Jeffrey Jones in 2012
September 28, 1946 |
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Los Angeles, California|
|Education||Putney School, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art|
|Alma mater||Lawrence University|
|Known for||Character acting|
|Notable work(s)||Amadeus, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Beetlejuice|
|Children||Julian Coutts, actor|
Jeffrey Duncan Jones (born September 28, 1946) is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as Emperor Joseph II in Amadeus, Edward R. Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Charles Deetz in Beetlejuice. Jones' career started in Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota, advanced to London and Broadway, before leading to a series of character acting roles in film and television, which often capitalized on Jones' deadpan delivery of characters in unusual situations to comic effect.
Personal life and early career
Jones was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Ruth (née Schooley) and Douglas Bennett Jones. His mother was an art historian, who urged him towards a career in acting. His father died during Jones' childhood. After graduating from the Putney School in 1964, Jones enrolled at Lawrence University as a premed student, where his performances in university productions brought him to the attention of Tyrone Guthrie, who recruited him for the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He then went to London in 1969 to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, followed by a three-year stint with the Stratford Theatre in Stratford, Ontario.
His stage career included more than 125 productions, starting with the Guthrie Theater, then internationally in South America, Canada, and London, and ultimately in New York's Broadway theatre, appearing with Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Walken, David Bowie and Meryl Streep. Productions included, Cloud 9, A Flea in Her Ear, Romeo and Juliet, and the Elephant Man. His transition from stage to film began in 1970.
One interviewer found Jones to value anonymity and the enjoyment of everyday tasks, like home repairs, and found him to be disinterested in status symbols and fan adulation. In that 1989 interview, Jones pointed out that greater public recognition actually makes it more difficult to transition between roles and allow the character to come to the fore and the actor to recede from view.
Film and television career
Jones began acting in small parts in film and television in the 1970s. In his best-known roles as Emperor Joseph II in Amadeus, Charles Deetz in Beetlejuice, and Edward R. Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, his dead-pan expression and distinctive face bring a comic flavor to his characters through their reactions to the situations in which they find themselves, more so than the wit in their scripted lines. The New York Times biographic profile says of Jones, "Although he has tried to steer clear of playing only sinister roles, the actor's imposing height, bugged-out eyes, easy sneer, and shock of reddish-blond hair give him vaguely devilish features that have prompted villain typecasting. However, the actor is also widely respected and considered a boon wherever he appears." The profile describes his portrayals variously as a "hissable, cartoonish high school principal" in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a "good-natured father" in Beetlejuice, "an interplanetary freedom fighter" in Mom and Dad Save the World, a "demon stand-in" in Stay Tuned, "evil bespectacled twins" in Out on a Limb, plus other personae in a variety of other roles
Jones' roles in the 1983 film Easy Money and Remington Steele led Miloš Forman to cast Jones as Emperor Joseph II in the 1984 adaptation of the Peter Shaffer play as the movie, Amadeus. Jones portrays the Emperor "as a superficial and self-absorbed ruler who can't tell the difference between a great opera and a mediocre one", according to one reviewer. New York Times critic, Vincent Canby, praised Jones' performance as the Emperor, citing the film's most memorable line, when the Emperor complains of The Marriage of Figaro that "there are too many notes". He received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for his performance.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Jones' performance as Edward R. Rooney in the 1986 film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, made him a cultural icon. Rooney, self-important and obsessed with catching the chronically truant Ferris Bueller, became a symbol of pomposity and authoritarian hatefulness. In a movie review, the New York Times characterized Jones' performance "fine cartoon like ferocity", wherein his character "gets scratched, bitten, attacked by ferocious dogs and covered with mud while pursuing his weaker, but craftier, prey, and emerges each time bruised but undaunted, thinking up some new (and futile) plan." The review likened Jones' role as akin to that of Wile E. Coyote as a character who is fated to be unable to catch The Road Runner (Ferris Bueller).  Jones expressed concern about being remembered more for this role than his Emperor Joseph II in 1984's Amadeus. He said of the movie's premise, "What's amazing about Ferris Bueller, is that we're asked to, and do, sympathise with a kid whose only complaint in life is that his sister got a car for her birthday and he got a computer."
In the movie, Beetlejuice, Jones played a supporting role, along with Catherine O'Hara, as co-owners of a haunted house. To highlight this couple's status as bores, director Tim Burton casts Dick Cavett and Robert Goulet to appear as their guests at a dinner party, at which the ghosts of the previous owners cause everyone to sing the Banana Boat song (Day-O). Jones went on to act in other films by director Tim Burton, including Ed Wood in the role of The Amazing Criswell, and in the film, Sleepy Hollow.
