Thursday, April 18, 2024

Murdered: Broadway Costume Designer’s Teen Son Was Not a “Lucky Guy”


The 18 year old son of a famed Broadway costume designer and a popular Brooklyn teacher was murdered on July 2nd in Richmond, Virginia. Toni-Leslie James has won and been nominated for many awards for her work. Just this season she designed the costumes for Tom Hanks’s “Lucky Guy” on Broadway and the amazing “Comedy of Errors” at Shakespeare in the Park.

On July 2nd, her 18 year old son Jett left the house where they spend summers in Richmond, Virginia at 10:45pm. According to reports he had $4 and an iPhone in his pocket. He went to the corner store to get snacks. Within 15 minutes he was dead, the victim of  a robbery gone bad.

In New York, where Toni-Leslie James and her husband, lighting designer David Higham (he teaches at Brooklyn’s PolyPrep), have many ties, only CBS2 has reported this story locally. But at the opening of “Fruitvale Station” this past Monday, a movie with a similar story, someone mentioned this tragedy to me.

In Richmond, three young men were arrested and charged with the crime. Jett has been down in Richmond only six days.

Here’s the not very good report from Richmond TV. (Not to diminish the story. But I don’t know why the correspondent is dressed this way. A jacket and tie might make him and the story seem more important. The guy looks homeless.)


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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