Justin Pierce

Last updated
Justin Pierce
Born(1975-03-21)March 21, 1975
London, England
DiedJuly 10, 2000(2000-07-10) (aged 25)
Cause of death Suicide by hanging
OccupationActor, skateboarder
Years active1995–2000
Known for Kids , Next Friday
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Gina Rizzo
(m. 1999)

Justin Charles Pierce (March 21, 1975 – July 10, 2000) was a British actor and skateboarder who grew up in the U.S. He is best known for his roles in the 1995 film Kids and as Roach in the 2000 film Next Friday . On July 10, 2000, Pierce died by suicide in Las Vegas. [1]


Early life

Pierce was born in London, England to a Welsh mother and an American father and was brought up in the Marble Hill and Kingsbridge sections of New York City. Pierce's parents divorced when he was 15. [2]

After his parents' divorce, he began stealing cigarettes and food, and frequently missed school in favor of skateboarding. Pierce soon quit school and moved out, staying in a "warren of rooms" in a basement of a building on 176th Street, that was "teeming" with fellow skaters. Pierce was later arrested for possession of marijuana and heroin. [2] [3]


Pierce was a member of the original Zoo York skateboard team, and is featured in the Zoo York 'Mixtape' video (1998), magazines and adverts for the company. [4] [5] He was also a member of the original Supreme Crew with fellow Zoo York team riders and close friends Harold Hunter and Peter Bici.

In his memory, Supreme have released featured images of his skateboarding (taken by photographer Ari Marcopoulos) in its clothing lines and publications. Promotional footage of Pierce and the Supreme Crew skateboarding has surfaced on the Supreme New York website [6] While skateboarding in Washington Square Park, Pierce was discovered by film director Larry Clark, who cast him in his controversial 1995 film Kids . [2] After the success of Kids, Pierce won an Independent Spirit Award for his portrayal of Casper, the profane and drug-addicted skateboarder friend of Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick), and relocated to Los Angeles. [2]

He appeared in the 1997 film A Brother's Kiss as the young Lex, played as an adult by Nick Chinlund. Pierce also appeared in television movies, including 1997's First Time Felon. He also starred alongside Ice Cube and Mike Epps in the film Next Friday as Roach. Pierce's last on-screen appearance was in the 2002 film Looking for Leonard, released after his death. The film was dedicated to his memory.

Personal life

In July 1999, Pierce married stylist Gina Rizzo in Las Vegas. [2]


On July 10, 2000, Pierce was found hanging in his room at the Bellagio Hotel by hotel security. His death was determined to be a suicide. [1] [7] [8] Two suicide notes were reported to be found, which have not been released to the public. [9] The following day, a Catholic memorial service for Pierce was held at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral in Manhattan. [2] He is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.


1995 Kids Casper
1996Supreme Crew '96Justin PierceSkateboarding Video - Promo for Supreme New York
1997 A Brother's Kiss Young Lex
First Time FelonEddieTelevision film
1998Wild HorsesRookieAlternative title: Lunch Time Special
Myth America
Freak Weather Pizza Guy
Zoo York Mix TapeJustin PierceSkateboarding Video
1999Too PureLeo
Out in FiftyFreddy
The Big Tease Skateboard Kid
2000LA CountyJustin PierceSkateboarding Video
This Is How the World EndsZombie Television pilot
Next Friday Roach
Malcolm in the Middle Justin2 episodes
King of the Jungle Lil' Mafia
BlackMaleLuther WrightAlternative title: Blackmail
2002Looking for LeonardChevyfilmed in 1997; Released posthumously


YearAwardCategoryTitle of workResult
1996 Independent Spirit Awards Best Debut PerformanceKidsWon

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  1. 1 2 "Justin Pierce, 25; Starred in 'Kids'". The New York Times . 2000-07-13.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Davis, Peter (October 1, 2000). "Justin Pierce: The Lost Boy". papermag.com. Archived from the original on July 29, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  3. "'Kids,' Then and Now". New York Times. 21 July 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  4. "Zoo York - Mix Tape (1998) < Skately Library". skately.com. Archived from the original on 2019-08-03. Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  5. "Zoo York Team Riders". Zoo York. Archived from the original on 2014-10-12. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  6. "Supreme Crew '96". www.supremenewyork.com. Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  7. "Justin Pierce". Yahoo!. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  8. "Where Are They Now? The Cast of Kids". Unreality Magazine. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  9. Marie, Amy (26 August 2014). "The Life & Death of Justin Pierce".