Jones also appeared in The Hanoi Hilton, The Hunt for Red October, Howard the Duck, Houseguest, The Crucible, The Devil’s Advocate, and Stuart Little. Jones appeared in the comedy film The Pest, as the evil German trying to hunt Pestario "Pest" Vargas. Other key roles include Mr. Spike in Stay Tuned and Dick Nelson in the 1992 comedy Mom and Dad Save the World.
In 1995, Jones co-starred with Tyra Banks, Kathy Najimy, and Kevin Pollak in the video storyline portion of the Walt Disney World Tomorrowland attraction ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. He co-starred with the 1999 with Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, and David Arquette in the cannibal western Ravenous, and played Inspector Lestrade in Without a Clue. He has had guest roles on a number of television series, including Amazing Stories, Tales from the Crypt, and Wayside. In 1989, he starred in the short-lived CBS sitcom The People Next Door, as a cartoonist whose imagination could make things come to life. He also appeared as newspaper publisher A. W. Merrick on the highly acclaimed HBO series Deadwood.
|1983||Easy Money||Clive Barlow|
|1984||Amadeus||Emperor Joseph II|
|1985||Transylvania 6-5000||Mayor Lepescu|
|1986||Howard the Duck||Dr. Walter Jenning / Dark Overlord|
|1986||Ferris Bueller's Day Off||Edward R. Rooney|
|1987||The Hanoi Hilton||Major Fischer|
|1988||Without a Clue||Inspector George Lestrade|
|1989||Who's Harry Crumb?||Elliot Draison|
|1990||The Hunt for Red October||Dr. Skip Tyler|
|1992||Out on a Limb||Matt Skearns / Peter Van Der Haven|
|1992||Mom and Dad Save the World||Dick Nelson|
|1994||Ed Wood||The Amazing Criswell|
|1996||The Crucible||Thomas Putnam|
|1997||The Devil's Advocate||Eddie Barzoon|
|1997||The Pest||Gustav Shank|
|1999||Stuart Little||Crenshaw Little|
|1999||Sleepy Hollow||Reverend Steenwyck|
|2000||Company Man||Senator Biggs|
|2001||Dr. Dolittle 2||Joe Potter|
|2001||How High||Vice President|
|2002||Par 6||Lloyd Bator Jenkins|
|2007||Who's Your Caddy?||Cummings|
In 2003, Jones was arrested for possession of child pornography and accused of soliciting a 14-year-old boy to pose for pornographic photographs. Jones pleaded no contest to a felony charge. His punishment was five years probation, counseling and the requirement to register as a sex offender. Jones and the aggrieved boy settled in Los Angeles Superior Court for damages related to this matter in 2004. Subsequently, he was arrested twice for failing to update his sex offender status, once in Florida and once in California.
- Armstrong, Derek (17 January 2014). "Movies & TV—Jeffrey Jones". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Jeffrey Jones Biography". Film Reference.com.
- "Jeffrey Jones". Yahoo! Movies.
- Shindler, Merrill (September 1989), "Keeping Up with the Jones", Los Angeles Magazine, The Monthly Guide—Films (Los Angeles Times): 189–192
- Bowman, Alex G. "Jeffrey Jones Biography". IMDb.
- "Who is Julian Coutts?". Searchdictionaries.com. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
- Editors (5 July 2008). "Lloy Coutts". Toronto Globe and Mail. Deaths. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- Berardinelli, James (2014). "Amadeus". Reelviews.
- Canby, Vincent (September 19, 1984). "'Amadeus,' Directed by Forman". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
- Julie, Marikar (2 July 2010). "The Cast of Ferris Bueller's Day Off—Where Are They Now?". ABC News. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
- Darnton, Nina (June 11, 1986). "Ferris Bueller s Day Off (1986)—Screen: a Youth's Day Off". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
- Editors. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off—Teen comedy with a brain". Empire. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
- Maslin, Janet (March 30, 1988). "Beetlejuice (1988)—Review/Film; Ghosts And Extra Eyeballs". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
- Editors. "Jeffrey Jones". Filmography. IMDb. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- Editors. "Deadwood". Television. New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Jeffrey Jones Busted: 'Ferris Bueller' Actor Faces Felony Charge For Sex Offense". Huffington Post. June 30, 2010.
- "Jeffrey Jones Pleads No Contest to Porn Charges". Contactmusic.com. September 7, 2003.
- "'Ferris Bueller' actor faces felony charge". MSNBC.com. June 30, 2010.
- Black, Caroline (September 29, 2010). "Jeffrey Jones Guilty: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" Actor Didn't Update Sex Offender Status". CBS News. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
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