I wish you could have known Jason Coffee. You might have run into him thumbing through pages at the Golden Apple comic book store in Hollywood. Or, lining up to see the latest X-Men movie at the AMC Burbank. You might have seen him driving home on the 134 Freeway in the old blue Volvo he christened the Attack Beast. If you were lucky enough to have met him, you would know that Jason Coffee had stories to tell.
Jason studied television and film at Northwestern University, where he received the T. Stephen May award for outstanding achievement in screenwriting. After graduating in 1997, he headed West with a mind full of stories and a bag full of science fiction scripts.
Jason thrived in California. As he pursued his dream of becoming a film and television writer, he worked as a writer’s assistant and script analyst. He was on the staff of one of his favorite shows, Babylon 5. He read scripts for one of his favorite directors, James Cameron. As a writer’s assistant on Roswell, he even got to rub elbows with the First Officer of the Enterprise when Jonathan Frakes directed several episodes.
As Jason was working his way up the ladder, his health got in the way. Heart trouble forced him to move home to Atlanta to recuperate. During his time in Atlanta, Jason kept busy blogging about Dragon*Con for the local paper and writing episodes of History Channel’s The Universe. When he was well, he planned a triumphant return to California to keep working toward his dream. It was not to be. In 2008, Jason had a seizure on Christmas Eve. He died on December 30th at the age of 33, after surgery to remove a tumor from his brain. He was buried in a Spiderman t-shirt and a hat that simply said: Writer.
Here's Jason bio -- written in his own words -- just a few months before he passed away:
"Jason is a proud 'Trekkie.' He started watching Star Trek at four (“I distinctly remember Captain Kirk, phasers and green Orion slave girls”). And, at seven, he watched Star Wars 19 times in one summer. “I was awed by the power and possibilities of the human imagination,” he said. His otherworldly interests soon include comic books, of which he has more than 4,000 spread over two states. He’s a graduate of Riverdale High School and Northwestern University’s School of Communication. After Northwestern, he moved to L.A. to start a film and television career. There, he worked as a writer’s production assistant on Roswell and other shows. Although back in Atlanta, Jason has worked as a writer and creative consultant on the non-fiction series “The Universe” for The History Channel. He hopes to move back to L.A. (another world to some) to create his own fantastic universe."