been a huge influence on his life. They met in 2002 and married a year later, and now have a daughter named Jenna. Like Jason, Tammie is a martial artist. As well as that, she's a practicing Christian, and introduced Jason to the church after the death of his brother. It affected him so much that he helped create a Christian MMA company called "Jesus Didn't Tap." Weird combo, but great name.
Always A Power Ranger
While many of his costars left the Power Rangers world behind after their three seasons of fame, Jason wasn't quite as ready to give up the suit. He played his character Tommy Oliver for a further 17 years after the first run ended, making his time in front of the camera, kicking alien butt over and over, an incredible 20 years in total.
As one of the most popular Power Rangers characters of all time, there was really no reason for Jason Frank (or Tommy Oliver) to ever give up. Tommy's been through many different versions, from the green suit to the white suit, and later becoming a Red Ranger and Black Dino Ranger (and paleontologist) in the show, mentoring the other Power Ranger teenagers as they protected the world from terrible acting.
Will He Return?
It's no secret that Jason Frank loved his time as Tommy Oliver, and the continued fan praise at conventions and online has meant he's always willing to don the suit one last time. But in 2013, it looked like the character would be permanently retired. He no longer appeared in the TV shows Power Rangers Wild Force, SPD, or Super Megaforce, although he would cameo in a few of the episodes.
However, the new cinematic reboot might change all that. Released in March of this year, the Tommy Oliver character is absent for the entire film, but it is hinted towards the end that he will return for the sequel. Whether it will be Jason Frank playing him is up for debate - according to him, they might be looking for a female actress to portray the character.
The Blue Ranger
From the very beginning of the show, the Blue Ranger, aka teenager Billy Cranston, was always the controversial choice. He was the nerdy one of the group, into tech and not very good at all at fighting, and many fans questioned why he was even in the team. But as the seasons and episodes rolled by, he proved his worth time and time again, inventing all kinds of gadgets for the team and even becoming a competent fighter.
Fun fact: the name of the character, Cranston, comes from actor Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad. Apparently he provided the voiceovers for a bunch of the villain monsters in the early seasons, and the producers liked him so much they named the character after him. David Yost, who played the Blue Ranger, was one of the oldest actors in the group - 24 years old when he started.
A Lasting Legacy
Behind Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger, David Yost is the second-longest serving member of the original Power Rangers team. He made the move from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to Power Rangers Zeo, and only left the show just before the end of that series, some five years after he first started on the small screen. His character, however, continued the fight and was even included in this year's movie reboot.
Despite leaving the show, Yost continues to keep in touch with the rest of the original cast. Not only that, but he continues to tour the comic and sci-fi conventions, for the fans. Just as he became a highly regarded member of the Power Rangers team, so too did David Yost become a firm fan favorite, and it's a role that he remembers fondly.
There was only one major cloud that threatened to sour his career as a Ranger, and that was the circumstances of his departure from the show. David Yost quit only two episodes from the end of the Power Rangers Zeo series, and producers had to reuse stock footage and a body double in order to make it look like he was still there.
It's still unclear what happened to make him leave the show so suddenly. According to producers on the show, Yost left because of a contract dispute, after a promised bonus salary was not delivered to the actors. However, Yost has a different memory of it. In 2010, David - who is gay in real life - told an interviewer that he quit because the working atmosphere had become toxic, and that he was constantly subjected to homophobic slurs from the crew (but not his fellow cast members) whenever he was on set.
Still An Actor, Still A Star
Whatever the reason for his split from The Power Rangers, Yost has said that the relationship that he had with the original gang was so amazing, that he still loves to catch up with them. The events of his departure haven't turned off his dream of being a full-time actor, either, and he's still acting in and producing projects in Hollywood whenever he has the chance.
The number of shows he's worked in or on, and the number of studios he's worked for, would take all day to type out. But you can rest assured that he's been a busy man in the industry ever since he left the show, starring in several films, producing series like Temptation Island and Alien Hunter, and even working as the director of production for the Sci-Fi Channel.
The Black Ranger
The Black Ranger, aka teenager Zack Taylor, is just another example of the charming subtlety of the early 90s. Played by black actor Walter Emanuel Jones, Zack was every African American 90s stereotype rolled into one, from his Will Smith-style hi-top hairstyle, to his love of b-ball and dancing to a boombox, and just being a straight-up, all-round playa, this was clearly a character dreamt up by a boardroom full of old white dudes.
