Alexander Jennings, 22, footballer turned actor | Obituary
August 3, 1999 – July 5, 2022
When Alexander Jennings embarked on something, he didn’t stop until he had achieved his goal.
Like when he was offered a stand-in role for “Outer Banks”, a Netflix series of which he was a big fan. His mother, Dr. LuJean Jennings, was initially hesitant about her son moving from Atlanta to Charleston, South Carolina, and had to find a new place to live. But he told her he would sleep in his car if he had to.
In April, he began working on the show’s set.
“He said it was the happiest he had been in his life,” his mother said.
Three months after moving to Charleston, Mr Jennings was struck and killed by a runaway driver as he walked along a Charleston road after leaving July 4 festivities. He died shortly afterwards of his injuries. He was 22 years old.
Acting wasn’t always Mr. Jennings’ plan.
Throughout his time at Grand Island High School, he spoke frequently with his physical education teacher and football coach, Dean Santorio. In their conversations, Jennings wasn’t afraid to be emotionally vulnerable, especially when it came to conversations about his future and trying to find the right path for himself.
“To see as his coach, one of his teachers, and to have spoken to him about it over the years, I was very proud to see that he was doing so well in life with what he was pursuing,” said Santorio.
After graduating in 2017 from high school – where his classmates awarded him the senior superlative for “most infectious laugh” – Mr. Jennings enrolled at SUNY Buffalo State as a communications major and defensive back for the Bengals football team.
Sports have always been an important aspect of his life and people around Jennings have been impressed with his athletic achievements.
“His senior year, we were dropping 17 points early, and Alex caught a 50-yard touchdown pass that got us within three at a time in the first half,” Santorio said.
He was an accomplished athlete in football, lacrosse and track and field on Grand Island. He was a sprinter and diver with Piranha’s Swim Club, and he finished second in the 2016 New York State Section VI Pentathlon Final.
“He was lightning fast. That’s how his mind was too,” his mother said.
After a number of people told him he should consider modeling, he decided to try and balance his studies with his training at Vogue Models and Talent in Toronto and Frank Rossi Studios in Buffalo.
Through a rudimentary acting course with Vogue Models and Talent, he realized he wanted to pursue it.
Mr. Jennings quickly began to build his acting portfolio through small roles in Atlanta, New York and Buffalo in works like “Succession”, “Stranger Things”, “Cobra Kai” and “Trial of The Chicago 7”. . During his sophomore year in college, Buffalo State granted him time off to pursue his acting career. He moved to Atlanta, where he lived until the “Outer Banks” offer.
He often repeated his lines with his mother. And when he was worried about not portraying his character accurately, he trained with his sister, Katlyn, whom he called his lucky charm.
This love he had for Katlyn and her brother, Nicholas, is what his mother loved most about Alex. Whether they were parasailing or hanging out, the three siblings always laughed when they were together.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date.