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Doug Jones (actor)

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Doug Jones
Jones at the 2022 Phoenix Fan Fusion
Born (1960-05-24) May 24, 1960 (age 64)
Alma materBall State University
  • Actor
  • contortionist
  • mime artist
Years active1984–present
Laurie Pontoni
(m. 1984)

Doug Jones (born May 24, 1960)[1] is an American actor, contortionist, and mime artist. He is best known for portraying non-human creatures, usually via heavy make-up and visual effects. He has most notably collaborated with acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, appearing in the films Mimic (1997), Hellboy (2004), Pan's Labyrinth (2006), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), Crimson Peak (2015), and The Shape of Water (2017).[2]

Jones has also had roles in other films including Hocus Pocus (1993) and its sequel (2022), Tank Girl (1995), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Absentia (2011), Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016), and The Bye Bye Man (2017). He has appeared in the science fiction series Falling Skies (2013–15) and del Toro's horror series The Strain (2014–16). From 2017 to 2024, he portrayed Saru in the science fiction series Star Trek: Discovery.[3] From 2019 to 2023, he portrayed Baron Afanas in vampire comedy show What We Do in the Shadows, appearing both with and without creature makeup.

Early life[edit]

Jones was born in Indianapolis, the youngest of four brothers, and attended Bishop Chatard High School. He graduated from Ball State University,[1] where he parlayed his background as a mime into portraying the school mascot "Charlie Cardinal."[4]


Jones at Judson University, October 2015

Jones started his career in the television and movie industry as a 1980s advertising character, "Mac Tonight".[5] He worked as a contortionist, saying, "You'd be surprised how many times that comes into play in commercials. They'll want somebody to hold a box of Tide funny or something. I once squished into a box for a commercial for relaxed fit jeans."[6] In 1994, he appeared in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries as Gordon Page, Jr., a young man with autism who disappeared from a treatment center in 1991.

Although known mostly for his work under prosthetic makeup, such as the zombie William "Billy" Butcherson in the Walt Disney Pictures Halloween film Hocus Pocus, or the lead spy Morlock in the 2002 remake of the 1960 film The Time Machine, he has also performed without prosthetics in such films as Adaptation, Mystery Men, and Batman Returns, and indie projects such as Stefan Haves' Stalled, AntiKaiser Productions' Three Lives, Phil Donlon's A Series of Small Things, and as Cesare in David Fisher's 2005 remake of the 1920 silent classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.[7]

Jones played Abe Sapien in Hellboy; the voice was performed by an uncredited David Hyde Pierce in the first film, but Jones's voice was used in the sequel. Explaining the challenge of working so often in rubber suits and prosthetics, he notes, "I have to make that a part of my being and my physicality and again, acting is a full-body experience and that's a part of it when you're doing a costumed character."[8]

In 2005, he worked again with Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, starring as the Faun in del Toro's multiple-Academy Award-winning Spanish-language fantasy/horror project Pan's Labyrinth. He also has a secondary role in the film as the Pale Man, a gruesome creature with a penchant for eating children. Working once more under heavy prosthetics in both roles, he was also required to learn large amounts of dialogue in Spanish,[9] although ultimately his voice was redubbed by Pablo Adan.[10] That same year also brought success for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the film receiving three awards at the Screamfest Horror Festival in Los Angeles, including the Audience Choice Award.

In 2006, Jones appeared in the feature films The Benchwarmers and Lady in the Water, and reprised his role as Abe Sapien by voicing the character in the new Hellboy Animated television project, recording two 75-minute animated films.[citation needed]

In February 2007, Jones's likeness was used for Nvidia's "Human Head" tech demo. In June 2007, he appeared in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer as the Silver Surfer, though Laurence Fishburne provided the character's voice. He reprised his role as Abe Sapien in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, once more under the direction of del Toro, for which he provided both the voice and body performance. He played two other roles in the film: the Angel of Death and the Chamberlain, both under heavy prosthetics. In 2009, del Toro announced on BBC Radio that Jones would be playing the monster in his upcoming version of Frankenstein.[11]