And yet Walter Jones brought so much fun to the character and the cast that he transcended all that. Always joking around with the gang and getting up to mischief, he was the guy that we all secretly wanted to be, one arm around Kimberly and wisecracking about a savage Putty smack down we just delivered. Walter made Zack come alive.
A Masterclass Actor
The interesting thing about the original Power Rangers gang is that despite their successes, only a few of them really managed to follow their dreams of becoming A-list actors. Sure, the show was cheesy as hell, but those teenagers and twenty-year-olds really played their parts to perfection. Especially Walter Jones, who like we said brought such life to his role that he stole every scene.
In the end, Walter Jones actually only lasted a year and a half as the Black Ranger, eventually walking from the set after a contract dispute couldn't be resolved. That hasn't harmed his acting career, though, which has been nothing short of stellar. Aside from eventually returning to Power Rangers for the odd episode, he's also been in Family Matters, Step by Step, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Moesha, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Early Edition, NYPD Blue, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Shield and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Not bad at all, right?
And A World-Class Dancer
His dancing on the show is not just something he made up on the spot. In fact, he's been a proper professional dancer since he was young. Talking about his casting, Walter said "I auditioned like other people. I almost missed it because I was doing 'Star Search' at the time. After 2-3 call backs, with Saban, I learned that they wanted an actor who can dance, do martial arts, and gymnastics. It just happened that I had all the right characteristics for the role."
How good is he, exactly? Well, since he discovered salsa on a cruise to Puerto Rico, he actually became a world champion of the dance in 2004. That's a couple of years from not knowing a single step, to becoming one of the best in the world at it. Most people couldn't even learn the Macarena in that time, let alone a fast-paced Latino rhythm like salsa. He even teaches classes in it in LA!
That Middle Finger
The world of Power Rangers is full of odd rumors and whispers in the wind, conspiracies and fan theories. With a show that attracts such a devoted audience as this, it's really no surprise that some people get a little too obsessed. One of the biggest rumors is about Walter's middle finger on his left hand, which is missing from the first knuckle. Everyone says that it was a freakish accident on set, but the truth is far more mundane.
Speaking in an interview about the finger, Walter said that the accident happened long before he was ever a Power Ranger - in fact, it was when he was four years old. "As a kid, growing up without a middle finger, people were fascinated by it. Girls wanted to touch it and they would oft-times scream. I lost it at a young age and I doubt it will ever come back."
Making Fans Cry
There's simply no doubting the love that Wallter Jones got in such a short time as Black Ranger Zack Taylor. None of which has diminished in the almost quarter century since the show first aired and Walter first appeared. Fans still love him, and as he does the circuits of conventions and signings with his co-stars, he's still making knees weak everywhere.
One of our favorite stories about his influence comes from a Star Wars convention that he attended. "This one guy," Walter recalls, "he was probably 24 or 25 years old, and he wasn't standing too far from me, broke down in tears once he knew he was standing right next to me. He was in complete shock that the original Black Power Ranger was right there, right next to him. It like brought him back to his old childhood. The guy came up to me and apologized for crying since it all overwhelmed him. We took a picture and I was so happy that I was able to make a difference in his life and be a kind person."
The Yellow Ranger
Back in 1999, around the time that the original DVD boxset was coming out, Austin St. John and Walter Jones hosted a special airing of a Power Rangers episode they called "The Lost Episode". In fact, it was just the unaired pilot of the original series, an episode called "The Day Of The Dumpster". Most of the cast members were the same, except for one key difference: the Yellow Ranger.
Ask any fan who the Yellow Ranger, aka Trini Kwan, was played by and they'll tell you it was Thuy Trang, the then 19-year-old Vietnamese-American actress. But in the unaired pilot, Trini Kwan was actually played by Audri DuBois, a Hispanic-American actress who was later fired for asking for more money. What would have happened if Audri had stayed on? How would Thuy Trang's life been different?
A Tragic Loss
This is not a story that has a happy ending. Tragically, Thuy Trang's happy life in the States was cut short when she was only 27, in a car crash in San Francisco. Like Austin St. John and Walter Jones, the Red Ranger and Black Ranger, she had also left the show in the middle of the second season due to a pay dispute. But even though her time was brief, both in life and on the show, she touched the hearts of millions.
