Ike Jones

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Ike Jones
Born Isaac Lolette Jones
(1929-12-23)December 23, 1929
Santa Monica, California
Died October 5, 2014(2014-10-05) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation producer, actor
Years active 1952–1981
Spouse(s) Inger Stevens (1961–1970; her death)

Isaac Lolette "Ike" Jones (December 23, 1929 – October 5, 2014) was a black producer and actor who was perhaps best known for coming forward after the death of actress Inger Stevens to reveal he was her husband,[1] a claim that was backed up in court by Inger Stevens' brother, Carl O. Stensland. He also had the distinction of being the first black graduate of the UCLA Film School in June 1953[2] (with a degree in film studies[3]) and the first black person to serve as a producer on a major motion picture.[4][5]

Life[edit]

Jones was born in Santa Monica, California, and attended Santa Monica High School.[1]

He studied motion picture production at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). While at UCLA, he also played end for the Bruins football team and was named to the 1952 All-Pacific Coast Conference team.[1] After graduating from UCLA, Jones was drafted in the 25th round by the Green Bay Packers in the 1953 NFL Draft, but declined the offer.[1]

That same year, Jones worked as an actor in bit parts and served as an assistant director on The Joe Louis Story.[6] Later on in the decade, Jones worked as an assistant producer for Hill-Hecht Lancaster Company. After that production company folded, Harry Belafonte hired him as vice president of development for Harbel Productions.[7] In the 1960s, Jones headed Nat King Cole's Kell-Cole Productions.[1] After the singer's death, Jones was hired as a producer on A Man Called Adam, a film starring Sammy Davis Jr. This was the first time that an African American was hired as a producer on a major motion picture.[4][5]

Jones and Inger Stevens married in secret in Tijuana, Mexico, on November 18, 1961.[1][8] They kept their union secret so as not to harm her career.[1] The demands of their careers meant they spent much time apart, straining their marriage. In 1970, when they were estranged and living apart, Stevens died of an overdose of barbiturates.[1] Jones then made their marriage public. Superior Court Commissioner A. Edward Nichols ruled in Jones' favor and appointed him administrator of her estate, according to the Los Angeles Times on August 4, 1970.

Around that time, Jones had made a number of bad investments, straining his finances.[1]

In 1995, he became the first recipient of the Oscar Micheaux Award, presented by the Producers Guild of America.[citation needed]

Jones died "of complications from a stroke and congestive heart failure"[3] in an assisted-living facility in Los Angeles on October 5, 2014. He was 84.[1] He left no known immediate survivors.[1]

A short street near John Wayne Airport is named for Ike Jones.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Ike Jones dies at 84; pioneering African American film producer". Los Angeles Times. October 11, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  2. ^ Johnson, John H., ed. (October 16, 1952). "Football Player To Pioneer in Hollywood Films". Jet. Chicago, Illinois: Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. 2 (25): 54. 
  3. ^ a b Lentz III, Harris (March 2015). "Obituaries". Classic Images (477): 58. 
  4. ^ a b Johnson, John H., ed. (September 16, 1965). "Ike Jones Set As 1st Negro Producer of Major Film". Jet. Chicago, Illinois: Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. 28 (23): 58. 
  5. ^ a b Tiegel, Eliot (September 11, 1965). Zhito, Lee, ed. "The Jazz Beat". Billboard. Cincinnati, Ohio: The Billboard Publishing Company. 77 (37): 70. 
  6. ^ Johnson, John H., ed. (June 4, 1953). "Ike Jones May Get Role in Play With Eartha Kitt". Jet. Chicago, Illinois: Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. 4 (4): 61. 
  7. ^ Johnson, John H., ed. (November 5, 1959). "Ex-UCLA star named to Belafonte's Harbel Film Co". Jet. Chicago, Illinois: Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. 17 (2): 59. 
  8. ^ "A Short Biography". ingerstevens.org. 

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