In 2007, Jones was disappointed to learn that his voice part of the Silver Surfer had been dubbed by another actor (Fishburne) when the film was released. Upon inquiry, he determined that studio pressure had been imposed in order to add more "names" to the movie. As Jones gained greater clout in the industry, he eventually was able to add a clause to his contracts ensuring that no English dialogue of his characters would be dubbed. Roles that include other languages may be dubbed, however. This came into play in Pan's Labyrinth – Jones learned enough Spanish to voice his characters. Still, the decision was made to use a native speaker in order to access the language's nuances adequately.[12]

Jones starred as himself in Sockbaby 4, the fourth installment of the Internet martial arts comedy series Sockbaby.[13]

Jones appeared in the French-language film Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque), written and directed by French comic book author Joann Sfar and produced by Universal Europe. Jones played La Gueule ("The Mug"), the grotesque fantasy muse and malicious doppelganger who teases, guides, and accompanies Serge Gainsbourg throughout his life.[14] He was fitted with prosthetics designed and created by the Academy Award-winning Spanish FX shop DDT Efectos Especiales, with whom he had already worked on Pan's Labyrinth; the FX technicians requested specifically that Jones be given the role of the Mug creature, due to his ability to perform (without complaining)[12] with heavy prosthetics and elaborate special effects. As in Pan's Labyrinth, Jones performed his lines phonetically, this time speaking in French; his voice was redubbed by Éric Elmosnino, who also played Gainsbourg. Director Joann Sfar liked Jones's speech patterns so much that he asked Elmosnino to mimic it when he performed the creature's lines. The film was released in France on January 20, 2010.[15][16][17]

In January 2010, Jones signed a book deal with Medallion Press to model a nonfiction comedic coffee table book called Mime Very Own Book, co-authored by Adam Mock and Scott Allen Perry and photographed by Eric Curtis. The book was due for publication in December 2011.[18]

Jones plays Dr. Henry Vataber in the web series Universal Dead.[19] In late June 2010, it was announced that Universal Dead would be made into a feature film.[20] He appeared in the independent film The Candy Shop, a "modern fairy tale" shedding light upon child sex trafficking, created by the American film studio Whitestone Pictures.[21]

Jones played the "Operator", a fictional entity based on the Internet myth known as the "Slender Man", in Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story, a 2014 film adaptation of the popular Marble Hornets YouTube series.[22]

Jones was cast as Commander Saru in Star Trek: Discovery, which premiered September 24, 2017. That same year, Jones reunited with Guillermo del Toro, this time in a romantic lead role, the Amphibian Man (the "asset") in the Academy Award winning The Shape of Water.[23][24]

In 2014, Aurelio Voltaire released the song "The Devil and Mr. Jones" on his album Raised by Bats which is a tribute to the life and career of Doug Jones.

In 2022, Jones reprised his role as Billy Butcherson in Hocus Pocus 2.[25][26]

Personal life[edit]

Jones describes himself as a "dyed-in-the-wool Christian from the Midwest", to the point that he was initially apprehensive about his role in Hellboy due to the titular character's demonic nature.[27]

In 1984, Jones married his college sweetheart, Laurie Pontoni. They relocated to Los Angeles in 1985 to further his acting career.[28]