Like her character in Power Rangers, Thuy Trang was both polite and soft spoken, as well as being a fierce martial arts fighter. In real life, Trang had studied kung fu from the age of nine, and she put these skills to good use in the show. Trini Kwan was also a kung fu master, proficient in the art of Praying Mantis Kung Fu, and would often put down the enemies with lightning-fast moves and high kicks.
Her Difficult Upbringing
But the fascinating and troubled story of Thuy Trang goes back far beyond her first major role in the Power Rangers. Born in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, she was forced to flee the capital, Saigon, during its fall in 1975. She was only two years old at the time, and her father was a soldier whose battalion was attempting to repel the North Vietnamese army.
While her father managed to escape and was granted political asylum in the U.S., Trang had a much more difficult route. With her mother and family, they stowed away on board a cargo ship bound for Hong Kong, and were forced to live in a detention camp there until her father could get them to the States. Thuy Trang almost died from illness during this harrowing journey.
That Fateful Day
After surviving such odds and landing in the land of opportunity, it seemed like Trang's life could only be blessed from then on. She earned a scholarship to study engineering at UCI, but a chance meeting with a Hollywood agent convinced her that she should try acting. A few small roles later and she stepped into the shoes of the Yellow Ranger, the beginning of a brilliant career. But that's when her luck would run out.
On that fateful day, September 3rd, 2001, Trang was in the passenger seat of a car driven by the bridesmaid of her friend, Angela Rockwood. Angela was due to get married to actor Dustin Nguyen, and Trang was also a bridesmaid for the wedding. At some point in their drive, the driver lost control of the car and it hit a rock wall before flipping several times and sliding over an embankment. Trang died of internal injuries before ever reaching the hospital.
Mourning A Star
All of her Power Rangers co-stars - with the exception of Jason Frank, whose brother had also just died - attended the funeral, shocked by the sudden and devastating loss of one of their dearest friends. Fans the world over mourned the up-and-coming star, a woman whose life was taken too soon. To this day, many still honor the anniversary of her death.
Tragic really is the best word to describe it. This was a star for whom everything really looked to be going right. She had continued to pursue her career in acting after she left the Power Rangers, and had landed a few major roles in that time, including The Crow: City of Angels and Spy Hard. If the accident hadn't happened, she might have been one of the greats by now.
Addicted To Her Craft
Instead of mourning the loss of this beautiful actress, though, we should celebrate the live she had, however short. Like we mentioned earlier, Trang had initially accepted a scholarship to study engineering before she fell into the acting world. It was kind of a family tradition, engineering, and although her parents were concerned about her reversal of interest, her natural talent soon put to rest all doubts.
Of course, in a show that's as deliberately tacky and wacky as Power Rangers, it's hard to get a sense of how well actors can really act. They have to ham it up. But one look at Trang in her later roles and you'll realize that she had a talent far beyond children's TV shows. She was not only a professional, but she had the kind of screen presence that comes to only a few per generation.
The Missing Years
Interestingly, though, there is a five-year gap between her final film role - The Crow: City of Angels, in 1996 - and Trang's untimely death in 2001. Trang was an up-and-coming actress, and had the eye of all the major studios. There was no reason for her to be out of work. So what on earth was she doing during that long time span?
The answer requires some serious digging, and is as complicated as Trang's Hollywood life. In early treatments of the show, Trang's character Trini Kwan was seen to be struggling with her sexual identity, unsure if she liked girls more than boys. Although that plot line was cut, it was eerily mirrored in real life - and the confusion and turmoil it caused made Trang drop off the radar.
What Could Have Been
In a story as tragic as Trang's, there's so many what-ifs. Sure, we only have what really happened, but life could have been so much different, and so much longer, for this young star. What if she had pursued engineering, not acting? What if she had never been cast as the yellow Power Ranger? What if she had stayed on the show? Unfortunately we will never know the answers to these questions.
Perhaps most importantly, what would have happened if the world was more accepting of her and her struggles with her sexuality? Hollywood, as we all know these days, is a seedy boy's club with some very flaky morals and pretty dodgy perspectives. If there had just been a little bit more support for Trang, and she hadn't been blackballed, this whole mess might have been avoided.
Leaving A Legacy
But fate is what it is, of course, and there's absolutely nothing you can do to change the past. What we should celebrate is that despite this senseless death, Trang's career and life has left a lasting legacy for the next generation. It's not just in the films she did act in, but in the way she influenced so many others.
