Kristoff St. John, who won two Daytime Emmy Awards during his long tenure on the CBS soap opera “The Young and the Restless,” was found dead early Sunday morning at his home in Los Angeles. He was 52.
Sarah Ardalani, a public information officer at the Los Angeles County medical examiner’s office, confirmed the death. She said that an autopsy had been conducted but that the cause of death had not been determined.
Mr. St. John spoke openly about his depression after his 24-year-old son, Julian, committed suicide in 2014. Mark Geragos, Mr. St. John’s lawyer and friend, said in a telephone interview on Monday that Mr. St. John had told him recently that his grief and depression had worsened.
Mr. St. John began playing Neil Winters, a cosmetics executive who struggled with infidelity, alcoholism and many other plot twists, on “The Young and the Restless” in 1991. He most recently appeared as the character in January, completing nearly 1,700 episodes of the show.
He told The Toronto Star in 1994 that he saw Winters as “energetic and striving for the top spot,” someone who “doesn’t really see himself as a ladies’ man but rather quite sensual” and “very secure.”
Mr. St. John won 10 N.A.A.C.P. Image Awards for playing Winters, one of the longest-running African-American characters on a soap opera.
Kristoff St. John was born on July 15, 1966, in New York City and grew up in Bridgeport, Conn., and Los Angeles. His father, Christopher, was a producer, director and actor; his mother, Maria, was an entertainer. Both of them inspired him to enter show business.
“My dad is a producer-director,” Mr. St. John told the Canadian newspaper The Edmonton Journal in 2000. “Had he been a fireman, I’d probably be putting out fires.”
Mr. St. John began acting as a child. His television career started with an appearance on the sitcom “That’s My Mama” in 1975. He played a young Alex Haley in “Roots: The Next Generations” (1979) and had a recurring part on the television version of “The Bad News Bears,” on which his father also appeared. He was also seen on “Family Matters,” “Martin,” “A Different World,” “Diagnosis Murder” and other shows.
Mr. St. John’s two marriages, to the boxer Mia St. John and Allana Nadal, ended in divorce. Last year he became engaged to Kseniya Mikhaleva, a Russian model.
Mr. St. John had two daughters, Paris, from his first marriage, and Lola, from his second. Complete information on survivors was not immediately available.
His son, Julian, an artist who suffered from schizophrenia, depression and drug addiction, committed suicide by asphyxiating himself with a plastic bag at a mental health care facility in Long Beach, Calif., in 2014. Mr. St. John and his first wife, Mia, accused the staff of negligence, filing a lawsuit against the facility and airing their grievances in an interview on “Entertainment Tonight.”
“My son died because there are millions of people suffering from the mental disabilities of schizophrenia, bipolar and being depressed,” Mr. St. John said. “And so at the end of the day his life will not be in vain. His life will be vindicated, and I will campaign until the day that I die to bring justice to my son.”
The lawsuit was settled in 2017.
SOURCE: The New York Times – Daniel E. Slotnik