Year Title Role Notes
1987 The Newlydeads Tim
1990 Night Angel Ken
1991 Carnal Crimes Lang Direct-to-video
1992 Batman Returns Thin Clown
1993 Hocus Pocus William "Billy" Butcherson
Magic Kid Clown in Office Direct-to-video
1995 Tank Girl Additional Ripper
1996 Galgameth Big Galgy
1997 Mimic Long John #2
Warriors of Virtue Yee Voiced by Doug Parker
1998 Bug Buster Mother Bug
Denial Ghost Direct-to-video
1999 Mystery Men Pencilhead
Three Kings Dead Iraqi Soldier
2000 Stalled Len
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle FBI Agent – Carrot
Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman Dave Direct-to-video
2001 Steven Spielberg's Movie Donald Columbus Short film
Monkeybone Yeti
2002 Adaptation Augustus Margary
Men in Black II Joey
Side Effects Seth Short film
The Time Machine Spy Morlock
2003 Stuck on You Space Alien #2
2004 Three Lives Mysterious Caller/Mortician Short film
Hellboy Abe Sapien Voiced by David Hyde Pierce
2005 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Cesare
Doom Carmack Imp / Sewer Imp
A Series of Small Things The Homeless Man Short film
2006 The Benchwarmers Number 7 Robot Voice
Lady in the Water Tartutic #4
Pan's Labyrinth The Faun/The Pale Man Voiced by Pablo Adán
Hellboy: Sword of Storms Abe Sapien Voice; Direct-to-video
Nora Breaks Free Yoga Instructor Short film
2007 Carnies Ratcatcher
Hellboy: Blood and Iron Abe Sapien Voice; Direct-to-video
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Norrin Radd / Silver Surfer Voiced by Laurence Fishburne
The Wager Peter Barrett
2008 Quarantine Thin Infected Man
Sockbaby Himself Short film
Hellboy II: The Golden Army Abe Sapien/Angel of Death/The Chamberlain
The Job Office Manager Short film
2009 My Name Is Jerry Jerry
Pie & Coffee Homeless Man Short film
Super Capers Special Agent Smith #1
The Butterfly Circus Otto Short film
2010 The Cure Samuel Bainer
Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life La Gueule
Legion Ice Cream Man
Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer Dr. Arthur
Sudden Death! Jonathan Wright Short film
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey Zero/Razer Voice
The Candy Shop Candy Shop Owner Short film
Absentia Walter Lambert
Greyscale Jamison
Rock Jocks Smoking Jesus
2011 End of the Road (1,2,3...Scream) Randolph
The Tomorrow Machine Ben Short film
2012 It's Alive Monster
White Room: 20B3 Fyn-Ke'al
Men In Suits Himself Documentary
The Watch Hero Alien
Saint Alex Mr. Vanderplook Short film
John Dies at the End Robert North
2013 Raze Joseph
Hookah Allen Short film
First Impressions Suited Man
Dust of War Jebediah Strumm
Innocent Blood Carl Grierr
Cruel Will Adrian
2014 Love in the Time of Monsters Dr. Lincoln
Everlast Suited Man Short film
2015 Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story[29] The Operator
Crimson Peak Ghosts of Edith's Mother/Lady Beatrice Sharpe
2016 The Midnight Man Vick
Ouija: Origin of Evil Ghoul Marcus
Kiss the Devil in the Dark Terrance/Dagon Short film
Han Solo: A Smuggler's Trade Gyorsho
2017 The Bye Bye Man The Bye Bye Man
We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew… Independent movie
The Terror of Hallow's Eve Scarecrow/The Trickster
The Danger Element Doctor Elymas
The Shape of Water Amphibian Man[30]
Island in the Sun Ranger Short film
5th Passenger Langdon
2018 Gehenna: Where Death Lives Creepy Old Man
2019 Beneath the Leaves James Whitley
2021 Battle In Space: The Armada Attacks The Sycophant
2022 Hocus Pocus 2 William "Billy" Butcherson
TBA The Weight of Darkness John Gatlin Filming[31]