Her position as a Vietnamese-American actress, for example. Until Trang arrived on the scene, it was slim pickings for an ethnic group that really should have far more representation. But Trang opened up opportunities for so many more actors to come through - Maggie Q, Trieu Tran, and James Duval, to name just a couple - as well as inspiring a whole new generation of Vietnamese-Americans to do what they loved.
The Character Lives On
After Trang left Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers during its second season, many people doubted that there would be another actress that could so successfully fill the boots of the Yellow Ranger. However, the show pressed on with a replacement by the name of Aisha Campbell, who was played by Karan Ashley. After the end of the third season, however, Ashley left the show and it looked like the Yellow Ranger was done for good.
It wasn't until last year that Trini and the Yellow Ranger came back, in the 2017 movie reboot of the Power Rangers. Music artist and all-round massive talent Becky G played the part this time, and in a nod to Trang, she became one of the first LGBTQ superheroes to ever be shown on film. We're sure that wherever she is, Trang would be happy with how it eventually turned out.
The Pink Ranger
Every teen story needs a super-hot love interest, and the Pink Ranger, aka Kimberly Hart, was every boy's dream. Played by Amy Jo Johnson, this was a sweet yet sassy teen who looked just as good in a dress as she did dishing out a savage Putty beating. Everybody in the show was obsessed with this teenage beauty, from the Red Ranger to the Green, but it was ultimately Tommy Oliver (the Green Ranger) who gained her heart.
By all accounts, the real life Amy Jo Johnson was just as lovely and kind natured as her Kimberly character. Where three of the other Rangers left in the middle of the second season due to a dispute, Amy ignored all the fuss and continued giving her all to the show. When she left, at the end of the third season, it was only to pursue other opportunities in her acting career.
The Valley Girl Grows Up
Although she could sing, play the guitar, and knew sign language, Kimberley Hart started off in the show as just your typical Valley Girl. She was a cheerleader, too. But much like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the movie of which came out around the same time, Kimberley becomes a warm-hearted and witty fighting machine, using her gymnastics to soundly beat her enemies every time.
With the exception of being exceptionally good at gymnastics - it's what scored her a spot on the show - Amy Johnson's early life couldn't be much more different than her character's. She grew up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to a car salesman father and clothing store manager mother, and lived an average and humble teen life, focusing on her gymnastics. That is, until she decided to become an actress.
And what an actress she's become. While it was a huge break for her at the time - she was 23 years old and hadn't been in a movie or TV show before it - Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was only the first stepping stone in a huge career. From outstanding roles in Felicity, Saved By The Bell, and ER in the 90s, to being a star in Flashpoint, The Division, and Covert Affairs, she's rarely off the small screen.
She's just as comfortable on the big screen, too, with over 20 films to her name. This year, in fact, she even produced, written, directed, and starred in her own film, a drama called The Space Between. Not to mention that fact that she's musically gifted, too, with three albums under her belt as a singer-songwriter. Basically, there's nothing this girl can't do.
The Lure Of Canada
The personal lives of many of the Power Rangers performers has been tumultuous, to say the least. But not Amy Johnson, who's found her one true love and stuck with him. She married her one and only husband, a man by the name of Oliver Giner, in 2009, have had one daughter together, and are still happily married to this day.
Moving her even further from her on-screen Valley Girl image is the fact that in the late 2000s, she decided to leave the States behind and live in Toronto. She seems happy with the move, even gaining Canadian citizenship in 2015 and performing most of her roles there. Sure, she still hops on the fan circuit around the world to remind them of who she was, but her heart now lies north of the border.
The Show That Made Her Name
Few people who grew up after the early 90s will remember just how sexist that period of time really was. It was before powerful women like Dana Scully, Buffy Summers, Daria Morgendorffer, and yes, the Powerpuff Girls, proved that ladies could kick ass and hold their own even better than the boys. Before they paved the way for more strong female characters.
Amy Jo Johnson, playing Kimberly Hart, was one of those female characters who didn't need to be saved by men. But at the time, it was still a controversial move to have a girl beating up monsters all on her own, and Amy struggled with the reaction. She pushed through, though, and everyone grew to love her and recognize that this was totally cool. And at the same time, the show made her a star.
With Her Co-Stars
Like any other TV show and cultural phenomenon, there were times during the filming of Power Rangers when things on set weren't quite as friendly as they should have been. Not that the cast and crew didn't get along well - it's just that when you throw together so many young actors, there's bound to be some clashes of personality. The occasional tantrum.
