Reader Blind Item
For this former child actor – probably one of the most iconic faces of the 1990s because of this one appearance – it was like Hollywood all over again.
Despite the barrage of offers that followed his breakout role, he walked away from the business.
Part of it was that people liked him for being famous, rather than for being himself, and part of it was the predators in his midst.
He knew why they liked him too. So, as an adult, he got a degree in international relations, and dedicated himself to humanitarian work.
He worked on improving access to education for girls in the mideast and elsewhere, but was especially interested in the plight of trafficked children.
It turned out to be ugly, grueling work, officials, even parents and family, turning their backs on his efforts.
But where as in the business he felt his only choice was to walk away, this was his calling.
Sadly, he died in August of last year.
His death, by drowning, in a certain (basically) colony, was ruled an accident.
But missing from his belongings was his latest and last notebook, which contained not only his usual musings – poems, musings, lyrics (the latter is the reason you’ll know him – not his, but this probably permanent A list gen x front man’s) – but extensive accounts of child trafficking by wealthy and powerful men in countries he had worked, and involvement by Westerners, including at least one music mogul known around here.
He died a martyr’s death, like his screen counterpart.
Star of Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” video
Pearl Jam’s ‘Jeremy’: The Untold Story of Video Star Trevor Wilson’s Fascinating Life & Tragic Death
Trevor Wilson was the most iconic face of grunge who wasn’t actually in a band. Not even Spencer Elden — the naked baby on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind — was as immediately recognizable a stand-in for the angst and alienation of an entire generation as Wilson became with his first, and only, starring role: as the troubled teen in Pearl Jam’s unforgettable 1992 video for “Jeremy.” The Mark Pellington-directed clip became a pillar of MTV’s ‘90s alt-rock canon, and helped the band’s debut album Ten go 13x platinum.
And then he disappeared. Just 12 at the time the video was made, Wilson blew away veteran video director Pellington on his audition tape, despite being sick as a dog on the day he went up against hundreds of fellow kid actors eager to show how they’d tapped into the title character’s seething anger and despair. Pellington says he told Wilson to just “look at the camera and don’t say anything” no matter what happened around him. “I just played the song [during the shoot] and you could see something… something changes in the room,” the director says of the alchemy he felt watching Wilson channel the title character’s desperation.
Wilson’s life changed in an instant, from a quiet, literature-loving Waldorf school student in Manhattan to a budding child star in Los Angeles, an abrupt transition he recoiled against almost immediately. “He found that people were attracted to you because you’re famous, not because of who you are,” says his mom, Diane Wilson. Turning his back on the boxes of fan mail, unsolicited offers from female admirers and potential acting gigs, Wilson reclaimed his privacy and lived a peripatetic life on his own terms for the next two decades.
The last time most music fans of the era likely saw him was with Pearl Jam at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards, after which the gawky teen melted back into the background, focusing on his love of classic literature, and a drive to work on development projects overseas for the United Nations. And then, far from the fake glamour of Beverly Hills, years removed from his 5:33-long moment in the spotlight, Wilson tragically drowned while swimming alone during a vacation in Puerto Rico last August, almost 24 years to the day after the “Jeremy” video dropped.
On the video’s 25th anniversary (it debuted on MTV August 1, 1992) and nearing the one-year commemoration of Trevor Wilson’s tragic death at age 36, Billboard spoke to his family and the video’s creators about his life. They all described their time with Wilson before and after “Jeremy,” and the indelible impression he left on the many lives he touched.- Read more here