Thursday, February 7, 2019

Kristoff St. John Dead at 52

Actor Kristoff St. John, who played Neil Winters on the CBS daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless for the past 28 years, passed away on February 3. He was 52.

A cause of death has not been released. Sarah Ardalani, a public information officer with the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, told CNN that St. John was found dead at a home in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon. There were no signs of homicide or foul play, and there is no criminal investigation, Aguilar said.

CBS and Sony Pictures Television, the studio that produces The Young and the Restless, released a statement Monday saying "The news of Kristoff St. John's passing is heartbreaking."

"He was a very talented actor and an even better person," the statement read. "For those of us who were fortunate enough to work with him on 'The Young and the Restless' for the last 27 years, he was a beloved friend whose smile and infectious laugh made every day on set a joy and made audiences love him. On behalf of the Y&R cast and crew, CBS and Sony Pictures Television, we offer our heartfelt sympathy to his family and loved ones, especially his daughters, Paris and Lola."

Born in New York City in 1966, St. John -- the son of actor Christopher St. John -- entered the industry at a young age. He made his television debut at age 7 in That's My Mama. He went on to star in the series Charlie & Company with Flip Wilson, Gladys Knight and Della Reese, and later had roles in The Bad News Bears (with future Y&R co-star Tricia Cast), and The San Pedro Beach Bums.

St. John's first major soap role was Adam Marshall on the NBC soap opera Generations. After the show's cancellation in 1991, he originated the role of Neil Winters on The Young and the Restless, and played the character until his death. He earned nine daytime Emmy nominations. He won a Daytime Emmy in 1992 for outstanding younger actor in a drama series. St. John's final Y&R episode aired on Wednesday.

St. John also had a recurring role on Hangin' with Mr. Cooper and made appearances on other TV shows, including Diagnosis Murder, Arli$$, The Jamie Foxx Show, Martin, and Living Single. He also appeared in a handful of movies, including television-movie specials such as Marry Us for Christmas and A Baby for Christmas.

St. John and his family suffered a blow in 2014 when his son, Julian, died by suicide after entering a treatment facility. In 2017, Entertainment Weekly reported that St. John himself entered treatment after a “mental health scare.” His ex-wife, Mia St. John, issued a statement at the time explaining that the death of their son had “taken a toll on both of us."

“No parent should ever have to bury their child, and for those who do, it is a nightmare that haunts you forever. The death of our beloved son Julian has taken a toll on both of us. He is an actor and while he may appear whole on the outside, his heart is broken. As a society, we need to start taking mental health seriously and realize that no one is immune,” she said in the statement.

His fiancee, model Kseniya Mikhaleva, expressed her grief on Instagram. “How did it happen??? How??? Why did you leave so early???? and left me alone,” she wrote in a caption that accompanied a photo of the couple embracing.

Writer/director Marc Clebanoff, who found St. John dead on Sunday, shared his thoughts in an emotional Facebook post.

"Press can call it a wellness check or whatever the f[*$]k they want. I went to go watch the game with my bro and when I arrived I found one of my dearest friends dead. But believe this – don’t believe the bulls#*it you read – Kristoff died of a broken heart. And I know for fact he had no intention of hurting himself. Period. End of story."

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