Kevin Clark, who played the excitable preteen drummer Freddy Jones (aka “Spazzy McGee”) in the 2003 film “School of Rock,” has died at age 32.
The professional drummer was killed early Wednesday when he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike in Chicago’s North Side neighborhood, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Clark’s sister told the paprer he was on his way home at the time of the accident. Police say a 20-year-old woman was driving the car that killed Clark. She was not arrested, but has been issued citations.
Clark was just 12 years old when he was cast in the 2003 comedy hit alongside Jack Black. He had no previous acting experience but had been drumming since the age of 3. The film’s director, Richard Linklater, had launched a nationwide search for talented elementary school-aged musicians that could actually play the music featured in the movie and its soundtrack themselves.
The film, starring Black as a failed rocker who becomes a substitute teacher at a private elementary school who turns his class into a nascent rock band, grossed an impressive $81.3 million domestically. It also spawned a 2015 Broadway musical with a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber that ran for three years and earned four Tony nominations.
Black paid tribute on Wednesday in an Instagram post featuring two photos with Clark. “Devastating news. Kevin is gone. Way too soon. Beautiful soul. So many great memories. Heartbroken. Sending love to his family and the whole School of Rock community,” the actor wrote.
“He’s just a raw talent. He’s got a heart of gold,” Clark’s mother, Allison, told the Sun-Times. “He just kind of shined. He took it on right away, but he never really acted afterward.”
In 2015, Clark participated in a live reunion show with the entire cast, including Black. He also caught up with the actor backstage at a 2018 Tenacious D concert, where he presented Black with a custom shirt for his own band, Dreadwolf.
Prior to his death, Clark had played in several bands in the Chicago area, including his most recent project, Jess Bess and the Intentions, which had its first live show on Saturday, according to his mother. “They were unbelievably fantastic and they would’ve gone somewhere.” she told the Sun-Times.
Check out one of Clark’s scenes from “School of Rock” below.