Hannah Montana star Cody Linley’s older brother, Chad, died on August 6 in his Texas home and RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned the 29-year-old was once a promising actor who was ultimately outshined by his younger brother.
Nearly 16 years ago, Chad lived with his brother Cody and mother Cathy Sullivan in a 475-square-foot apartment in Los Angeles where they’d moved for “pilot season” from Dallas in an effort to launch the then 13-year-old Chad’s career.
“Chad had gotten a few bit roles, but his mom was an acting coach and the family was determined to make him the next Macaulay Culkin,” a source exclusively told RadarOnline.com.
“Even though Cody was only five years old at the time, Chad felt a sense of competition with his brother and I think it devastated him when he failed and Cody eventually became this huge Disney actor.”
While Chad had roles in HBO’s made-for-TV flick Frank and Jesse, starring Rob Lowe, and 1995’s TV movie Past The Bleachers, his career fizzled and he was attending Houston’s MediaTech Institute at the time of his mysterious death.
"I want a meaty role," Chad once said in an interview as a child actor. "I hate people who say, 'Oh, you're missing your childhood,' because I love what I'm doing."
According to a close family friend, Chad’s failed career took a toll on him, even if he never admitted it.
“Chad started getting low grades and sometimes mixed with the wrong crowd,” the source told RadarOnline.com.
“He wasn’t a fan of the Hollywood competition among actors and all the auditions and roles he didn’t get had really shaken his confidence.”
As RadarOnline.com was first to report, Chad was found unresponsive by his apartment manager, who was performing a welfare check after concerned friends couldn’t get a hold of him, and was pronounced dead with the cause pending toxicology reports.
“Chad had a passion and a motivation that was unmatched except for maybe his brother, Cody,” his friend Eric Thomas told RadarOnline.com in an exclusive interview.
“He loved everyone. I honestly can't recall ever hearing him say he hated anyone. He loved music and was definitely at his happiest on a dance floor or behind the decks spinning records. His smile and his laugh were infectious.”
Cody, 21, starred as Jake Ryan opposite Miley Cyrus on Disney’s Hannah Montana for five years.