Sons of Anarchy Set "In Shock" Over Johnny Lewis' Death: "It Wasn't a Secret He Had Issues"

FX cast and crew still reeling after former show actor plummeted to death after allegedly murdering his landlady

By Kristin Dos Santos Sep 27, 2012 8:30 PMTags
Johnny Lewis, Sons of AnarchyFX

We always knew SAMCRO was a tight-lipped crew, and it seems the Sons of Anarchy stars are in real-life, too.

While details pour in about the shocking death of SOA actor Johnny Lewis—who was found dead this morning after allegedly killing his 81-year-old landlady—the show's main stars are staying mum on the matter. (Reps for Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman and Katey Segal say they have no comment.) But a show insider hints that most of the SOA actors had heard of Lewis' troubles prior to his death.

 "I would be surprised if any of the actors comment," says a source who works on the show. "It wasn't a secret that Johnny had issues he was dealing with. No one could have expected it would end so tragically, though. Everyone is in shock."

Reports are surfacing that Lewis may have been on "smiles" (a synthetic, designer drug) when he either jumped or fell to his death at a Los Angeles area home, after allegedly fatally attacking his landlady. The 26-year-old actor had been in and out of jail and rehabilitation programs for the past six months. His body was found in the home's driveway.

A few of the supporting/recurring actors from SOA have reacted to Lewis' death via Twitter.

Kristen Renton (Ima): "I had known Johnny Lewis for over 10 years...I have no words to describe what I am feeling right now. So tragic and unnecessary."

Emilio Rivera (Marcus Alvarez ): R.I.P. Johnny " Halfsack" Lewis

LaMonica Garrett (Deputy Sheriff Cane): R.I.P Johny (half sack) Lewis #SOA

Tia Barr (Cara): The first scene I ever acted in on the 3rd episode of Season 1 of Sons of Anarchy was with Johnny Lewis. He was such a friendly, handsome young man. So sad to loose (sic) such a great actor at such a young age. RIP Johnny aka Half Sack... You will be missed.

Raising Hope's Shannon Woodward (who was friends with Lewis; he dated her best friend Katy Perry in 2006) tweeted: "Johnny, I love you deeply and madly and always. My heart is broken in a million little pieces. I will miss you every day." She added, "Johnny Lewis was one of my best friends. He was very, very ill. His actions were a despicable result of that. It was not who he was."

Haylie Duff, who worked with Lewis in Raise Your Voice, wrote: "So sad to hear the news about Johnny. Such a nice and talented guy. RIP."

And Vampire Diaries star Kayla Ewell, who worked with Lewis on The O.C., tweeted: "The Johnny Lewis I knew was a charismatic, captivating guy. Let's remember the good times. RIP"

Lewis played Kip "Halfsack" Epps in the first two seasons of Anarchy, until he was stabbed to death in the second-season finale. At the time, Sons of Anarchy boss Kurt Sutter said Lewis had asked to leave the show because of creative differences.

"I will tell you that I've been having conversations with Johnny Lewis all season," Sutter told TV critic Alan Sepinwall at the time, "and Johnny wasn't happy on the show. Creatively, he really wanted out of his contract...I don't want an actor that's not happy. It's not good for the actor, and it's not good for the show. I love Johnny. I'd work with him again in a heartbeat."

This morning, Sutter released this online statement about Lewis: "It was a tragic end for an extremely talented guy, who unfortunately had lost his way. i wish i could say that i was shocked by the events last night, but i was not. i am deeply sorry that an innocent life had to be thrown into his destructive path. yes, it's day or mourning, but it's also a day of awareness and gratitude. sadly, some of us carry the message by dying."

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.

(Originally published Sept. 27, 2012, at 12:28 p.m. PT)