Kevin Clark, a Chicago musician who at age 13 won the role of the drummer Freddy “Spazzy McGee” Jones in the 2003 movie School of Rock, died today after he was struck by a car while biking in the city’s Avondale neighborhood. He was 32.
His death was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. Police said Clark was struck by a Hyundai Sonata around 1:20 a.m. and was pronounced dead less than an hour later after being transported by paramedics to the Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
The driver of the car, a 20-year-old woman, was cited in the accident.
“Devastating news,” wrote School of Rock star Jack Black in an Instagram post. “Kevin is gone. Way too soon. Beautiful soul. So many great memories. Heartbroken. Sending love to his family and the whole School of Rock community.”
School of Rock, which starred Jack Black as a substitute teacher who turns his private school students on to the joys of rock music, was Clark’s only film credit. His mother, Allison Clark, told the Sun-Times he started playing the drums when he was just 2, “hitting pots and pans in the basement.”
Attending the movie’s auditions with a friend, Clark tried out for a role and got the job several weeks later. He got the news, his mother said, during a pizza run. “He said he got the part, and I asked him how he knew. And he pointed to the [New York] area code on the phone,” she said.
Allison Clark told the Sun-Times that her son, who had no acting experience prior to School of Rock, chose not to continue acting, though he remained a musician. “He just kind of shined,” she said of Kevin’s performance in the movie. “He took it on right away, but he never really acted afterward.”
As an adult, Clark played in various local Chicago bands and worked at Starbucks. He also taught music at a School of Rock location in Libertyville, near Chicago, his mother said.