Gordon Jones (actor)

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Gordon Jones
Gordon Jones in I Take This Oath.jpg
Gordon Jones in I Take This Oath (1940)
Born (1911-04-05)April 5, 1911
Alden, Iowa, U.S.
Died June 12, 1963(1963-06-12) (aged 52)
Tarzana, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1932-1963

Gordon Jones (April 5, 1911 - June 12, 1963) was an American character actor, a member of John Wayne's informal acting company best known for playing Lou Costello's TV nemesis "Mike the Cop" and appearing as The Green Hornet in the first of two movie serials based on that old-time radio program.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Iowa-born Jones had been a student athlete and star football guard ("Bull" Jones) at U.C.L.A., and had also played a few seasons of professional football. He started out playing small roles in Wesley Ruggles' and Ernest B. Schoedsack's The Monkey's Paw (1933) and Sidney Lanfield's Red Salute (1935). By 1937, he had moved on to a contract at RKO Radio Pictures. After The Green Hornet, Jones (who held a reserve commission in the army) was called into the service after filming his roles as "The Wreck" in My Sister Eileen (1942) and "Alabama Smith" in Flying Tigers (1943), a John Wayne vehicle that was one of the most popular action films of the war. This picture began Jones' 20-year onscreen association with Wayne, who was also a former football player from USC.

Jones remained associated with the service after the war, encouraging college students to consider the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). After resuming his acting career in the late '40s, Jones appeared in prominent roles in the John Wayne features Big Jim McLain (1952) and Island in the Sky (1953).

By the end of the 1940s, Jones had aged into a beefier screen presence and into very physical character roles. He was no longer a leading man but he had developed a comic villain persona which meshed with the work of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Jones' association with the duo began in The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap (1947) with the role of the film's heavy, Jake Frame, and continued through their early 50s television series The Abbott and Costello Show. Jones played "Mike the Cop", Costello's hulking, loud-voiced antagonist. The program was only produced for two seasons, but ensured continued recognition for Jones via frequent reruns and a 21st Century DVD release.

Jones also remained busy in films and on television throughout the 1950s, in pictures that ranged from the sci-fi chiller The Monster That Challenged the World to the Tony Curtis/Janet Leigh sex comedy The Perfect Furlough, and on TV series ranging from The Real McCoys to The Rifleman. Jones also appeared in two very successful Disney movies during the early '60s, The Absent-Minded Professor and Son of Flubber. He played harried school coaches in both pictures. He also starred with Mitzi Green and Virginia Gibson in the short-lived TV sitcom So This Is Hollywood (1955), and had a recurring role as neighbor Butch Barton during the early years of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

Jones returned to the John Wayne stock company portraying Douglas, the bureaucrat antagonist to Wayne's G. W. McLintock in the Western comedy McLintock! (1963). Jones succumbed to a heart attack on June 12, 1963, five months before the release of that movie.

Jones has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on the West side of the 1600 block of Vine Street.

Selected filmography[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Lidz, Franz (January 7, 2011). "Float Like a Franchise, Sting Like a ...". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  2. ^ "The Green Hornet". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-03-28. 

External links[edit]