Year Title Role Notes
1991 In Living Color Mime Episode: "#2.24"
1993 Tales from the Crypt Contortionist Episode: "Food for Thought"
Silk Stalkings Artie Episode: "Love Never Dies"
1994 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Slapstick Actor Episode: "Indiana Jones and Hollywood Follies"
1996 Bone Chillers Mummy Episode: "Mummy Dearest"
1997 Unhappily Ever After Fake Kramer Episode: "Sternberg"
The Weird Al Show Contortionist #2 4 episodes
1998 The Outer Limits Elder Alien / Alien #1 / Alien / Alien Doctor 3 episodes
Kenan & Kel Head Waiter Episode: "Attack of the Bug Man"
1999 G vs E Herb Episode: "Evilator"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lead Gentleman Episode: "Hush"
2000 Party of Five Minister Episode: "Blast from the Past"
The Darkling Shadow Master Television film
2001 Unsolved Mysteries Gordon Page, Jr. Episode: "#488"
2002 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Grinder Episode: "Revenge is Best Served Cold"
2003 The Guardian Micah Oakley Episode: "Believe"
2004 Rock Me Baby Auggie the Octopus Episode: "I Love You, You Don't Love Me"
Significant Others Waiter Episode: "A Date, Fate and Jail Bait"
2005, 2008 Criminal Minds Domino Thacker / Beanie 2 episodes
2007 The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning Patron Television film
2008 Fear Itself Grady Edlund Episode: "Skin & Bones"
2010 Battle Jitni: The Danger Element Doctor Elymas Television film
Nick Swardson's Pretend Time Gay Robot 6 episodes
2012–2013 The Neighbors Dominique Wilkins 6 episodes
2013–2015 Falling Skies Cochise 28 episodes
2013 Comedy Bang! Bang! Future Man Episode: "Gillian Jacobs Wears a Red Dress with Sail Boats"
Sons of Anarchy Corrections Officer Crane Episode: "The Mad King"
2014 Teen Wolf William Barrow Episode: "Galvanize"
2014–2016 The Strain The Ancient / The Master 6 episodes
2015 Arrow Jake Simmons / Deathbolt Episode: "Broken Arrow"
The Flash Episode: "Rogue Air"
Z Nation Dan Scully Episode: "Roswell"
The Ultimate Legacy Hawthorne Television film
2017 Nazareth President Glade Television film
2017–2024 Star Trek: Discovery Admiral Saru / Saru (mirror)[32] 58 episodes
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor in Streaming Presentation (2019)
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television (2018)[33]
2017–2018 After Trek Himself 3 episodes
2018 Star Trek: Short Treks Saru Episode: "The Brightest Star"
2019–2024 The Ready Room Himself 5 episodes
2019–2023 What We Do in the Shadows Baron Afanas 10 episodes
2019 Better Things Himself / Monster 2 episodes
I Am Principal Episode: "Pilot"
2020 Space Command Dor Neven 3 episodes
DuckTales Wereduck / Demonic Clown Voice; Episode: "The Trickening!"

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009 Angel of Death Dr. Rankin 10 episodes
2010 Universal Dead Dr. Vataber 3 episodes
2011 Fallout: Nuka Break Mayor Conners
Dragon Age: Redemption Saarebas
The Guild Gerald 2 episodes
2012 League of STEAM Theodore Marshall Episode: "Dining with the Devil"
2012–2013 Research.[34] Denny 8 episodes
2013 The Blockbuster Buster Himself Episode: "Rocky and Bullwinkle"
2013, 2018 Adopted Lloyd Adams 4 episodes
2015 Hell's Kitty Father Damien 2 episodes
Murder? Narrator / Eric
2016 Screen Junkies Movie Fights Himself 1 episode
Han Solo: A Smuggler's Trade – A Star Wars Fan Film Gyorsho
2017–2018 Automata Carl Swangee Voice; 5 episodes
2021 Batman: Dying Is Easy Riddler/Edward Nigma Fan film
2023 Star Trek: Very Short Treks Saru Voice, 2 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role Notes
2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Silver Surfer
2008 Hellboy: The Science of Evil Abe Sapien

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Role
1998 "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" Marilyn Manson Townsperson[35]
1999 "All Star" Smash Mouth Pencilhead[36]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2008 Scream Awards Best Supporting Actor Hellboy II: The Golden Army Nominated
2009 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Supporting Actor Won
Fangoria Horror Hall of Fame Won
2018 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor on Television Star Trek: Discovery Nominated
2019 Won
2021 Won