But where other actors might harbor grudges and hold on to the pettiness, Amy Jo Johnson was always the professional, and always the loveliest one in the group. She was friends with everyone, and was the kind of glue that held the group together. Still to this day, she's the one who hangs out with her old co-stars, even if sometimes she's moved past them on the pay scale.
We've taken a quick poll around the office here and discovered something very unsurprising: after all these years, the Pink Ranger is still everyone's favorite childhood memory. The Green Ranger, Tommy Oliver, might have been more popular at the time, but somehow Johnson has really stuck in our memory. Maybe it was that little pink skirt, or maybe it was that sunny disposition and insane skills.
Either way, she's stuck in our mind to this day. Few have forgotten Johnson, and fewer still don't harbor some kind of crush on her, a quarter century on. Male and female fans alike. And why not? At age 47, she's still gorgeous, still giving to her fans every convention, and still as warm and lovely as ever. She's still the same as she was in our childhood.
Over the course of three seasons that Johnson was on the show, there was one major character arc that had all the viewers hooked. It was the budding love story between her and the Green Ranger, which started off as a shaky rivalry and ended with an almost controversial on-screen kiss. They looked destined to be together, and all the die hard fans couldn't have been happier.
Of course, those that know the show will know that nothing lasts forever, and by season three their relationship had once again hit the skids. They broke up, and Tommy (the Green Ranger) ended up dating the next Pink Ranger, eventually marrying her. But what was their relationship like in real life? According to gossip, those on-screen feelings had an exact mirror in real life.
A Brief Return
Like in the show, Jason David Frank, aka the Green Ranger, and Johnson had a brief and stormy relationship before splitting up. While Frank's next relationship on the show was just as romantic, fans weren't happy that Johnson and Frank didn't end up together. But time has a way of healing all wounds, and the franchise has a way of making every wish come true.
This fan service came in the form of a cameo, in the 2017 film reboot of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. It's a "blink and you'll miss it" moment - during a scene where the public are clamoring around a downed Megazord, Johnson and Frank appear as an on-screen couple, whipping out their smartphones and taking a few snaps. They might not be together in real life, but it was a beautiful sense of closure for the fans.
What About Her Character?
Johnson stuck around longer than most in the TV show - all the way to the end of the third season, in fact. And when she finally decided to branch out, the producers of the show realized that they had some big pink boots to fill. While other characters came and went and nobody minded too much, they knew that Johnson's departure would have to be handled very carefully.
For a time, Amy Jo Johnson and her character Kimberly Hart were one and the same in the minds of the fans. In a way, what happened to Hart, the Pink Ranger, also happened to Johnson - her romance with Oliver being a prime example. So to get to the bottom of where Johnson is at now, we also need to look at one other person - the Pink Ranger.
The Pink Ranger Evolution
When Amy Jo Johnson left the Rangers universe - during a complicated plotline involving something called the PanGlobal Games - the show decided that it needed to make the next Pink Ranger a completely different beast. Almost literally: when she was introduced, Katherine Hillard was the form of an evil cat, under the spell of that eternal troublemaker, Rita.
Although that was just temporary, and after a bit of back and forth, some power coins stolen, some elaborate ruses and the breaking of spells, the real Katherine Hillard finally stood up. As it turns out, her true nature was just as nice as Johnson's Kimberley, and in the show Kimberley Hart had no hesitation handing over the pink boots to her new, perky successor that we have all grown to love.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and the Pink Ranger is still in the action. The 2017 reboot - an average attempt to revive the somewhat dying franchise - couldn't afford to leave out their most popular character, and they chose English actress Naomi Scott to play her. It was an inspired decision, bringing the young beauty in for the Pink Ranger.
Interestingly, they changed her back story completely. Instead of being a sweet, good girl from the Valley, the Pink Ranger this time was a bad girl, the high school meanie, if you will, who only becomes good after she's crossed the line. It gave her an edge, certainly, but it wasn't quite the same Pink Ranger that we all knew and love. Everyone loves a bad girl, but it's hard to look at her that way when she's always been a good girl.
Her TV Career
We've already mentioned Amy Jo Johnson's stellar career after she finished up with the Rangers, but we think it deserves a little more detail. It didn't take long for Johnson's talent to be recognized, and she was already scoring roles the minute she left her suit behind. At first they were small: just some made-for-television movies called Suzie Q and Perfect Body.
