Chris Trousdale, Boy Band Idol With a Broadway Past, Dies at 34

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This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

During the heyday of boy bands, Dream Street was created to become the next Backstreet Boys or ‘N Sync. Its five tweenage members, who sported baggy pants and frosted hair tips, bathed in the attention of their young fans for three years before breaking up in 2002.

Each member had an image. Chris Trousdale, a child actor who was scouted from Broadway, was considered the fashion plate of the group.

Mr. Trousdale died on June 2 at a hospital in Burbank, Calif. He was 34. His sister-in-law, Tracey Pask, said the cause was complications of the coronavirus.

In Dream Street, formed in 1999, Mr. Trousdale, who began his career as an actor in musicals at 8, sang alongside Jesse McCartney, Greg Raposo, Matt Ballinger and Frankie Galasso. The band’s first album went gold, and Dream Street spent the beginning of 2002 opening for Aaron Carter on tour. At the group’s peak, fans would mail members anything from underwear to an imprint of teeth.

But the group broke up in 2002 after the parents of some of the members filed a lawsuit against its producers, claiming that they were exposing minors to alcohol, women and pornography. Mr. Trousdale was ultimately the only member to support the producers.

Despite the tension at the time, his former bandmates publicly mourned Mr. Trousdale’s death.

“As an incredibly trained dancer, he would pick up an entire dance number in a matter of minutes; something that would take the rest of us days,” Mr. McCartney wrote on Instagram. “I truly envied him as a performer.”

On June 11, which would have been Mr. Trousdale’s 35th birthday, his former bandmates recorded a video of the group’s biggest hit, “It Happens Every Time,” in tribute to him.

Christopher Ryan Pask was born on June 11, 1985, in New Port Richey, Fla. His mother, Helena Pask, and his father, William Sakelson, owned a marina. After separating from Mr. Sakelson, Ms. Pask moved with her son to Dearborn, Mich., and in the early 1990s she married Wayne Trousdale, who worked for a trucking company. Christopher took his stepfather’s last name as his stage name.

He joined a touring company of “Les Misérables” at 8, and the family moved to New York City in 1998 to support his stage career, which also included roles in “The Sound of Music,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

He graduated from the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan in 2003.

After the lawsuit that led to the band’s breakup was dismissed, Mr. Trousdale’s solo career briefly flourished. He signed with Columbia Records, appeared on Nickelodeon and performed at the Miss Teen USA pageant. He also had roles on Disney Channel shows including “Austin & Ally” and “Shake It Up.”

Along with his Dream Street career, Mr. Trousdale was known for his appearance on “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” a song by the early-2000s girl group Play.

Mr. Trousdale put his career on hold in 2006 when he moved to Stanwood, Mich., to take care of his mother after she learned she had skin cancer. She and his half brother, Ronnie Pask, survive him.

He later returned to performing, auditioning (unsuccessfully) for “The Voice” in 2012 and releasing a single, “Summer,” last year.

“In my late teens and early 20s, it seems like there wasn’t much happening,” Mr. Trousdale said in a 2010 interview. “I wish a little birdie came by and whispered in my ear, ‘You still have what it takes, don’t give up.’ It has to all come from within you.”


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