  1. ^ a b "Biography". Doug Jones' official website. Archived from the original on October 23, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  2. ^ Bell, David Christopher (November 14, 2013). "7 Iconic Costume Actors You Didn’t Notice In Non-Costumed Roles" Archived November 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Film School Rejects.
  3. ^ Krishna, Swapna (March 19, 2018). "7 reasons Doug Jones is the best part of Star Trek: Discovery". Syfy. Archived from the original on May 19, 2018. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  4. ^ "Charlie Cardinal Interview" Archived August 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. The Doug Jones Experience. Reprinted from Ball State University's Alumnus Magazine. August 2004
  5. ^ Barkan, Jonathan (March 9, 2017). "Doug Jones Was the McDonald's Mac Tonight Guy!". Dread Central. Archived from the original on January 6, 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  6. ^ Johnson-Ott, Edward. "Hellboy's fish-guy gets filleted." Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Nuvo.net. April 14, 2004.
  7. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (October 25, 2006). "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - Movies - Review". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 14, 2022. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  8. ^ Topel, Fred. "Fantastic Four 2: Doug Jones: Doug Jones talks sequels, Fantastic Four and Hellboy", Crave, June 15, 2007.
  9. ^ "Doug Jones En Espanol" Archived March 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, canmag.com; accessed March 8 2018.
  10. ^ "The Faun". Behind the Voice Actors. Archived from the original on March 14, 2018. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  11. ^ "Guillermo Del Toro Casts Doug Jones in Frankenstein". June 14, 2009. Archived from the original on June 16, 2009. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Doug Jones: Shapeshifter (Episode 153)". Imaginary Worlds. December 2020. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  13. ^ "Sockbaby". Sockbabt. Archived from the original on June 20, 2008. Retrieved June 13, 2008.
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger (2012). Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2013: 25th Anniversary Edition. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 191. ISBN 9781449423445.
  15. ^ Hewitt, Chris (January 20, 2009). "Doug Jones to star in Gainsbourg Biopic". Empire. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  16. ^ Information on Gainsbourg: Vie Heroique Archived February 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, The Doug Jones Experience; accessed 22 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Doug Jones incarne la Gueule de 'Gainsbourg'" Archived January 9, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, cinemotions.com; accessed March 22, 2018.
  18. ^ Mime Very Own Book Archived February 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine at Medallion Press.
  19. ^ "Watch Universal Dead | Prime Video". www.amazon.com. Archived from the original on July 25, 2010.
  20. ^ "Universal Dead full length feature?" Archived August 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Indie Intertube; June 28, 2010
  21. ^ ""The Candy Shop Film Announcement"". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011.
  22. ^ "Web Series 'Marble Hornets' Getting Its Own Movie". Spill. Archived from the original on November 27, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  23. ^ Jones, Nate. "How Doug Jones Became Guillermo del Toro's Favorite Monster". Vulture. Archived from the original on June 24, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  24. ^ Pulver, Andrew (March 5, 2018). "The Shape of Water has won the Oscar for best picture at the 90th Academy Awards". The Guardian. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  25. ^ August 29, Joey Nolfi; EDT, 2022 at 11:00 AM. "Billy Butcherson returns from the grave in 'Hocus Pocus 2' first look". EW.com.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ "'Hocus Pocus 2' star Doug Jones says when he first arrived on set, 'it was as though Elvis had risen from the dead'". www.yahoo.com. October 2022.
  27. ^ Moro, Eric. "Doug Jones - Interview - Fish Out Of Water". The Doug Jones Experience. Archived from the original on May 21, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  28. ^ Marotta, Jenna (2017). "'The Shape of Water' Star Doug Jones". IndieWire. November 24, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  29. ^ Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story Official Trailer. YouTube. March 31, 2015. Archived from the original on October 26, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  30. ^ Escultor da criatura do filme revela nome do monstro. Omelete. March 21, 2018. Archived from the original on March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  31. ^ Complex, Valerie (April 1, 2024). "'The Weight Of Darkness': Angus Macfadyen, Jaime King, Doug Jones, Corbin Bernsen & Angus Benfield Sign On For Indie Thriller". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 1, 2024.
  32. ^ "Star Trek Discovery Beams Up Three Cast Members". Star Trek. Archived from the original on February 25, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  33. ^ "'Star Trek: Discovery' Nominated For 5 Saturn Awards". TrekMovie.com. March 15, 2018. Archived from the original on March 16, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  34. ^ "Cast". Mildly Fearsome Films. Archived from the original on September 26, 2017. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  35. ^ "Doug Jones on Instagram". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021.
  36. ^ "All Star". Smash Mouth/YouTube. December 2009. Archived from the original on August 29, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2019.

External links[edit]