But then she struck paydirt with a lead role in Felicity, and everything changed. She was in the TV show for a full three seasons playing Julie Emrick, and this well and truly set her career in stone. From there it was bigger shows like ER and Spin City, until in 2004 she landed a starring role in crime drama The Division. We hope she continues to hit more big roles in the future.
Lately, though, it's been her recurring part on Covert Affairs that has really captured the world's attention. It was an interesting premise for a show - instead of some hardcore specialist agents, it followed the rise of a green (and very nervous) CIA field operative as she went from fetching everyone coffee to becoming a ruthless agent, over the course of five seasons.
Amy Jo Johnson stepped into the fifth season as Hayley Price, a counterterrorist agent which works with the CIA. It gave Johnson a chance to show off her skills in stunts and combat once again, as well as her full acting range. Sadly the show was cancelled after that season, so we'll never know how far she really could have taken her character. She truly could have been something very special in this role.
Johnson isn't just an ass-kicker on the small (and big) screen. She's the epitome of strong women everywhere, using her skills and celebrity status to really make a difference in this mixed-up world. The #metoo movement has its roots in women like her: social activists who are not afraid to speak their mind and ensure equality amongst genders.
If it wasn't for Power Rangers, in fact, this might never have happened. We're sorry to tarnish the reputation of this brilliant show, but when it came to equal pay for male and female actors, Power Rangers was just as bad as the rest of them. That's why many of the actors quit in season two, in fact. But instead of quitting, Johnson used that experience to make her stronger - and give her a reason to fight.
And Helping Others
That's not to say that this incredible woman only uses her powers for feminism. We don't know exactly how she does it, but while the rest of us are eating, sleeping, and playing video games, she's out there improving the lives of so many people through her tireless charity work. Whether it's disadvantaged children in Toronto or refugees across America, the world is a much better place for having Johnson in it.
Let's not forget about the animals, either! Johnson is a keen animal lover, and while Toronto doesn't afford her too much room for a full menagerie, she makes do by helping out in animal shelters and drawing attention to the poor conditions found in some zoos. A staunch vegetarian, she's also worked with PETA in a number of their campaigns.
It's almost incredible to believe that with all these things going on in her life, Amy Jo Johnson still has time to be a mother. Sad, too, because we were totally hoping she would marry us, but it's still incredible that she's managing to live so many lives, and do them all in style. Of course, that's true of all mothers everywhere - so don't forget to thank yours.
Her daughter, Charlotte, was born in 2010 to her and her long-time husband, Oliver Giner. Despite sharing the looks (and the sass) of her beloved mom, Johnson says she's not quite ready to let her go into an acting career. "I started young," Johnson says, "and I coped okay. But I want to make sure she turns out normal!" With Johnson as a mother, we're sure she will.
She Can Still Kick Ass
There's plenty of words you could use to describe the now 47-year-old Johnson. Talented, stunning, fabulous, and as sweet as cherry pie. Let's not forget fit, either. All that martial arts training that she did while on set has stuck around, and she continues to train in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Taekwondo to this very day. In other words, she can still kick your ass if she needs to.
Maybe that's what the allure was (and still is). It's time for men to drop the pretense of trying to be dominant - deep down, we actually want a woman who's the boss. Who can deliver a roundhouse kick to our sensitives if we step out of line. It sure would make life a hell of a lot of easier if strong women took over.
The Good Girl
Here at Culturehook, we're always trying to dish the dirt on your favorite celebs. We gossip and we whisper rumors like the best in the business. But when it comes to Amy Jo Johnson, we're afraid that we're going to have to disappoint you. Everyone has at least one skeleton in the closet, but not the Pink Ranger. She's almost flawless.
We can't find one bit of bad behavior, and believe us we've tried. She's never been picked up for a DUI, or mouthed off about her costars. She turns up to work on time and acts her heart out, and when the day is over, she's not smoking meth out in her trailer - she's gone home to be the best mom ever. She's a good girl, and to be honest we love her for it.
We've covered what Johnson is doing these days, a few decades after she became a global phenomenon. But what's next for this glittering star? Speaking at a recent convention, she's hinted that she might step away from acting, and step behind the camera instead. Her first filming experience, out this year, really made her realize how much fun it could be, and how many stories she had to tell.
That's not to say that she's hanging up her acting boots for good. In fact, there is some good news for Power Rangers fans: she's keen to pick up where she left off. "If they approached me," she said, "I would find it pretty hard to say no." Start up the internet petitions, Rangers fans, because this is something we really need to see.