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Jason Davis, voice of Mikey on Disney Channel’s Recess, passes away
A voice acting talent whom cartoon fans of a certain age may cherish as a part of their Disney Channel childhoods has reportedly passed away. Variety reports that Jason Davis, who voiced beloved 10 year-old Mikey through six seasons on the late-1990s animated series Recess, has died at the age of 35.
As Michael "Mikey" Blumberg, Davis brought good humor and an unexpected sensitivity to a character whose large, overweight size concealed a gentle and artistic side that showed itself both on the playground as well as in the schoolhouse.
Memorable on the show for possessing a fine singing voice (played by Robert Goulet when Mikey was in singing mode) that surprised anyone who’d only heard him speak, Davis’ character belted out operatic tunes and wrote poetry just as easily as he guarded the goal as a dominant soccer player in the show’s likable elementary school gang. Davis also voiced Mikey through several animated movies featuring the Recess characters.Set in Arkansas at the fictional Third Street Elementary School, Recess gained a fan following for playfully, yet seriously, exploring the idea that children in their free and formative years could self-organize and structure their lives — especially when on the playground — in a way that’s independent of the more rigid forces that govern the grown-up world.
Mikey’s character type, as the show’s gentle giant, had a place in the core group of six kids, which also included ringleader and main protagonist T.J. Detweiler (voiced by Ross Malinger for season 1, and by Andrew Lawrence from seasons 2–6), as well as Vince (the athlete), Spinelli (the tomboy), Gretchen (the smart one), and Gus (the “new” kid). The series ran from 1997 to 2001.
In addition to Recess, Davis also appeared in minor roles in a handful of TV shows and films as a child, including Rush Hour, Beverly Hills Ninja, Roseanne, and 7th Heaven. Davis was reportedly working on a new TV series called The Two Jasons at the time of his death Sunday in Los Angeles. In a statement to Variety, his mother, Nancy Davis, said her son “had a true heart of gold with such a zest for life. He was such a caring soul to everybody who ever knew him. He loved his friends and his family above all else.”