Johnny Lewis' Death: Everything You Need to Know About the Late Sons of Anarchy Actor

Troubled star was found dead Wednesday after falling or jumping from a roof; he is suspected of killing an 81-year-old woman

By Rebecca Macatee Sep 28, 2012 2:30 PMTags
Johnny Lewis, Sons of AnarchyFX

Johnny Lewis' death is certainly a tragedy, but it wasn't a complete shock to those around him.

The 28-year-old Sons of Anarchy actor died Wednesday in L.A. after he either fell or jumped off a roof to his death. (Catherine Davis, 81, was found inside the home, and authorities suspect Lewis might have murdered her prior to his own death.

While many questions remain unanswered (like why there was a cat beaten to death inside the home), E! News has pulled together all the information we do know about Johnny.

Matt Carr/Getty Images

Early Life: Per Johnny's IMDB bio, he was a middle child and was born and raised in L.A. His father, Michael Lewis, works at the Valley Life Improvement Center, which incorporates Scientology into its counseling. It's unclear whether Johnny was raised in with the religion. His acting career, however, began taking off when he was just 16 and landed guest roles on 7th Heaven and Malcolm in the Middle.

Lots of TV Roles: While Johnny was perhaps best known for his role as Kip "Half Sack" Epps on Sons of Anarchy, his small-screen credits were diverse and plentiful throughout the past decade. He guest-starred on shows including Smallville, Yes, Dear and Judging Amy. He also had recurring roles on American Dreams, Boston Public, The O.C. and Drake & Josh.  

Coming Soon to Theaters: Johnny plays a principal character in 186 Dollars to Freedom, a film opening Friday in L.A.. The indie movie tells the story of an American surfer who gets caught up in Peru's political turmoil and ends up in prison. Director Camilo Vila told E! News Johnny was "an incredible creative force. Extremely bright, scarily so…He was just so intelligent."

John Shearer/WireImage

Sadness, Not Shock:  There's been an outpouring of grief in Tinseltown following Johnny's death, but set sources on Sons of Anarchy told E! News that it "wasn't a secret that Johnny had issues he was dealing with. No one could have expected it would end so tragically, though." Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter released a statement saying he was not shocked by Wednesday's events, but he was "deeply sorry that an innocent life had to be thrown into his destructive path." Actress Shannon Woodward tweeted that Johnny was "very, very ill" and "his actions were a despicable result of that. It was not who he was."

Celebrity Connection: In 2006, Johnny dated Katy Perry (who happens to be Shannon Woodward's best friend). He also costarred with Hilary Duff in the 2004 film Raise Your Voice. A source told Us Weekly that Katy is "devastated" about her ex's death. "They had good times," added the source. "It's really sad. She could never help him and couldn't [let herself] go in that direction."

Santa Monica Police Department

Troubled Past: E! News obtained criminal records revealing that Johnny had a big history of run-ins with the law in recent months. On Feb. 10, he was arrested for allegedly battering a woman and was later charged with assault and battery. He was arrested again on Feb. 18 for attempting residential burglary and was ultimately sent to jail on April 12 for that arrest. On Aug. 8, he withdrew his not guilty plea and plead no contest to one count of felony assault and was ordered to serve one year in county jail. On Aug. 17, he plead no contest to felony attempted burglary. He was just released from jail on Sept. 21. Johnny's lawyer told E! News his client suffered from "psychosis" and that "clearly, it did impede his judgment."

Daughter Left Behind: Johnny's former alternative sentencing specialist told E! News the actor was in the midst of a custody battle over his young daughter. 186 Days producer Monty Fisher said the child was "a baby" when they shot the film in 2010.

Where We Are Now: As of Thursday afternoon, police had yet to confirm whether drugs or alcohol played a part in Wednesday's tragedy. L.A. County Assistant Coroner Ed Winter told E! News, however, that an autopsy is scheduled for later in the day Thursday. Those results should be ready in about two weeks. The LAPD and coroner announced Thursday late afternoon that Catherine Davis, the home owner Lewis is suspected of killing, died of "blunt-force trauma and manual strangulation."

(Originally published Sept. 27, 2012, at 3:36 p.m. PT)

—Reporting by Baker Machado, Claudia Rosenbaum, Melanie Bromley, Holly Passalaqua and Kristin Dos Santos